A variety of treatment methods have been used to treat ADHD. As one of the most common types of psychological disorders, a significant amount of research has been devoted to interventions for ADHD. It can be important to consider all of the treatment options available and to realize that treatment should be tailored to the individual.
Medication is a common form of treatment for ADHD, but not the only form. Ultimately, this form of treatment is between a qualified medical provider and the individual with ADHD (or a parent/guardian if the individual is a minor). An important consideration with this type of treatment is that some ADHD medications are controlled substances. Also, as with any psychiatric medication, some individuals can experience negative side effects. Some individuals consider taking a non-stimulant medication for ADHD.
Pharmacogenetic Testing to Guide Psychiatric Treatment
Some medical providers may be trained in pharmocogenetic testing to try to identify the types of medication which may be an appropriate fit for an individual with ADHD. This type of testing can especially be crucial when individuals have experienced severe side effects on other psychiatric medications, when a significant amount of time has been spent on ineffective medications, or when it is suspected that an individual may not be likely to recognize and report their own side effects.
Counseling (also called psychotherapy) can be beneficial for helping ADHD individuals understand their symptoms and find ways to cope with their problems related to attention or hyperactivity. As individuals with ADHD are more vulnerable to other psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, having a safe environment to deal with negative emotions can be especially crucial for these individuals. The treatment plan implemented in counseling can adapt to consider symptoms of other conditions which may be amenable to the effect of psychotherapy
ADHD coaching is another type of treatment which involves learning and implementing strategies to decrease the impact of ADHD symptoms. Research on ADHD coaching is still in its infancy, but the initial findings seem to be promising.
Neurofeedback is another treatment option which involves training the brain to rely on brainwave patterns which keep the mind alert. For instance, common neurofeedback treatments may involve increasing the amount of beta waves (brainwave present when you are alert and attentive) and decreasing the amount of theta waves (brainwaves present when you are drowsy). The breadth of research in this area is not as large as the research of psychiatric or psychotherapeutic interventions, but several studies suggest that this could be an effective alternative treatment for ADHD.
Importantly, at the current time, the majority of insurance plans do not allow for member benefits to cover professional fees for ADHD coaching or neurofeedback.
Pinpointing Other Helps Through Testing
Aside from treatment options, it can be helpful to explore methods to work around, and compensate for ADHD symptoms. For example, accommodations in academic environments or workplace settings can help to limit the amount of negative impact experienced by an individual in school or at work.
Educating oneself about ADHD can be a powerful tool for learning how to cope with these symptoms. Some of the best education individuals can receive pertains to how ADHD specifically impacts them. After completing psychological testing for ADHD, personalized results are presented in a feedback session and this educational process can be crucial for understanding symptoms and finding ways to treat symptoms. The severity and the types of symptoms stemming from ADHD can influence which treatment options might be most appropriate. Also, treatment-related factors of the individual (for instance, motivation and readiness to change) can make a difference. A personalized recommendation from an examiner can be an important first step to getting further help.
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Females and ADHD
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