Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Assessment – In my practice, I provide a comprehensive assessment for individuals suffering from symptoms of ADHD.  If the assessment is for diagnosis and treatment and not for accommodations for school, we can arrive at a diagnosis in about two sessions.  If it is for school accommodations, we can do a full neuro/psycho/educational assessment and create specific recommendations based on the adolescent or adult’s strengths and weaknesses.  ADHD is one of the most controversial mental health problems and should be thoroughly evaluated since symptoms like those found in ADHD can arise from various issues.  Everyone may feel hyperactive or have difficulty with attention and concentration from time to time, but ADHD or ADD is a chronic, developmental problem that affects many people.  This is a problem that affects children as well as adults, and since it is a developmental disorder, the symptoms can change over time.  Difficulties with attention, concentration, and hyperactivity can be caused by high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, a head injury, lack of sleep, bipolar disorder, and/or drug and alcohol use as well as ADHD.  In our work together, we can determine what is causing your problems and find ways to get you back on track.

Symptom Management – Using individual, family, and/or couples therapy to help manage the symptoms of ADHD.  I work with clients in individual therapy using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to learn skills for organization, decreasing distraction, and treating the secondary issues related to ADHD (e.g., low self esteem, relationship problems, work problems, depression, anxiety, trauma, drug and/or alcohol problems, anger problems).  Sometimes family relationships can become strained due to ADHD causing difficulties with inhibiting impulses, being attentive, and following through.  When working with teenagers and adults, I often involve family members or partners in the therapy process to understand how ADHD impacts their relationship and find ways to increase support in spite of the ADHD symptoms.  With therapy, we can help mend strained relationships.

Medication Management – I understand that taking medication is a personal preference and some people may feel wary about using medications as treatment.  If an individual/family decides to try adding medication to their treatment plan, I work with pediatricians and psychiatrists to monitor the effects of medication on individuals to ensure that they are taking the proper dosage with the most benefit.  I do not prescribe medication, but I do make referrals to psychiatrists and then collaborate with them to help find the best medication treatment for the presenting symptoms.  Unfortunately, some adults and adolescents do not respond well to medication.  The use of medication can decrease impulsivity, increase attention, and increase drive.  However, by adding medication management with cognitive-behavioral, family, and/or couples therapy, this can help to get the most benefit out of treatment, especially in the areas of improving organization, decreasing distraction, dealing with problematic thinking patterns, and developing better relationships.

School Accommodations – ADHD can affect a student’s ability to inhibit behavior and focus their attention at school.  I work with the student and the school to develop a plan to assist in helping the student to succeed academically.  After conducting a full neuro/psycho/educational assessment, I can make recommendations for note taking services, extended time on tests (including SAT, GRE, LSAT, Bar Exam), extra tutoring, and other services to help deal with the student’s specific needs.  It is also important to note that even if someone has ADHD, this does not mean there is something “wrong” with them or that they will not be successful in life.  Many people with ADHD are very creative, very productive, and can become very successful.

Symptoms of ADHD can include:

Inattentive Symptoms –

  1. Making careless mistakes
  2. Difficulty sustaining attention
  3. Difficulty listening
  4. Difficulty following through or finishing work or projects
  5. Difficulty keeping organized
  6. Avoiding boring tasks like paying bills or homework
  7. Losing things like keys, pens, homework, or phone
  8. Being distracted by noises or people
  9. Forgetfulness

Hyperactivity Symptoms –

  1. Fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming in the seat
  2. Getting out of the seat when supposed to be sitting
  3. Feeling restless
  4. Difficulty playing or working quietly
  5. Acting as if “on the go” or “driven by a motor”
  6. Talking excessively

Impulsivity Symptoms –

  1. Blurting out answers before the question is completed
  2. Difficulty waiting for a turn
  3. Interrupting in conversations or games

Please read this article about the 7 different types of A.D.D for more information.