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Do you beat yourself up because you can’t seem to control your short attention span and impulsive nature? Are you struggling to keep up at work due to missing deadlines or making careless mistakes? Do you suspect (or already know) that you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and are looking for compassionate, practical, and solution- focused support?
Perhaps staying organized and on track escapes you. As much as you try to remain focused and resolved to stick with one task until it is completed, analysis paralysis might sabotage your efforts. Whenever any interruption—such as a text or phone notification—catches your attention, you may have a hard time getting back to where you were. What should be an easy chore suddenly becomes insurmountable, overwhelming, and, lamentably, unfinished.
With your motivation flagging, your chronic task incompletion may be causing friction at work with supervisors as well as coworkers. This may lead you to feel like you’re letting others down, which bruises your self-confidence. Emotionally exhausted, your motivation plummets further and the vicious cycle repeats. If only you knew how to apply prioritization, organization, and structure more consistently.
Similarly, if loved ones perceive you as undependable and constantly disappointing them, your close relationships may also be negatively impacted. You may scramble to people please but no matter what you do, you feel like you’re always falling short of their expectations. As your self-confidence erodes, perhaps you feel anxious and depressed.
The most frustrating of all is that when you’re in the zone and are hyper-focused, you excel. Your bursts of creativity and analytical thinking may be phenomenal for short spurts, only to be followed by days that are not as meaningful and fulfilling for you. Without consistency, you flounder.
If this sounds familiar, the good news is that ADHD treatment can help you understand your neurodivergent brain. Learning to work with, not against, the ways your brain is wired can give you a whole new outlook on life.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental issue that may be caused by several factors, such as genetics, abnormalities in the brain, and environmental exposure. Once identified as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), despite popular belief, ADHD is not just a childhood disorder¹. In fact, many people enter into adulthood struggling with inattention and impulsivity but have never received a diagnosis².
Because ADHD is associated with childhood, it can be difficult to get an accurate assessment as adults. Hurtful labels like “lazy” or “procrastinator” may shame us into thinking we have a character flaw rather than a neurobiological disorder. ADHD is also commonly misdiagnosed as anxiety, depression, or OCD, which may keep us from getting the support we need.
Although new age philosophy espouses the virtue of “living in the now,” those of us who live with ADHD actually experience this state of being quite literally. And, contrary to how it sounds, living this way can be rife with challenges. With ADHD, the ever-present “now” is more compelling than the information we hold in our minds—plans, tasks, and to-do lists lose all meaning. We become near-sighted to the future.
The way most other people perceive time doesn’t have the same effect on the ADHD brain. As such, those of us with ADHD tend to be blind to time, which can lead to impulsivity and inattention. And what often exacerbates our short attention span is today’s excess of technology. The constant distraction of our phones leaves us overstimulated and bombarded.
Unfortunately, the way we think and behave is commonly misunderstood by our employers and loved ones. Rather than recognizing that we are neurodivergent and function differently, others consider us irresponsible and undisciplined.
If you suspect you may have ADHD, treatment can help. With therapy, you can learn how to build on your strengths and find the self-compassion to flourish with ADHD.
The truth is we are all on the spectrum to varying degrees. Similar to having no control over our eye color, we didn’t get to choose the type of brain we have either. But once you learn to befriend the way your brain processes information and are no longer hampered by the stigma of ADHD, you will gain self-acceptance while building on your strengths. Some call ADHD a “superpower” because their neurodivergent brain can have definite advantages.
When you enter ADHD treatment, your therapist will provide you with interventions tailormade to your unique challenges. By incorporating lifestyle changes, better time management, and, perhaps, appropriate medication, you will affect change that improves your overall functioning.
We want to help you craft an effective strategy based on the things that give meaning to your life so that you can blossom. With ongoing feedback and support, you will gain the motivation to accomplish the goals you have set.
Together, we will identify your most distressing symptoms and prioritize getting them under control first. We will also evaluate whether or not there are situational or environmental triggers that may exacerbate symptoms. From there, we can strategize problem-solving skills, implement behavior interventions for immediate relief, as well as ask for suitable accommodations—such as at work or school—if appropriate.
Since the symptoms of ADHD show up in multiple areas of your life, your therapist will help you to become more self-aware of how it manifests to ensure you apply the tools you learn in therapy consistently. And because ADHD can occur alongside other disorders, we must untangle your symptoms to obtain a clearer picture of what you are experiencing and why.
If necessary for insurance purposes or work/school accommodations, your therapist can provide you with a formal ADHD diagnosis. Additionally, if we mutually decide that medication would be beneficial, we can refer you to a reputable psychiatrist who can prescribe you appropriate ADHD medication.
Since ADHD is a neurodevelopmental issue that may be caused by differing factors, such as genetics, abnormalities in the brain, or environmental exposure, our approach to treatment will be customized to your needs. This plan may include medication, behavioral interventions, psychoeducation, parent training, school or work accommodations, and working with family members and loved ones. Additionally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be a beneficial adjunct to ADHD treatment by providing you with mindfulness exercises as well as teaching behavioral, social, and emotional coping skills.
People with ADHD are often extremely imaginative and resourceful. Perhaps you are a keen observer, have extensive knowledge about certain topics, or possess the ability to quickly learn new skills—such as playing a musical instrument—during periods of hyperfocus. You might even have limitless energy and be better at multitasking than the neurotypical person. Harnessing your talents through treatment will help you recognize ADHD as a blessing, not a curse.
Is it too late for ADHD therapy to help me because I should have received treatment as a child?
ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed or overlooked in children, especially girls³. As such, many adults live with ADHD from an early age without treatment. But just because you’ve adapted to living with ADD or ADHD as an adult, it doesn’t mean it’s too late for therapy. On the contrary, seeking adult ADD/ADHD treatment now will help you improve how you currently function and set you up for success in the future. Many adults with ADHD gravitate towards careers that allow them to be creative and utilize their unique problem-solving skills.
I thought all I needed to treat ADHD was medication—how will counseling benefit me?
There are several medications available to treat ADHD, including Adderall and Ritalin. However, research has shown that the most effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder combines therapy such as CBT with prescribed medication⁴. The behavior interventions CBT offers will help with issues like executive functioning, time management, and prioritizing. Additionally, CBT treatment addresses the unhealthy thought patterns commonly experienced by people with ADD/ADHD, such as “all-or-nothing” thinking.
If you’re an adult with ADHD, there is hope and it does get better. To schedule an appointment to begin ADHD treatment at our Woodland Hills therapy practice or online, please fill out the contact form to schedule a free phone consultation.
¹ https://www.verywellmind.com/is-add-the-same-thing-as-adhd-20467² https://www.moretoadhd.com/adult/adhd-in-adults³ https://psychcentral.com/adhd/girls-with-adhd ⁴ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31280035/#:~:text
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