Adult ADHD in addition to inattention often includes at least two of theses additional symptoms:
- quickly changing emotions;
- inability to complete tasks;
In adults, inattentive symptoms, poor focus, disorganization, and
problems with motivation are typical. More than an inconvenience, the condition adversely affects the individual’s relationships, both at work and with family.
An adult suffering with AD/HD may have difficulty sitting through a business meeting, exhibit an inability to listen to others’ concerns, or not be responsive to family needs at
home. Spouses and partners of AD/HD individuals complain of poor follow-through and unmet promises. When the AD/HD partner has difficulty holding a job, the family’s finances may suffer, bringing additional tension to the household. Partners may have limited tolerance with an overdrawn bank account or forgetting about carpool responsibilities.
An individual may have difficulty waiting at a red light, or in a line at a restaurant. He or she may become bored so easily that intimate relationships are in perpetual turmoil. AD/HD sufferers also have lower rates of high school and college completion. Individuals with untreated AD/HD have a higher risk than their non-AD/HD peers of divorce, car accidents, gambling and general money management issues, substance abuse, and legal difficulties. Awareness of these public health and social implications sheds light on the importance of consistent identification of the disorder and proper treatment.
What Help is Available?
A therapist with experience in adult AD/HD issues will assess the client’s symptoms, physical and mental health history, family history, goals for treatment, previous medications and academic and professional history. The therapist will likely ask about past behavior and any problems from childhood or adolescence, as the disorder would have been a factor earlier in life, even if left undiagnosed.
Family history can be particularly insightful for the therapist, because if a sibling, parent or child of the client has an AD/HD diagnosis, there is a higher probability of the diagnosis for the client undergoing assessment.
Further, the therapist may ask: Is there discord between the client and partner? Are there strained relationships with the children due to impatience or lack of follow-through? What are the client’s goals for improving family relationships?
The therapist may also use screening tests or questionnaires for further assessment and diagnosis. These are helpful in determining if other mental health concerns are present along with AD/HD. Generally speaking, most individuals suffering with AD/HD will have other mental health issues present. These may include anxiety, depression, mood disorders, sleep disorders, substance use, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, eating disorders, antisocial personality disorder, and problems with impulse control.
Research shows that the most effective treatment is one that includes pharmacological treatment in combination with psychotherapy. Patients taking medication will benefit most from a coordinated treatment plan between their primary physician and psychotherapist. It is important to note that medication alone is not the preferred way to treat adult AD/HD.
Marriage and family therapists can create a treatment plan for the whole family; they may need to educate the family so they better understand their family member’s behaviors in the proper context--offering insight into patterns of thoughts and feelings that drive the client’s behaviors, as well as any underlying mental health diagnoses that may compound the picture. With this knowledge in hand, the family is better to able to work with the clinician to determine the most effective ways to support their loved one’s positive change.
The therapist may be one of the few people in the client’s life who can understand the many difficult aspects of living with this disorder.
- AAMFT.org Consumer Updates: Adult ADHD
At Oceanside Family Therapy we evaluate, diagnose and treat Adult ADHD.
85% of Adults with ADHD don't know they have it!
The Clinical Assessment of Attention Deficit that we use at Oceanside Family Therapy includes an instrument that is comprehensive, highly reliable, and sensitive to the symptomatology of attentional deficits both with and without hyperactivity for adults. Closely aligned with current diagnostic criteria, the CAT-A includes scales, clusters, and items that are sensitive to symptom presentation in differing contexts and as expressed as either internal sensations or overt behaviors.
ADHD Adults often get overloaded and frustrated by the many challenges & stresses of living with ADHD. Counseling and life coaching helps these individuals to reduce the frustrations by learning how to manage ADHD more effectively & develop the advantages of the condition. Our clients experience less struggle and stress, get more done with less effort & have greater piece of mind.
· Reduce procrastination
· Support decision-making and prioritizing
· Expand perception of options
· Provide course correction
· Create ADD-appreciative accountability
· Celebrate successes
· Set up supportive environment for success
· Putting the pieces in place that lead to success
Develop New Skills
· Manage impulsivity and distractibility
· Improve time and self-management
· Personalize strategies and systems
· Learn to set boundaries
· Improve social and communication skills
· Manage conflict confidently
Manage Emotional State
· Remove blame and shame
· Improve self-confidence
· Reduce overwhelm
· Empower self-image
· Reduce stress
· Control worry
· Learn about your ADD
· Appreciate your strengths and unique gifts
· Discover personalized approaches
· Draft a personalized owner's manual of your brain
· Understand the criteria for a successful strategy
· Create a personal pattern of success
Adult ADHD can also often cause marital discord and relationship stressors. In these situations it can be very helpful to consider concurrent couples counseling.
Oceanside Family Therapy
director, Nicole Story, Ed.S, M.Ed, LMFT, LMHC
is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
, with over ten years experience providing both individual and couples counseling