Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests behaviorally as an “ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” (1) ADHD is commonly first diagnosed during childhood and can persist into adulthood. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD often struggle to feel successful at school, work, and when completing daily living tasks. Treating ADHD can help alleviate stress, increase productivity, and help individuals feel more in control of their life.
There are three types of ADHD:
The combined presentation of ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed.
A breakdown of the diagnostic features of ADHD includes:
ADHD is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders among children. A key diagnostic feature of ADHD is the presence of symptoms before the age of 12 years old. So how do parents distinguish between “when a child is just being a child”, a developmentally appropriate lens, or when their child is actually struggling with diagnosable ADHD? While a child who presents as full of energy and distractible shouldn’t immediately be pathologized, it is imperative to notice when there is a pattern of struggling with attention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity that significantly disrupts their ability to learn and impacts their functioning across their environments. Our psychologist at Heritage can help distinguish between when these symptoms are caused by ADHD or when they may be related to other factors such as lack of comprehension or an alternative diagnosis. ADHD left untreated in children may manifest into larger concerns such as behavioral issues, poor academic performance, lower self-esteem, and social-emotional challenges. (5) It is estimated that approximately 40% of children diagnosed with ADHD develop a comorbid diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which involves aggression, emotional and behavioral outbursts, argumentative communication, and other serious behavioral problems. (6) This is likely attributable to the lack of impulse control that children diagnosed with ADHD exhibit. Fortunately, research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and play therapy have high efficacy in reducing the severity of symptoms of ADHD in children. (7) Finding therapeutic support for your child with ADHD can help provide a positive trajectory for their functioning across their lifespan.
Common Symptoms of ADHD in Children:
Fidgetiness, difficulty sitting still, hyperness, squirming, and fast-body
Wandering off task
Challenges with focusing on academic work and maintaining attention during classroom lessons
Trouble following directions and completing tasks such as homework or household chores through to the end
Excessive talking, interrupting others, blurting, and difficulty listening
Struggles with patience and waiting their turn
Experiences overstimulation by busy or loud environments
Struggles to keep track of belongings and frequently misplaces things
Population surveys suggest that ADHD occurs in most cultures in about 2.5% of adults. (8) Similarly to ADHD presentation in children/adolescents, ADHD in adults often manifests as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Adult ADHD often interferes with personal relationships, work, and self-esteem. Due to the neurological nature of ADHD, the disorder begins in childhood and often persists into adulthood. In certain cases, an individual may make it well into adulthood before a diagnosis is made. Treatment for Adult ADHD is very similar to the treatment of ADHD in children/adolescents, focusing on therapeutic interventions, medication, and NeuroFeedback acting as the standard treatment plan.
Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults can be difficult as common presentations of ADHD in Adults mirror those from anxiety and depression. For example, if a person is anxious or depressed, they will have trouble concentrating and may act impulsively in certain situations. Therefore, a thorough psychological assessment, like those offered at Heritage, is needed for diagnostic clarification.
Common Symptoms of ADHD in Adults
Lack of time management
Low frustration tolerance
Difficulty managing stress
To receive a formal diagnosis of ADHD, a psychologist must conduct a diagnostic assessment. At Heritage Counseling and Consulting, our ADHD assessment is available for children as young as six years old, adolescents, and adults.
Psychotherapy is one of the primary recommended ADHD treatments. The type of therapy that is most commonly utilized and shown to be significantly effective in treating symptoms of ADHD among adults and children is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on building awareness of how an individual’s cognitions, behaviors, and emotions are impacted by their diagnosis and help them develop strategies to manage symptoms. CBT helps clients with ADHD identify and reframe cognitive distortions, learn emotion regulation and relaxation techniques, develop problem-solving skills, and build strategies to increase attention, concentration, and control over their minds and body.
For children diagnosed with ADHD, it is recommended that a combination of CBT and play therapy are utilized to guide treatment with an additional focus on building behavior management skills and parent training that provides psychoeducation on behavioral responsiveness.
Research has shown that alternative methods of treatment including Neurofeedback and qEEG Brain Mapping are also highly effective in monitoring and reducing symptoms of ADHD. (3)
Consultation with a psychiatrist or a primary care physician is also recommended to assess whether medication should be prescribed as an additional form of ADHD treatment.
If you or your child are displaying symptoms of ADHD we encourage you to seek support through Heritage Counseling and Consulting. At Heritage, we offer comprehensive care for ADHD including access to professionals who specialize in conducting a full diagnostic assessment to formally diagnose or rule out ADHD in addition to offering psychotherapy and neurofeedback on-site. At Heritage, we also pride ourselves on forming a strong partnership with parents when treating childhood ADHD. Parent consultations are scheduled routinely after every four individual child therapy sessions to reflect on progress, introduce parenting interventions, and help generalize psychoeducation and skills learned to treat their child’s ADHD diagnosis. To schedule a consultation at Heritage Counseling we invite you to call 214-363-2345.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition. Treatment Revision.
Absolutely. Counseling has been proven to be extremely beneficial in ADHD treatment for individuals at all stages of life. Through counseling, individuals are able to develop an awareness of their diagnosis, build helpful skills, and learn to utilize coping strategies to improve their day-to-day functioning in addition to their emotional wellness.
CBT, play therapy, and parent training are the most optimal forms of treatment for children diagnosed with ADHD.
The short answer is no. Although ADHD cannot be completely cured, research shows that symptoms can be managed and reduced when treated with psychotherapy and/or medication. Those who receive treatment often display high resiliency and the ability to function well across their environments despite their diagnosis.