Target diagnosis/cause: Children or adults who have difficulty maintaining attention during tasks, maintaining an appropriate level of selfcontrol of both their physical movements and their emotional expression, managing their time effectively to complete tasks and minimizing several other behavioral issues often seen when a person has ADD or ADHD.
Summary: Parents of children with ADHD and children and adults with ADHD will be helped with a number of issues. These include a thorough evaluation to make certain that ADD or ADHD is an appropriate diagnosis, education about the cause(s) of ADHD and also differentiation of effective from ineffective forms of treatment. Treatment can include being taught techniques to improve organization and memory, medication, if desired, provided by the appropriate staff person, social skills training in an adult’s individual treatment or group treatment for the child and also help for the person with ADHD to change the often seen negative selfimage that they have developed. Parents of children with ADHD will be taught effective management techniques for helping their children to behave appropriately and to increase their responsibility.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological, developmental disorder of self-control. It is estimated that genetic predisposition is a contributing factor in 60 to 80 % of ADHD cases. In these cases ADHD is present from birth but the symptoms do not appear for several years. Other rarer causes include one or more environmental factors as the major contributor or contributors. At younger ages, hyperactivity is the most commonly observed symptom. Inattentiveness and problems with organization are not usually seen for several more years, when environmental demands increase or symptoms overwhelm a person’s ability to cope.
Four to 5 % of adults have ADHD. Thus there are more than 11 million adults in the U.S with ADHD. 98% of adults with ADHD have the onset of their symptoms before age 16. The disorder is found in all countries and ethnic groups. It is found in all social classes. It is somewhat more common in urban and population-dense regions than in suburban or rural settings.
The interview for considering the diagnosis of ADHD at Specialized Therapy Associates consists of:
- An interview with the patient, or parent(s) of the patient, to discuss present and past symptoms and impairments that might indicate ADHD
- A review of any available previous records to obtain information about the person’s prior functioning
- Psychological testing to rule out general cognitive delay or learning disability. The continuous performance test can be used to give an assessment of the person’s ability to maintain focus on a task
- Possible information obtained from others in the adult patient’s life to corroborate the information given by the patient
- A referral for a general medical examination when medication might be part of the treatment or if coexisting medical conditions need to be evaluated
The treatment of a person with ADHD is done at STA in a holistic manner that addresses issues of the mind and the body. The results of the evaluation are utilized by the clinician to help the patient/parents of the patient better understand the possible causes and effects of the symptoms and the patient’s emotional reactions to the difficulties generated by these symptoms. Cognitive –behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy and parent training are used to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of the symptoms. The patient is helped physically by being given advice to improve their health, nutrition and exercise. The appropriate staff member can prescribe pharmaceutical and natural remedies if it appears reasonable to engage in a trial of medication. Other behavioral and emotional difficulties can be addressed as problems separate from ADHD or as they impact the ADHD symptoms. Children can also be referred to the social skills training group at STA.
Through the combination of these approaches, the treatment providers at STA hope to achieve the positive outcomes of improving the patient’s lifestyle by helping them be more organized, concentrate better on tasks at school or work, manage their energy more effectively to increase their self-control and improve their interpersonal relationships.