Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What Is ADHD and What Are Treatment Options for This Disorder?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is commonly known to affect children; however, this disorder can also impact adults. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ADHD impacts approximately 4.4% of adults between the ages 18 to 44 in the U.S. ADHD can severely impact a person’s ability to achieve career or academic aspirations, to form meaningful and healthy relationships, or build self-esteem. To cope with the negative impact of ADHD in their lives, some adults turn to substances or process addictions.

Create Recovery Center of West Los Angeles is here to help those who are struggling with a dual diagnosis of ADHD and addiction. You can learn new skills to manage your symptoms of ADHD while freeing yourself from addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from ADHD, you may notice the following behaviors:

  • Inattention:
    • Forgetfulness
    • Overlooking details when completing tasks
    • Having difficulty sustaining attention during conversations, work meetings, or lectures
    • Appearing to not be listening during a conversation
    • Inability to follow-through and complete tasks or chores
    • Struggling to organize events or tasks
    • Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort
    • Easily going off-topic during conversations or off-task when working on projects
  • Hyperactivity:
    • Unable to sit still
    • Fidgeting or moving legs while sitting
    • Feeling restless
    • Inability to relax
    • Constantly in motion or “on the go”
    • Talking nonstop during a conversation
  • Impulsivity:
    • Interrupting others during conversations and meetings
    • Having difficulty waiting for their turn during group activities or projects
    • Giving up new activities or challenges due to a low frustration tolerance

Behavioral patterns like this can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to maintain a job or career, build relationships with others, or find fulfillment from achievements. When a person is unable to sustain their attention to accomplish a goal, they might feel shame or guilt about not following through. Feelings of guilt and shame can lower a person’s self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Create Recovery can help to rebuild your self-esteem and self-confidence so that you can manage your ADHD symptoms in healthy ways!

Do I Have ADHD?

If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), our assessment may be a beneficial tool. Although the assessment can not be used as a definitive diagnosis, it can help to determine how many symptoms associated with addiction a person may be facing.

We base our assessment questions on the criteria laid out by the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Regardless to the results of the assessment, it is important to note that ADHD must be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.

How Can I Treat My ADHD Symptoms?

While there is no cure for ADHD, the expert staff at Create Recovery can teach you the skills you need to treat your disorder. Treatment for ADHD can include taking medications to increase your attention, reduce hyperactivity, and control impulsivity. However, medications are just a part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Since ADHD can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem or ability to pursue fulfilling relationships, therapeutic interventions can help a person rebuild their life. People with dual-diagnosis of ADHD and addiction can benefit from:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
    • A therapist can guide you in processing your thoughts and feelings.
    • By understanding how your beliefs can impact your decision-making and attention, you can learn to challenge negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Group Therapy:
    • Group sessions can help a person process their feelings by sharing their experiences with peers.
    • Many others may have had similar issues in their lives and might offer a fresh perspective on dealing with addiction and underlying mental health issues!
  • Medications:
    • Medications might help by addressing biochemical deficiencies in the brain.
    • By increasing chemicals responsible for focus and concentration (dopamine and norepinephrine), you might find an increase in attention with a decrease in hyperactivity and impulsivity.

ADHD may leave deficits in critical life domains that impact a person’s overall quality of life. Create Recovery believes that addressing the person’s “whole-self” in recovery will yield the best results for success. Taking holistic approaches, like learning life skills and exercising, can help alleviate symptoms of ADHD.

Additional Tips for Those With Adult ADHD

Since ADHD can negatively affect a person’s performance at work or their ability to maintain a healthy home environment, learning organizational skills can help to prevent issues related to ADHD. Sometimes, when we learn to work with our diagnosis rather than against it, we can get the best results. If you struggle with ADHD, try some of the following to accomplish tasks and complete goals:

  • Break your tasks into shorter segments
    • Most people (even without ADHD!) struggle to start a task that feels too overwhelming.
    • Rather than taking on one big task, like cleaning your kitchen, break the task into smaller parts. You can even do this over the course of a few days. For example,
      • Task One: Clean the counters
      • Task Two: Sweep the floors
      • Task Three: Mop the floors
      • Task Four: Take out the trash
    • Use checklists for completing tasks.
    • Set up reminders for yourself about upcoming appointments or other scheduled events and tasks.
      • Use reminders on your phone calendar or wall calendar.
      • Use sticky notes or post-its to keep reminders in places you need them.
      • Try using a whiteboard or chalkboard to keep a list of tasks visible.
    • Use other tools to remember certain things.
      • Take pictures with your smartphone to remember things like where you parked your car.
      • Write things down in a notebook or smartphone app when you need reminders.
      • You can even send notes and reminders to yourself in a text message!
    • Follow a daily routine.
    • Have a specific “home” for items, like a bowl for keys or a designated place for your wallet, purse, or phone.

You can live a successful and fulfilling life with ADHD by learning how to manage symptoms and cope with stress! At Create Recovery, we are here to help you if you’re struggling with addiction due to underlying issues, like ADHD. Remember this important tip: reach out for help when you need it. Create Recovery is here for you!