Adults With ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) And Therapy

For many children diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms persist well into adulthood. When adults learn that these lifelong symptoms have a name, they are often greatly relieved.  They have been thinking about themselves as lazy or disorganized instead of recognizing that they are dealing with a neurobiological problem.

When the adults with ADHD come into therapy, the same symptoms that gave them problems as children, present difficulties in conventional treatment.  The symptoms – inattention, difficulty getting organized, easily distracted, forgetful, impulsive, difficulty waiting before they speak, interrupting, hyperactive, incessant talking, fidgety – are not always compatible with therapy. Therapy usually requires concentrating on a theme, remembering insights, keeping appointments and showing up on time, and following through with ideas from the therapeutic hour.

 Then, when conventional therapy doesn’t work, both the client and therapist feel like they have failed.

Therapists have adapted their methods to this disorder. Here are some ways that clinicians deal with adults with

  1. The clients are referred to psychiatrists for medication that helps the symptoms. 
  2. Clients are educated about the disorder and that relieves some of the low self esteem problems. 
  3. Therapists may suggest that they use additional supports, such as vocational counseling and other supportive services.
  4. Therapists are more active than they might be with other clients.
  5. Treatment includes the development of coping skills that can be used in “real life,” such as examining behaviors of lateness (“I just wanted to do one more thing before I got in my car to come here”).
  6. Together, clients and therapists find alternative options and solutions to problems.

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