Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by symptoms of impulsivity, emotional outbursts, hyperactivity, inattention, loss of focus, forgetfulness, and disorganization. These symptoms may be present all at once or may only appear occasionally, depending on the situation. The diagnosis of ADHD has become increasingly controversial because it is commonly diagnosed in children, with greater frequency than in years past, and stimulant medications are often prescribed to control symptoms. However, the condition is real, and it affects both children and adults. It can become serious if left untreated, and while medication can be helpful, especially on a short-term basis, therapy is often effective at treating ADHD, particularly when used in conjunction with short-term medication. Those who believe they or someone in their family is experiencing symptoms of ADHD might find it helpful to speak to a therapist.

Those with ADHD may have/exhibit:

·         Trouble listening.

·         Difficulty sitting still for long periods of time.

·         A tendency to be easily distracted.

·         Extremely hyper behavior.

·         A tendency to make careless mistakes.

·         A tendency to procrastinate.

·         Difficulty establishing healthy study skills or work habits.

·         Trouble with time management.

·         A tendency to become easily bored and a need for constant stimulation.

Though these issues may be experienced by anyone, ADHD can make these difficulties more severe. Most people can concentrate on tasks that challenge them by resolving to do so, but people with ADHD often truly cannot concentrate.

How Therapy Can Help ADHD

Psychotherapy is effective for the treatment of the symptoms related to ADHD because it addresses behavior modification. Children and adults with ADHD can have a difficult time regulating their emotional and behavioral response to situations. Learning effective coping strategies is one way to gain control over symptoms. Therapists can also help with the development of a plan for organization and prioritization, key areas of difficulty for those with ADHD. Goal setting, reward and consequence, and emotional regulation are other areas that are addressed during psychotherapy for ADHD.

Even if ADHD is not diagnosed, difficulties concentrating at school or at work can be troublesome. Therapy, with or without the addition of medication, can help children and adults learn to stay more focused, manage impulses, and discover which learning and working environments and aids can help increase attention. A therapist, especially one with a specialization in attention issues or school concerns, can work with parents, teachers, and the child in question to help modify the learning environment to better suit the child’s learning style and needs. A therapist can also help discover whether attention issues are really the root of the problem: In many cases, learning disabilitiesanxietyanger, problems at home, or other emotional or cognitive issues can be masked by a child’s misbehavior. Therapy can help uncover the true nature of the child’s inappropriate or troubling behavior.

Although medication is often also prescribed as part of a treatment plan for ADHD, it is considered to be most effective when combined with therapy, which can teach coping skills. Common therapeutic treatments for ADHD include:

·         Skills-based therapy: This type of therapy is particularly effective with young children. Therapists specializing in the treatment of attention problems can focus on helping children develop specific skills and time management strategies.

·         Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can be helpful at changing unhealthy habits and thinking patterns. Adults with ADHD may find it particularly helpful because CBT helps patients reframe and retrain their thought processes. CBT is typically a short-term intervention, with changes often apparent after only a few sessions.

·         Traditional psychotherapy: Traditional psychotherapy, which may include discussions of anxiety, analysis of family relationships, and a variety of other topics, may be helpful at alleviating some of the symptoms of ADHD, especially in those who are experiencing other issues, such as depression and anxiety, along with ADHD. Talk therapy can help alleviate some of these concerns, bringing one’s ADHD back into focus.

·         Family therapy: ADHD doesn’t just affect those who have the condition. Parents are often exasperated by children with ADHD, and when an adult has the illness, spouses and children may be affected. In family therapy, the family can learn ways to help and support each other and establish healthy coping skills that may help minimize stress and power struggles.
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