Adult ADHD Treatment
Medications and behavioral therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of adult ADHD. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs for treating adult ADHD, but the decision to take medication should be considered carefully and discussed with your physician. Although ADHD medication gives needed support, the patient must succeed on his or her own. To meet this challenge, "psychoeducation" and individual psychotherapy can be very helpful parts of treatment.
Treatment for Adult ADHD: An Overview
Although there is no cure for adult ADHD, treatment with medications and behavioral therapy can help with the symptoms of the condition.
Medications for Adult ADHD Treatment
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five drugs for treating adult ADHD. These include:
- Amphetamine-dextroamphetamine extended release (Adderall XR®)
- Methylphenidate extended release (Concerta®)
- Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse™)
- Dexmethylphenidate extended release (Focalin XR®).
The decision to take medication should be considered carefully and discussed with a healthcare professional. Some drugs used for adult ADHD can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. They also have the potential for addiction and abuse.
Adults taking medications should be closely monitored by a physician.
(See Adult ADHD Medication for more information about the specific medications used for treating adult ADHD.)
Education and Psychotherapy
Although medication for adult ADHD treatment gives needed support, the individual must learn to succeed on his or her own. To help in this struggle, both "psychoeducation" and individual psychotherapy can be helpful components of adult ADHD treatment.
A professional coach can help the adult with ADHD learn how to organize his life by using "props," such as:
- A large calendar posted where it will be seen in the morning
- Date books
- Reminder notes
- Special places for keys, bills, and the paperwork of everyday life.
Tasks can be organized into sections, so that completion of each part can give a sense of accomplishment. Above all, adults with ADHD should learn as much as they can about their disorder.
Psychotherapy can be a useful treatment adjunct to medication and education. First, just remembering to keep an appointment with the therapist is a step toward keeping to a routine. Therapy can help change a long-standing poor self-image by examining the experiences that produced it. The therapist can encourage the patient with ADHD to adjust to the changes brought into his or her life by treatment -- the perceived loss of impulsivity and love of risk-taking and the new sensation of thinking before acting.
As the patient begins to have small successes with the new ability to bring organization out of the complexities of life, he or she can begin to appreciate the characteristics of ADHD that are positive -- boundless energy, warmth, and enthusiasm.