Taking into account the difficulties that these adults find in their daily life, for much of them the simple fact of having a clear diagnosis and therapeutic orientation subsequent to the evaluation, is already a source of relief. This relief comes from the liberation of guilt generated by a coherent explanation to these inner feelings and that they didn`t know how to face. Release of guilt allows to improve self-perception and increases self-esteem, which is one of the keys to the treatment.
There are diverse therapeutic approaches that may help these persons manage the described symptoms. First thing usually done is psychoeducation, i.e. facing the disorder by means of transmitting information from the specialist to the diagnosed adults and their family members, regarding the nature of the disorder and treatment, and offering framework to improve the transmission of the emotions that go with the symptoms and a better global communication with others. This ends up being the creation of a more positive environment in the family, this first step, creates a base of trust over which construct the whole recovery process, the foundations of a new approach towards life, which may need some time to adapt to the needs of every person. Later, there will have to make some adjustments in the settings in which symptoms are more evident.
Much of these people show problems at work. In this cases, it is usually very effective to have a psychotherapeutic intervention that allows a “coaching” in which the working conditions can be adjusted to the patient`s needs. In some settings it helps to raise awareness in the patient’s closest people, similarly as done with family. If your workmates and/or boss is aware that you are “slower paced” or “quick but scatterbrained” than the rest being allowed the same time, relay on the fact that that spare time will allow them to do their job well, then probably the working relation will improve. Adopting practical strategies that allow to prioritize important things (lists, reminders in different places, alarms in certain moments, completion of a time-defined plan for different sequences, etc) can be very helpful. Other type of possible intervention may be introspective therapy, that allows to face daily difficulties, trying to recognize patterns that repeat in maladjusted ways through lifetime, trying to find an explanation that allows to substitute them with more adaptive patterns through listening techniques, clarification, confrontation, interpretation, etc. other intervention can focus on the moment, the “here and now”, to try to address the concrete difficulties, as with cognitive-behavioral therapies. Or focusing on a specific aspect of life in interpersonal therapies, such as interpersonal relationships to help manage interaction with others. Also, a more cognitive perspective aimed to change ideas that have persisted through years, which are assumed true and sometimes come from distorted learning or traumatic experiences, may help to bring forth a new approach to minimize the suffering. There are a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches that may help these people, and each case will have a specific treatment. We have mentioned only some of the options more commonly used, which doesn`t mean there are no other interesting ones, and the specialist is who can better determine the one that best suits each person.
Obviously, adults may benefit from the use of the pharmacologic treatment used in younger people, as methylphenidate in different forms, amphetamine salts and atomoxetine, just the same that in children and adolescents, adjusting the dose to weight and features of each person. For more serious cases, comparative research on different treatments, say that the best way to improve symptoms of ADHD is the combination of medication and therapy. In minor cases, the use of the measures already mentioned should be enough.
In many cases it will be necessary to treat some ADHD complications, such as mood, anxiety, insomnia, substance abuse, substance abstinence, etc. in this case the treatment must be oriented by the specialist in a personalized way and the use of anxiolytic medication, anti-depressants, etc, might be necessary. As we already mentioned, , there are a variety of aspects in social, academic and vocational behavior as in interpersonal behavior that may be attended by the specialist making adjustments aimed to minimize each persons` defects and promote his virtues. Many adults with ADHD can have a happy and productive life.
In summary, some common components in adult treatment for ADHD include:
- Self-Assessment: personal reflection, consultation with family and friends, physician or psychologist, etc.
- Consult with a psychiatrist.
- Psychoeducation and adjustments in daily life: making lists, set up routines, professional orientation...
- Other psychotherapies and support groups.
- Medication + therapy.
- » ADHD in adults
- » Diagnosis
- » Treatment
- » The special case of ADHD parents of a child with ADHD