If you’ve recently been diagnosed with ADHD, odds are that your medical practitioner has prescribed you a stimulant based medication, and suggested that also partake in cognitive behavioral therapy.
Treating adults with ADHD, not unlike children, requires a multimodal approach. Symptoms may be directly treated with a pill or a patch (see ADHD Medication FAQ), but this doesn’t combat the issue at its source, and it doesn’t give you any practical coping skills – skills such as getting organized, or practicing emotional control.
Adult ADHD Medication
In general, the same kinds of medications can be used for adults that are used to treat ADHD in children. In fact, there are actually more options, as more powerful medications become available as you reach adulthood (such as Modafinil).
However, choosing the right medication for the right patient with ADHD is more often than not about avoiding the worsening of other health problems. For example, if a person has a substance abuse problem, they will be less likely to be prescribed a stimulant based treatment, as they have a higher risk for abuse.
Side Effects of ADHD Medication in Adults
Adults with ADHD whose family has a history of heart disease and/or fainting should take precautions and heed the advice of their doctor should they be considering either stimulants or nonstimulant ADHD medications. That said, they are generally considered to be safe in the short run, but too much may make matters worse.
It is important to monitor blood pressure through the course of the treatment, especially before the treatment begins and during the start to gauge a person’s tolerance to the substance.
The most common side effects that present themselves in ADHD adults is insomnia, increased blood pressure, and agitation. This is similar for both stimulant and nonstimulant based medication, including Strattera.
How long an adult with ADHD needs to take medication is determined on a case by case basis, there is no set time frame. With kids, it is recommended that they remain on the medication the entire duration of the school year, but many remain on year round. After school (secondary or post-secondary), it really depends on the situation, and how the adult is able to cope.
Adult ADHD Comorbidity
Adult ADHD is not uncommon, and what’s also not uncommon is comorbidity. In fact, most adults who have ADHD also have other disorders occurring along side it with some estimates claiming as high as 75-80%. ADHD comorbidities include mood swings, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, dyslexia, and depression among many others.
In fact, more often than not it is a comorbidity of ADHD such as depression or anxiety that brings the person to the medical professional.
Given the multifaceted form adult ADHD can take, and the variety of symptoms it produces, the majority of literature suggests that the best ADHD treatment is a multimodal one – involving a combination or medication, therapy, and other nonpharmacologic interventions.
Natural ADD Treatment
It is important to clarify that by ‘natural’ we are referring to all nonpharmacologic approaches that are designed to combat the symptoms of ADHD either directly, or indirectly.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proved itself increasingly beneficial for adults with ADD, especially with respect to developing exceptional organizational and time management abilities. If you have other common ADHD comorbidities, it is highly recommended you include therapy in your ADHD treatment regimen.
If ADHD seems to be the primary disorder, the primary focus of the treatment is by and large on executive function development, abilities such as time management and planning that are impeded by ADHD. New treatments such as ADHD Treatment app do precisely this and is supported by literature to help improve executive function performance and decrease the symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults.