ADHD

Historically known as both Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the accepted medical term for many years now is ADHD.

ADHD is one of the most common developmental disorders affecting children today, and it can continue into adolescence and adulthood.  Children diagnosed with ADHD experience a number of symptoms including: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Children with ADHD are much more likely than their peers to struggle academically, and they are 6 times more likely to have a formal learning disorder or co-occurring mental health disorder (e.g., anxiety or depression).  Some children with ADHD have related behavior problems and can become oppositional and defiant.  The prevalence of ADHD in the USA is concerning with approximately 9-10% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 years being diagnosed.

And ADHD is not just for children.  Although ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, the diagnosis for the condition is sometimes missed in childhood and not identified and treated until adolescence or even adulthood.  Later diagnoses usually occur because individuals with ADHD may learn to compensate for their weaknesses in childhood, but problems eventually surface later in response to life becoming more complicated and demanding in adulthood.

Untreated ADHD (in childhood or adulthood) is a serious matter inasmuch as individuals diagnosed with ADHD can have various sorts of subsequent problems – physical and mental health problems, relationship problems, substance abuse and alcohol problems, school problems and work and financial problems.

ADHD is divided into three different types:

ADHD, Predominately Inattentive Type

The following struggles are typical for individuals with this type of ADHD:

Having concentration and attention problems for specific tasks

Frequently switching from one activity to another

Being easily distracted and missing details

Becoming bored easily (except when doing something enjoyable)

Having trouble following directions

Losing things and being forgetful

Difficulty learning new material and staying organized

Daydreaming

Moving slowly or processing information slowly

Having difficulty with attention to detail and learning new material

ADHD, Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

The following struggles are typical for individuals with this type of ADHD:

Interrupting, blurting out or persistent talking

Fidgeting, squirming or restlessness

Acting out of turn or reacting (verbally or physically) without thinking of consequences

Having difficulty engaging in slow or quiet activities

Experiencing enjoyment or pleasure by being overstimulated or overly excited

Being Impatient

ADHD, Combined Type

Individuals diagnosed with ADHD, Combined type, experience disturbances in inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity to varying degrees.

ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

Proper diagnosis and treatment is essential for lasting and meaningful change.  Depending on the individual and struggles, diagnosing ADHD can be completed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.  For children and adolescents, pediatricians can diagnose ADHD, but they are not trained to treat ADHD beyond medication management.  This is important to know because at times specific state of the art objective and standardized testing measures are needed to identify the correct diagnosis and to identify or rule out other conditions (a learning disorder, auditory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, etc.).  Also, many parents are reluctant to begin medication as a first line of treatment and prefer instead to engage in therapy initially.

Behavior therapy has been proven to be the most effective therapy for the treatment of ADHD.  Education and training can also be helpful.  Depending on the individual’s level of functioning, symptom profile and needs, therapy alone may be the best treatment approach.  At times, medication is warranted, and numerous research studies have also proven again and again the effectiveness of medication for the treatment of ADHD.

Cogmed Working Memory Training has proven to be a successful adjunctive program for ADHD, and this program addresses working memory and attentional problems common to the condition.

The doctors and clinicians at Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services successfully assess and treat individuals with ADHD.  Each individual’s history and symptom profile is unique and treatment planning is carefully developed based on one’s needs.  Some patients will show dramatic improvements in functioning with behavior therapy or medication alone, while others are better able to manage their ADHD struggles with both therapy and medication.  Other patients have found great benefit in Cogmed as an adjunctive or stand-alone treatment program.

We invite you to call us at: (703) 723-2999 to schedule a consultation today.  You may also wish to review the doctor and clinician professional biographies to learn more about the doctors and clinicians at the practice and the services each one offers.