Suggestions for Adult ADHD Treatment

Monday, February 20th, 2012

There are a number of ADHD treatment options available to adults with ADHD. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) are two stimulants that have been proven to jog attention and check restlessness and impulsiveness in adults with ADHD.  Ritalin attacks the three symptoms in ADHD:  selective attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  It is well documented how work production and social relationships have improved after taking Ritalin. The only downside is that the improvements stop the moment drug intake is discontinued.

Antidepressant drugs like Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are another option, although the response to SSRIs has not been very promising in adults with ADHD.  An alternative would be secondary amine TCAs like Nopramin and Pamelor. Antidepressant therapy would also be appropriate and helpful for individuals with mood disturbance problems. In some cases, a combination of stimulants and antidepressants may be recommended.

Both the use of stimulants and antidepressants carry with them certain side effects, so both must always be through a physician’s prescription.  In the case of Ritalin, insomnia and diminished appetite are two of the more common side effects. Those taking antidepressants have to watch out for the possibility of cardiac conduction abnormalities. An ECG should be had prior to starting a TCA therapy. Other side effects for TCA users include drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, and urinary retention.

Compared with children, adults with ADHD are in a relatively better position to deal with ADHD using self-management strategies. Lists and reminders, for instance, are effective measures to counter selective attention.  A simple act such as placing a large memory ticker with important dates and deadlines highlighted at home and at the work place could go a long way in dealing with selective attention. Blackberries and iPhones offer even faster and more efficient solutions.

To combat distraction, one simple measure could be to keep one’s desk free of clutter.  If what’s going on outside the office window distracts, cover the window with a curtain, or move the table to put the window behind your back. Another simple measure would be to go to work ahead of all others, get there before co-workers arrive and the phones start ringing.

As mentioned, adults with ADHD are in a better position than children to deal with ADHD. One reason for this is that adults can be more systematic so that this type of ADHD treatment works well for them.  Using their familiarity with their schedules they can, for instance, systematically break down their day to have the most demanding tasks done during the time when they’re most focused, and to plan each chunk of their day complete with reminders and deadlines. Children with ADHD have less control over their schedule, making this more difficult.

Psychotherapy is another option.  During psychotherapy, the psychiatrist will try to treat psychological, emotional, or behavioral disorders by establishing a crucial relationship of trust with the patient, paving the way for the free expression by the patient of whatever it is that bothers him. Through this expression by the patient of his innermost thoughts and emotions, the psychiatrist, through the healing power of words, gains valuable insight into the patient’s condition. Lack of self-esteem, a feeling of being an utter failure, inability to stick to one job, and relationship problems are some ADHD problems that psychotherapy may help address.

Speak with an ADHD doctor to determine the best adult ADHD treatment for your situation.