ADHD does not just impacts kids! Often times adults with ADHD have not been diagnosed as children and they should have been. In fact, many children who have ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood. Adult ADHD can impact all parts of life including dating/marriage relationships, work performance, managing money, and parenting.
Those with adult ADHD tend to be frustrated with themselves for the way they function. If they have a significant other, ADHD symptoms tend to put a strain on the relationship. One partner often feels they need to be responsible for more of the household duties. They are the one who usually does the bills, plans the meals, and helps find misplaced items. The other partner often feels bad about themselves for their lack of contribution. They don’t like depending on their significant other, but can’t seem to “get it together”. Of course, there is often fighting that occurs, “I can’t find my keys” as you are headed out the door. “What do you mean you can’t find your keys, AGAIN???” You can see where this is going!
Another challenge adults with ADHD face, is that they often have children who also have ADHD. It is difficult to teach or support a skill you do not have. For example, if a parent has difficulty with organization themselves, they are probably not able to teach their child organizational skills. We see this a lot at MVP. Often times a child comes in to get evaluated for ADHD, complete neurofeedback, or take part in counseling and we hear about the struggles one of the child’s parents has.
What can be done about adult ADHD?
The good news is, just as with children, adult ADHD can be treated. In addition, adults respond to the same interventions as children do.
Neurofeedback has a significant amount of research supporting it’s effectiveness in treating ADHD symptoms. Often times we have kids who complete neurofeedback and when their parents see the positive changes, they decide to complete neurofeedback themselves. We offer neurofeedback at MVP. All of our providers are either currently Board Certified in Neurofeedback or in process of completing their certification. You can also find other board certified providers at www.bcia.org.
Most people are aware of medication as a treatment option for ADHD. Most medication prescribed to treat ADHD are stimulants. They take effect quickly, unlike other medications that need time to build up in your body. Many primary care doctors feel comfortable prescribing medication for ADHD. Psychiatrists also specialize in prescribing medication for mental health difficulties. If your case is more complex, and you would like to pursue medication as a treatment option, a psychiatrist is helpful to have as part of your treatment team.
We know that exercise is good for our health, but for those with ADHD it may be even more important. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of research supporting the importance of exercise for those with ADHD. Exercise has been shown to increase the ability to focus, which is of course something that those with ADHD struggle with.
Diet is not typically addressed as much in main stream literature regarding ADHD; however, I felt I would be remiss if I did not include it in this discussion. There are many people that I have worked with through the years, who have significant positive change when they modify their diet.
There are many strategies that you can utilize, such as making lists, putting reminders on your phone, placing your keys in the same place every day so you can find them. There are many more ideas/strategies that those with ADHD can implement to make life a little easier. For some people with ADHD, strategies make a huge difference without doing anything else.
That being said, I have found that for many people with ADHD, it is often difficult to get significant changes with strategies without utilizing medication or neurofeedback. After neurofeedback or medication is in place the brain is better able to learn the strategies. Let me give you an analogy. I wear glasses (or contacts). I don’t see well without my glasses. If you ask me to read without wearing my glasses, I can do it but it is HARD! I have to strain my eyes and I get tired more quickly. I would also probably make some mistakes while reading. It is not for a lack of effort that reading without glasses doesn’t go well, it is because my body isn’t cooperating.
Those with adult ADHD can have the same struggle. They want to follow through on their strategies, but they are fighting their brain! Neurofeeback or medication are like glasses for the brain. After their brain can “see”, many people are often better able to complete organizational strategies, etc.
If you have adult ADHD and are struggling (or not thriving) as a result, it may be helpful to consider getting some help. We complete evaluations to determine if you have ADHD, provide counseling, and also utilize neurofeedback to help get life back on tract. Please call 720-583-9332 for a free consultation. We work with people all over the Denver Metro area including, Englewood, Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village, and Aurora.
Written by Dr. Steffanie Stecker
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!