Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lead to impulsiveness, restlessness, and trouble concentrating. Luckily, there are advancements in ADHD treatment that can help you find the clarity and focus that you deserve.
With help from Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, you can find ways to manage your ADHD effectively. Dr. Mohammad Munir and the rest of our team have years of expertise in offering support to adult ADHD patients throughout the Boston area.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by behavioral patterns such as restlessness, distractibility, and impulsivity. Often, these symptoms are further categorized into inattentive and hyperactive symptoms.
Inattentive symptoms include making careless mistakes, having difficulty organizing tasks, losing items, and being forgetful. Hyperactivity symptoms include fidgeting, squirming, talking excessively, and interrupting others. Some people have primarily one set of symptoms while others have a combination.
Treatments available for ADHD
While ADHD is a lifelong condition, a number of effective treatments can help patients cope with their symptoms. These usually involve a combination of medications and therapy.
ADHD is thought to be caused by an imbalance in brain chemicals that affects the frontal cortex and other areas, impacting attention and executive function. Specifically, people with ADHD usually have less norepinephrine, which is a chemical that works with dopamine (the “reward chemical”) in the brain. Many of the ADHD medicines below work by affecting these two neurotransmitters.
Stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Adderall), and others work by boosting dopamine levels in the brain. These boosted levels of the “reward chemical” can improve concentration and focus.
Because stimulants are often highly effective for ADHD, they are usually the first-line treatment. However, they can also cause side effects such as jitters, loss of appetite, poor sleep, racing heartbeat, and tics.
There are nonstimulant options for people whose ADHD doesn’t respond well to stimulants. Atomoxetine (Strattera) works by boosting norepinephrine and is long-lasting while Guanfacine (Intuniv) boosts prefrontal cortex connectivity. However, these options may not be as effective as traditional stimulants.
If you suffer from ADHD and depression, antidepressants that work on multiple neurotransmitters can be especially effective for both conditions. For example, bupropion (Wellbutrin) works by boosting both norepinephrine and dopamine, while tricyclic antidepressants work on serotonin and norepinephrine.
While these can be useful for patients with both conditions, the drawback is that any antidepressant takes between 2-4 weeks to be effective and some antidepressants can even temporarily boost your risk of suicidal ideation.
While there are multiple types of counseling that can help you manage your ADHD, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and family counseling are among the most helpful.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works by looking at the relationship between your thoughts (cognition) and your behaviors. By using a structured way of examining your own thinking and behavioral patterns, you can develop greater awareness of them.
The other type of therapy most often recommended for adults with ADHD is family or couples therapy. Because ADHD can strain relationships, these types of therapies can help both the person with ADHD and their loved ones develop a better understanding of the condition and come up with coping strategies together.
If you’re struggling to get your ADHD under control, there is hope. Call any of our locations throughout the Greater Boston area or get in touch online today.