Best Psychiatric Treatments for ADHD Diagnosed in Adulthood

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is commonly associated with childhood. But, for most people, it is a lifelong disorder. Some people are even diagnosed for the first time in adulthood, even though they may have struggled with it in their youth, because – depending on how the symptoms manifested and whether or not they were masking it to the public – it may not have been something that others noticed.

Even if you are first diagnosed as an adult, you should still strongly consider treatment. Treatment for ADHD can make one’s life much better, helping them with stress, focus, and even relationships.

What is the Treatment Psychiatrists Consider for ADHD in Adulthood?

NOTE – This is for informative use only and is not a recommendation for treatment, nor does it necessarily represent the views of Aware Behavioral Health. Please discuss your experience with Dr. Sehdev directly for personalized recommendations.

Typically, the treatments that are considered for ADHD in adulthood are not particularly different from the ones used for ADHD in childhood. The treatment for adult ADHD typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments. These include –

Medications for ADHD in Adulthood

Stimulants are often the first line of treatment for adult ADHD. They work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which help improve attention and focus. Common stimulants include:

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) – This medication is effective in improving focus and reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity.
  • Amphetamines (Adderall, Vyvanse) – Another class of stimulants that is widely prescribed for adult ADHD.

For those who cannot tolerate stimulants or have a history of substance abuse, non-stimulant medications can be an effective alternative.

  • Atomoxetine (Strattera) – This medication increases levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps control attention and behavior.
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv) and Clonidine (Kapvay) – Originally used to treat high blood pressure, these medications can help manage ADHD symptoms by affecting receptors in the brain involved in impulse control.

Please note that these are not recommendations nor do they imply safety. They are simply historically used medications that may or may not be beneficial in your specific circumstance. Only Dr. Sehdev can determine what medications are safe, effective, and right for your treatment needs.

Psychotherapy for ADHD

In addition to medication, it may be recommended to seek out therapy or coaching to help manage ADHD symptoms. Examples of psychotherapy techniques that are commonly used include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is one of the most effective psychotherapeutic treatments for adult ADHD. It helps individuals develop practical skills to manage their symptoms, such as learning strategies to manage time more effectively and reduce procrastination, developing systems to keep track of tasks and responsibilities, and techniques to manage stress and reduce emotional reactivity.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – This therapy combines cognitive behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and manage them more effectively.
  • Coaching – ADHD coaches work with individuals to set goals, develop strategies, and stay organized. Coaching can be particularly useful for practical daily living skills and accountability.

Therapy can also assist adults that have struggled with anxiety or stress as a result of masking their ADHD, which are common issues affecting adults that were undiagnosed or untreated.

Lifestyle Adjustments for ADHD

Finally, you may also need to consider lifestyle adjustments to make ADHD symptoms more manageable. Examples of these include:

  • Exercise – Regular physical activity has been shown to improve concentration, decrease impulsivity, and boost mood, which can be particularly beneficial for those with ADHD.
  • Diet – Some studies suggest that a healthy diet, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help manage ADHD symptoms. Reducing sugar and caffeine intake may also be beneficial.
  • Sleep – Ensuring adequate and consistent sleep is crucial for managing ADHD symptoms. Poor sleep can exacerbate symptoms of inattention and impulsivity.
  • Routine and Structure – Establishing a daily routine and sticking to it can help individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms more effectively. This includes having set times for work, exercise, meals, and sleep.

An integrative approach that combines medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments is often the most effective way to manage ADHD diagnosed in adulthood. Each individual may respond differently to treatments, so it is important to work with a psychiatrist to tailor a treatment plan that best suits one’s needs.

For more information about ADHD diagnosis and treatment in adulthood, please contact Aware Behavioral Health, today.

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