ADHD: After Diagnosis
With the support of a professional there are a number of treatment options available to treat ADHD. A diagnosis should be seen as a step in the right direction, providing relief for patients to know that they are on a path forward to alleviating daily personal struggles and other behavioral or relationship issues. A professional may suggest counseling and coaching for the adult or child, their family and close friends as well as asking for support from employers or educators. A professional may also prescribe medication (such as Ritalin, Concerta and Strattera), as well as neuromodulation therapies such as Neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback. A trained therapist will recommend one or more of these treatments depending on the severity of the disorder and how much it impacts on the daily life and well-being of the person.
Many people benefit from a treatment plan which includes medication, cognitive behavioral therapy and neurofeedback. Medication, such as Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, is a way to provide the biological support needed for self-control. A common misconception is that people are "controlled" by the medication, but it should be remembered success is dependent on the effort of the individual. However, symptoms may quickly return if medication is stopped. Neurofeedback is therefore a beneficial treatment, capable of permanently improving brain function as a result of learned changes in brain activity.
Tips that patients with AD(H)D found useful:
- Allow yourself internal structure. These include calendars, lists, notes to yourself, color coding, routines to help you remember things.
- Take on a "good addiction." Find an exercise or other healthy and fun activities for regular and structured "blow-off" periods.
- Create a rewarding environment. Design projects, tasks, etc., in order to minimize frustration. Break large tasks into smaller steps and set priorities.
- Allow yourself a break. Take time to calm down and regain perspective when you feel angry or overwhelmed. Walk away from the situation if necessary.
- Use humor! It helps if partners and colleagues remind you to keep busy with your job, as long as it is done with humor and respect. Learn about symptoms of ADHD with humor. Make jokes with friends and family about symptoms such as getting lost and forgetting things.
- Be pupil and teacher. Read books. Talk to professionals about medication, neurofeedback and behavior. Talk to other adults who have ADHD. Let the people who matter know what the pros and cons of your ADHD. Inform others
- Make sure you get enough hours of sleep and have a regular sleep-wake rhythm.
- Make sure to get as much natural daylight (or sunlight) during the day, and prevent exposure to computers and tablets in the evening, before bedtime. If you would still like to use tablets and computers, consider installing the free software F.Lux which reduces the amount of blue light as a function of the time-of-day.
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