Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a growing concern in adults. This post will provide a comprehensive look at ADD, covering the pathophysiology, diagnosis criteria, common medications, and alternative coping mechanisms available.
The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors but research does not support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos.
Of course, many things, including these, might make symptoms worse, especially in certain people. But the evidence is not strong enough to conclude that they are the main causes of ADHD.
Diagnosis should be made by a specialist psychiatrist or primary care provider with training and expertise in the diagnosis of ADHD, and be based on DSM-5 criteria for ADHD in patients ≥ 17 years old. Current criteria includes:
- symptoms present for at least 6 months
- history of symptoms starting prior to age 12 years
- symptoms must be present in multiple settings
- clear evidence that symptoms interfere with or reduce quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning
- requires at least 5 symptoms from either subtype category to diagnose an ADHD subtype or 5 symptoms from each category to diagnosis combined type
Treatment often involves medications that impact neurotransmitter activity. Common options include:
- Stimulants: Such as Adderall or Ritalin, which enhance focus.
- Non-Stimulants: Like Strattera, which offers an alternative for those who can’t tolerate stimulants.
Coping Mechanisms Without Medication
We also recommend using resources such as:
- Behavioral Therapy: Engage with local therapists who specialize in ADD. The ADHD Coaches Organization can be a great resource, click here.
- Organizational Tools: Utilize planners and apps designed for ADD management.
- Diet and Exercise: Incorporate a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
- Mindfulness Techniques: Explore meditation classes or resources in [Your City].
ADD is a complex condition, but you have access to a broad range of treatment options. From understanding its pathophysiology to finding the right medication or non-medication strategies, we can help.