Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder causes problems with self-regulation, due to difficulties with concentration, organization, and procrastination. ADHD typically begins during childhood and continues throughout one’s lifetime. There are various types of treatment for adult ADHD, from medications, to therapy, and even neurofeedback.
Medication to Treat Adult ADHD
Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is a medication that is commonly used to treat ADHD. Methylphenidate works by increasing the brain’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two feel good chemicals that can reduce many of the common symptoms of adult ADHD. There are pros and cons to consider with Ritalin for ADHD because it’s a stimulant, meaning that it can lead to heart problems in adults and should be closely monitored by a physician. Studies have shown that Methylphenidate quickly reduces the sign and symptoms of ADHD, although there is a lack of evidence about the medication’s long-term effectiveness.
Amphetamine, or Adderall, also works by upping the brain’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. This medication is available in immediate release and extended release capsules. Although similar to Methylphenidate, Amphetamine is stronger - thus, it requires lower doses for ADHD treatment. Adderall is usually prescribed to individuals who don’t get the desired results from Ritalin. Adderall has very few side effects in many people, and the benefits of this medication can last several hours - providing patients with long periods of ADHD relief.
Atomoxetine, also known as Straterra, is a a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. This medication is one of the types of non-stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD in adults. Straterra is shown to provide patients with 24 hour protection, along with providing less risk for abuse. Atomoxetine is often prescribed to people who have no response or an undesirable response to stimulants. It has been shown that Atomoxetine provides effective short-term treatment of ADHD, and one single morning dose can provide relief from symptoms well into the evening.
Other Methods for Treating Adult ADHD
Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective is treating many mood disorders, including adult ADHD. Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually started after medication has been used to provide immediate relief of ADHD symptoms. This form of therapy involves talking with a therapist in a way that helps to change one’s thoughts and behavior patterns. CBT often involves questioning one’s beliefs and thought patterns that may be contributing to mood difficulties. Often the patient will meet with a therapist for regular talk therapy, and the therapist will then help to point out certain behaviors that may be destructive by asking questions to the patient. Cognitive behavioral therapy also involves learning new ways to behave and cope with problems and then trying them out in daily life.
Neurofeedback is a process that involves placing sensors on the scalp and measuring brain activities in reaction to questions about the person’s disorder and symptoms. Neurofeedback has shown to be more effective in treating adult ADHD than medications such as Ritalin or Aderrall.
Stress Management may be used along with methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy to treat adult ADHD. Patients are given items to read on stress management, along with speaking with a counselor on the topic. This can be helpful in treating the stress and anxiety related to ADHD, and works well in addition to therapy and medication.
Finding types of treatment for adult ADHD is often essential in getting relief from the trouble symptoms of this disorder. Often, the most effective treatment involves a combination of therapy and medication, along with monitoring by doctors. Treatment for ADHD often starts with medication and then other forms of treatment are added in once symptoms are under better control by the patient.
HelpGuide.org: Adult ADHD - https://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm
National Institute of Mental Health: Can Adults have ADHD? - https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/complete-index.shtml#pub11