How to treat adult adhd

This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can cause a wide range of symptoms such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, impulsivity, mood swings, and disorganization. Treating adult ADHD often requires a combination of multiple treatment strategies. For example, you can improve feelings of restlessness by exercising more, but you may also need to develop strategies for managing your time and keeping your home organized. Medication might help you to stay focused on a task, but you may also need to make sure that you get enough sleep to avoid becoming overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish. Make sure that you work with a mental health professional, such as a therapist, to develop the best treatment strategy for you.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of children are diagnosed with the attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and about half of them have these symptoms even in adulthood. If left undiagnosed and untreated on time, ADHD can lead to serious mental and physical problems making it very difficult for the affected person and their families as well to lead a normal everyday life. It is very important to get to know the signs of ADHD in the adulthood, so the affected person can get the right treatment needed.

How to treat adult adhd

What Are the Symptoms of Adult ADHD?

A person dealing with ADHD may have a hard time to concentrate, finish the work on time, follow directions, organize tasks and even remember information. All of these have a great impact on a normal daily life functioning when it comes to work and social life. Getting the right treatment and help can make a big difference.

ADHD in adults can lead to:

  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulties controlling anger
  • Poor organization skills
  • Being constantly late
  • Forgetting things
  • Relationship problems
  • Problems at work

As every person is different, ADHD among adults is different. In some people, the above-mentioned signs and symptoms may have a great impact, while in others they can have no problems at all, or just from time to time on specific situations.

Problems at School

ADHD can cause several problems at school, such as:

  • Getting in trouble constantly
  • Underachievement
  • Repeating a grade
  • Dropping out of school

Problems at Work

ADHD can cause several problems at work, such as:

  • Poor performance at work
  • Changing jobs constantly
  • Not successful at work
  • Not being happy with a job

Problems in Life

ADHD in adults can cause several problems in life, such as:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Having less money
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Having more problems with the law

Relationship Problems

ADHD can cause several relationship problems such as:

  • Having problems in a marriage
  • Getting a divorce more often
  • Getting separated
  • Getting married a couple of times

Getting a Diagnosis

If you think that you or someone you know have ADHD in adulthood, it is necessary to get diagnosed as soon as possible and get the right treatment in order to be able to have a normal life as much as possible. However, it is good to know that diagnosing ADHD among adults is not an easy task as certain signs and symptoms of ADHD such as depression, anxiety, poor concentration, relationship problems, etc., can have other causes as well.

There is no single test or examination that can help make the diagnosis of ADHD in adults. But, getting a diagnosis for ADHD in adulthood will require a complete physical examination which will help rule out any other possible causes of certain signs and symptoms a person is experiencing, a detailed personal history including information about family history, personal history, relationships, work, etc., psychological tests which will help evaluate any information about the signs, as well as ADHD rating scales.

How Is Adult ADHD Treated?

Once the right diagnosis is made, adult ADHD is treated with medications, education, psychological counseling, and training. These treatments when combined together, can help relieve many signs and symptoms of ADHD, but can never cure them. As everyone is different, it will take some time for you and your healthcare provider to determine what works best for you.

Medications

  • Medications commonly used for the treatment of adult ADHD include stimulants like amphetamine or methylphenidate. These stimulants work by regulating the levels of various neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Other medications often prescribed for adult ADHD are certain antidepressants, nonstimulant atomoxetine, etc.

As everyone is unique you and your healthcare provider should work closely together to determine the right medications and dosage needed. Also, don’t forget to ask any side effects that you can possibly experience when using these medications for the treatment of ADHD.

Psychological Counseling

Once diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, it is very important to get educated about this disorder and to learn how to best deal with it. For this purpose, psychological counseling is needed so a person can learn skills which can help deal with ADHD signs and symptoms on a daily basis. Psychological counseling is beneficial in many ways, such as:

  • Improve a person’s self-esteem.
  • Learn how to reduce impulsivity.
  • Learn how to manage anger better.
  • Learn how to better manage time.
  • Learn how to better organize things.
  • Learn how to have a better relationship with your family, friends, co-workers.

Common types of psychological counseling used when treating ADHD in adults include:

  • Family therapy and marital counseling – which will help a person diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood improve their relationship to family and partner, as well as, teach other family members how to deal with a person suffering from ADHD
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – which will help a person diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood to learn specific skills necessary in daily life, as well as, to manage certain signs and symptoms of this disorder which have a great impact in school, work, at home, etc.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Besides, certain following tips might be very helpful:

  • Make a list of things you need to do each day.
  • Use checklists if needed and make sure not to try to do many things in just one day.
  • Write notes to yourself using sticky pads so you remember important things you need to do every day.
  • Keep an appointment book so you know your schedules in advance.
  • Note things that need to be remembered by always carrying a notebook with you.
  • Take your time to organize information that is important to you.
  • Follow a routine on a daily basis so you don’t get confused.
  • Lead a healthy life by eating well and being physically active.
  • Sleep well as rest is something everybody needs.
  • Get all the help you need from your family members, friends, and co-workers.

This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 181,750 times.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a condition that causes problems with focus and concentration, impulsive decisions, and hyperactive behavior. [1] X Expert Source

How to treat adult adhd

Finding a qualified doctor who knows how to treat adult ADHD is critical for the success of any adult ADHD treatment strategy. A doctor who has experience and success treating children with ADHD is not necessarily qualified to treat adults with the disorder.

The ADHD symptoms in adults can look different than those in children. Adults usually do not exhibit hyperactivity in the way children with ADHD do. For example, while hyperactive children cannot sit still and show overt impulsiveness, adult hyperactivity may appear as restlessness, chronic boredom, and a constant need for stimulation. Because of this and other differences, it is important that the doctor treating adult ADHD has specific experience treating adults with the condition.

Where to Find Qualified Adult ADHD Doctors

Talking to your primary care physician is the first step toward finding qualified adult ADHD doctors. Some primary care physicians may feel comfortable diagnosing and treating adult ADHD, but many will refer patients to a trusted specialist. Other types of healthcare professionals who treat adult ADHD include psychiatrists, neurologists, and internists. While psychologists and licensed nurse practitioners can test adults for ADHD, most psychologists cannot prescribe the necessary medications. Psychologists can provide behavior modification therapy as an adjunct therapy to stimulant medication for treating adult ADHD. Some states allow nurse practitioners to prescribe ADHD medications to adults, but many do not.

Asking other adults about their adult ADHD doctor and the level of treatment success they have experienced with him or her is another way of locating an adult ADHD doctor who may be right for you. You might also try searching an online physician finder service for doctors who list that they specifically treat adult ADHD. Adult ADHD doctors, who willingly list this as one of their specialties, likely do have knowledge of treating this disorder in adults.

What to Discuss with Prospective Adult ADHD Doctors

Once you have an appointment with a physician who has experience treating adult ADHD, begin to write down a history of your problems in the past and present issues that lead you to believe you may have ADD. Track down any records of psychologist visits or diagnoses of a behavior disorder in the past to take with you. Talk to your human resources department at work and ask for copies of performance reports if your problems have negatively impacted these reports. These may contain records of excessive tardiness, missed deadlines, poor attention to detail, etc. You may also want to take our free online ADD test to assess your symptoms and print the results to share with your doctor.

You may want to prepare a list of questions for your doctor as well. This list could include questions such as these:

  1. What treatments do you normally prescribe for adult ADHD?
  2. What are some possible side effects of stimulant medications commonly used to treat ADHD?
  3. Will exercise and dietary changes help my ADHD?
  4. Will I receive behavior modification therapy in addition to prescription medication therapy?
  5. How long must I remain on therapy (both behavioral and pharmacological)?
  6. How do I explain my ADHD diagnosis to my family?
  7. Are there any over-the-counter or herbal medications I should avoid while taking the prescription stimulants used to treat adult ADHD?

Add your own questions to this list as well. Arriving at your appointment well prepared will ensure the best possible outcome and help you evaluate if this physician truly has adequate knowledge of how to treat adult ADHD.

Why is anxiety common with adult ADHD and what can you do about it?

THE BASICS

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Find a therapist to overcome anxiety

Adult ADHD doesn’t usually travel alone. Among its more common companions are depression, alcohol and drug abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette’s syndrome, and, of course, anxiety. Having ADHD and another condition can make treatment trickier, but it’s crucial to address everything that’s going on if you’re going to get the most out of your treatment.

Anxiety comes in a lot of different forms, like phobias or panic attacks. The kind of anxiety that crops up with ADHD is usually stress-related. That means a “grinding, I can’t take it much longer” stress. It’s the type of anxiety that keeps you awake at night, wondering how you’re going to pull off that massive presentation next week? Or how you’re going to learn a semester of stats by Monday? Or how you’re going to pay your bills this time? In jargon-speak it’s sometimes called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

The generalized part of GAD means that it cuts across situations and environments. It’s free-floating and pervasive. That’s different than a phobia, for instance, where you might panic only when you’re visited by a spider, or feel terror in a crowded elevator that stalls. The anxiety in GAD is a more chronic, persistent, and gnawing stress. It’s never being caught up at work. Feeling unproductive and unable to get ahead at home. Worrying constantly about money issues. Feeling stressed out about your kids.

And it’s long-lasting. By definition, GAD must last at least six months. That duration distinguishes it from passing stressors that come and go. It’s not short-lived or temporary, but more like an unwanted new normal.

Given the way adult ADHD disrupts lives, it’s not surprising that chronic worry and stress often overlap with it. ADHD erodes self-confidence. New plans and projects feel ominous. Past struggles and mistakes are replayed over and over again, usually in an unrealistically negative or amplified way. Wins and successes are minimized. This is a breeding ground for performance-related anxiety of course, but it also leads to a sense of chaos and incompetence. When we don’t feel able to manage our lives and struggle to find personal successes due to our ADHD, we are going to feel chronically stressed and doubtful of our own abilities.

What to do

While both ADHD and anxiety batter self-esteem and confidence, the good news is that they are both very treatable. We’ve looked before at treatment options for ADHD. Anxiety is responsive to treatment too, and often in a pretty short period of time. The most common treatments for anxiety involve medication and skill-based therapy.

Anxiety medications usually come in two classes: (1) Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, or Prozac; and (2) Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. You probably know of SSRIs already. They’re used extensively to treat depression. Benzodiazepines are highly effective and fast-acting drugs to reduce anxiety, but they have a potential for abuse because they’re short-acting and people develop tolerance to them easily. Still, benzodiazepines are used quite often in the treatment of anxiety. A qualified psychiatrist is the best individual to talk with about medication for anxiety, and about whether stimulants for ADHD might be inadvertently increasing anxiety symptoms.

The other major treatment approach for anxiety is therapy, and specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other therapy and counseling treatments are of course available for anxiety, dating all the way back to Freud’s case of Little Hans, but the current gold standard treatment for anxiety is CBT. The American Psychological Association (APA) Society of Clinical Psychology web site lists only CBT as having “strong research support” for GAD. If you’re interested, see the details at their website. CBT is often fairly effective after only 10-20 sessions.

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521864312

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Although the phenomenon of ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is well described in children, it is now thought that in up to 60% of cases the symptoms persist into adulthood. This volume reviews our growing knowledge of adult ADHD and presents a transatlantic perspective on the identification, assessment and treatment of the disorder. The introductory section covers the history of ADHD, as well as the epidemiology, consequences, gender differences and legal aspects. Detailed descriptions of the clinical features of ADHD in adults are then given to enhance the reader’s clinical recognition and assessment. Subsequent sections cover treatment strategies, emphasising pharmacological, psychological and social interventions. Written and edited by experts internationally renowned for their work in ADHD, this is an essential resource for all mental health workers who encounter adults presenting with neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • Outlines the neurobiology of ADHD in adults, facilitating understanding of cognitive neuroscience and genetic research
  • Describes the clinical features of ADHD in adults, improving the reader’s clinical recognition and assessment
  • Provides detailed discussion of various treatment approaches to ADHD in adults, enabling informed decisions

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Product details

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521864312
  • length: 328 pages
  • dimensions: 253 x 195 x 20 mm
  • weight: 0.86kg
  • contains: 10 b/w illus. 10 tables
  • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. The course and persistence of ADHD throughout the life-cycle J. Biederman and J. Buitelaar
    2. The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD R. Kessler, J. Buitelaar, Lenard Russell Barkley, J. Biederman, C. Conners, Larry Greenhill, David Shaw and T. Spencer
    3. Gender issues in adult ADHD P. Quinn
    4. The consequences of ADHD in adulthood: educational, vocational and relational impairments T. Spencer
    5. Neurobiology of ADHD J. Krause, Klaus-Henning Krause and Martin Ohlmeier
    6. Quantitative and molecular genetic studies of adult ADHD P. Asherson, S. Faraone and F. Levy
    7. Structural and functional MRI findings in adults with ADHD Y. Paloyelis
    8. Evoked response potentials in adults with ADHD G. McLoughlin
    9. Positron Emission Tomography findings in adults with ADHD M. Mehta
    10. Diagnosing ADHD in adults L. Adler and David Shaw
    11. Neurocognitive characteristics of adults with ADHD J. Dowson and Andrew Blackwell
    12. Adult ADHD and mood disorders T. Brown
    13. Adult ADHD and anxiety disorders M. Weiss
    14. Adult ADHD and substance use disorders T. Wilens
    15. Adult ADHD and organic brain disorders A. Niemela and H. Niederhofer
    16. Autism spectrum disorders overlap ADHD in adults C. Gillberg
    17. Adult ADHD and learning disorders K. Xenitidis
    18. Adult ADHD and personality disorders F. van Dijk and Henrik Anckarsater
    19. Psychostimulants for adult ADHD T. Spencer and J. Biederman
    20. The use of non-stimulant drugs in the treatment of adult ADHD W. Verbeeck
    21. Medication management in adult ADHD S. Kooij
    22. Abuse potential of stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD S. H. Kollins
    23. Psycho-education for adults with ADHD: impressions from the field R. Bruggeman and A. van Lammeren
    24. Coaching of adults with ADHD D. Ryffel
    25. Clinical applications of research on the psychosocial treatment of adult ADHD M. McDermott
    26. EEG biofeedback for adult ADHD Y. Ginsberg
    27. Alternative and complementary treatments for ADHD A. Arnold and S. Spetie
    Appendices
    Index.

    Look Inside

    Editors

    Jan K. Buitelaar, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Medical Center
    Jan Buitelaar is Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

    Cornelis C. Kan, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Medical Centerr
    Cornelis C. Kan is an adult psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

    Philip Asherson, Institute of Psychiatry, London
    Philip Asherson is Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry (Kings College London, UK) and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Adult ADHD Clinic, London, UK.

    Contributors

    J. Biederman, J. Buitelaar, R. Kessler, Lenard Russell Barkley, C. Conners, Larry Greenhill, David Shaw, T. Spencer, P. Quinn, J. Krause, Klaus-Henning Krause, Martin Ohlmeier, P. Asherson, S. Faraone, F. Levy, Y. Paloyelis, G. McLoughlin, M. Mehta, L. Adler, J. Dowson, Andrew Blackwell, T. Brown, M. Weiss, T. Wilens, A. Niemela, H. Niederhofer, C. Gillberg, K. Xenitidis, F. van Dijk, Henrik Anckarsater, W. Verbeeck, S. Kooij, S. H. Kollins, R. Bruggeman, A. van Lammeren, D. Ryffel, M. McDermott, Y. Ginsberg, A. Arnold, S. Spetie

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    Without education or treatment, adult ADHD leads to chronic fatigue, anxiety, & issues at work and at home. Here’s how to identify & manage adult ADHD.

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    Series Overview

    Adult ADHD vs. Childhood & Teenage ADHD: The Key Differences 10 Min

    Dr. Judy breaks down how ADHD is different in adults versus children and teens. She shares how the condition is different from attention-deficit disorder (ADD) in adulthood. She also sheds light on the most common misconceptions about adult ADHD that you should be aware of—and how to spot the effects of untreated or undiagnosed ADHD on the life of you or your loved one.

    The Causes & Risk Factors of ADHD in Adults 8 Min

    A common question Dr. Judy gets in her practice is whether ADHD can develop in adulthood, or if it simply went undiagnosed in childhood. She answers that question in this session. She also gives a thorough explanation of the genetic factors, environmental impacts, and developmental factors that may play a role in the onset of adult ADHD.

    How to Spot the Symptoms of ADHD in Adults 10 Min

    In this session, Dr. Judy walks through each symptom and behavior of adulthood ADHD that mental health professionals look for when diagnosing ADHD in adults. She also explains the most common work and relationship issues that signal you or your loved one should seek out an ADHD evaluation by a professional.

    What the Diagnostic & Evaluation Process Should Look Like for ADHD 11 Min

    Dr. Judy answers an important question in this session: are online tests for ADHD really accurate? She also walks through who is qualified to diagnose ADHD—and does a deep-dive on each element of the testing process.

    How Effective Treatment for Adult ADHD Should Look 12 Min

    Roughly 20 to 50 percent of patients don’t respond to medications for ADHD, so therapy and other interventions are essential. In our final session, Dr. Judy explains how to find the treatment regimen that is best for you or someone you love. She even shares which treatment methods have been most effective in her own practice.

    You can get free access to all 5 segments of this video series when you sign up for a 7 day All-Access Trial Membership. You’ll also get access to every video series from our top, credentialed doctors you can trust.

    About the Series

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood can hold you or someone you love back in all areas of life.

    From causing relationship issues to interfering with work productivity, and even to co-occurring with other mental health issues like substance abuse, anxiety, and depression, adult ADHD is pervasive—especially when it goes undiagnosed.

    In fact, this developmental condition all-too-often flies under the radar in adolescence.

    As a triple-board certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Judy Ho assesses adults for ADHD very often in her private practice. In this eye-opening series, she shares this invaluable insight.

    Dr. Judy and MedCircle host Kyle Kittleson shed light on how to improve daily functioning when it comes to organization, attentiveness, time management, and even relationships.

    Millions of adults are living with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Without education or treatment, ADHD can lead to chronic fatigue, anxiety, disorganization, and issues at work and at home. This series provides the education and solutions needed to better manage adult ADHD and ultimately live a more productive, happier life.

    Who is this series for?

    How to treat adult adhd

    This series is a must-have for adults diagnosed with ADHD who want to better understand and manage their condition in all aspects of life. This series is also incredibly eye-opening for or those who think they may have undiagnosed ADHD.

    How to treat adult adhd

    Loved ones and those living or working closely with individuals with ADHD will also benefit from this series as they deepen their awareness and understanding of this condition to better support their family member, friend, student, or colleague.

    Was this helpful?

    How to treat adult adhd

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not just a condition for kids. Many adults also have it. Some simply haven’t gotten a diagnosis. They’ve learned to cope with it as best they can.

    Have you been disorganized all your life? Do you miss appointments? Have you struggled at school, at work, and with relationships? ADHD always starts in childhood, but parents and doctors don’t always detect it. Sometimes that doesn’t happen until adulthood.

    If this sounds like you—or, if you already know you have ADHD—talk with your doctor about what it means to have ADHD as an adult. It’s a talk that could change your life. Living with untreated ADHD increases your risk of substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. ADHD is even a risk factor for traffic accidents.

    Symptoms of Adult ADHD

    Symptoms of ADHD in adults are similar to symptoms in children, but there are differences. Adults tend to have more attention deficit symptoms and fewer hyperactivity symptoms. When talking with your doctor, mention all symptoms you’ve had since childhood. Explain how they have affected you at home, school and work. Also, tell your doctor whether you have any of these symptoms as an adult:

    • Trouble organizing, starting and completing tasks
    • Trouble focusing for any length of time
    • Trouble following directions or dealing with a detailed task
    • Easily frustrated and impatient
    • Disorganized or chaotic lifestyle
    • Periods of anxiety or depression
    • History of drug or alcohol abuse

    Diagnosing Adult ADHD

    Getting a diagnosis of ADHD can be a big relief. Most adults with ADHD have struggled with the symptoms since they were kids. Now, they can get treatment.

    To decide if you have ADHD, your doctor will start by going over your life history. The doctor also will do a complete exam. This will help rule out other possible causes for your symptoms. Your doctor might also have a mental health expert help with the diagnosis.

    The doctor will use several guidelines to figure out if you have adult ADHD. Each has a set of questions for you to answer. The results will show whether you should have an ADHD diagnosis. The guidelines include:

    • Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale: This scale includes 30 questions. They ask, for instance, if you lose things needed to complete tasks. Or, if you feel restless inside even if you’re sitting still. You answer on a four-point scale, ranging from “not at all” to “very much, very frequently.”
    • Copeland Symptom Checklist for Adult ADHD: This test involves eight areas related to ADHD. They include inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, problems with underachievement, disorganization, emotional troubles, poor peer relations, family problems, and more.
    • Brown Adult ADHD Scale: This consists of 40 questions. It asks how often you might “space out,” how forgetful you are, and whether you can stay focused while reading. It also asks how well you control your emotions and how severe your outbursts are. You give answers on a scale of 1 to 3 or 1 to 4.

    Treatment of Adult ADHD

    There is no cure for ADHD. However, treatment makes things better for most adults with the condition.

    Stimulant drugs are the first line of treatment. For adults with ADHD, some antidepressants also may be helpful. Besides medication, most adults are helped by working with a mental health therapist. This could include counseling, education, and behavioral coaching. Joining an adult ADHD support group also can help. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what options would be best for you.

    If your doctor wants to prescribe medication, you will need to talk about several issues. These include:

    • Stimulant drug side effects: These drugs are effective. However, they can have side effects. They also can be addictive, especially if you have substance abuse in your past. Make sure your doctor knows if you’ve ever had problems with drugs or alcohol.
    • Atomoxetine: This is a newer, non-stimulant drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved this drug for children with ADHD. Adults also use it. You have less chance of becoming addicted with this drug.
    • Antidepressants: Ask your doctor if these might help you. You should discuss how they compare with the other drug options.
    • Your other medications: Drugs to treat ADHD can interfere with other drugs you take. Tell your doctor about all drugs you take and all medical problems you have. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are being treated for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, or anxiety.

    Learn More

    Work with your doctor to learn as much as you can about ADHD. Together, you can get your life to a better place. To start to learn more about ADHD on your own, read these articles: