FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Dec 3, 2015
2015

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common childhood brain disorder which can persist through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, a struggle to control behavior and hyperactivity, making it hard for a child to do well in school or behave. Children and adults from all backgrounds can have ADHD.

In some cases ADHD is not diagnosed until later in life. Adult ADHD can cause significant problems that usually improve with treatment. For unclear reasons, females with ADHD are often overlooked as young girls and are not diagnosed until adulthood. Often a woman recognizes her own ADHD after her child receives the diagnosis and she sees similar patterns in herself.

Many adults with ADHD are unaware they have it and just assume everyday tasks are a challenge. Symptoms may include trouble concentrating, restlessness, impulsivity, difficulty completing tasks, disorganization, low frustration tolerance, mood swings, hot temper and trouble coping with stress. Difficulty focusing and prioritizing can cause missed deadlines and forgotten meetings and social plans. The inability to control impulses ranges from impatience when waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and bursts of anger.

ADHD has been linked to trouble with the law, problems at work, alcohol and drug abuse, unstable relationships, frequent accidents, financial stress, job hopping, poor physical health and low self-esteem. Although it does not cause other psychological or developmental conditions, certain disorders or learning disabilities often occur with ADHD. Many adults with ADHD have depression, bipolar disorder or another mood disorder. Anxiety disorder may cause overwhelming worry, nervousness and other symptoms. Associated personality disorders include borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. Adults with ADHD may score lower on academic testing than is expected for their age, intelligence and education.

The exact cause of ADHD is unclear. It often runs in families, and researchers found much of the risk of ADHD is genetic. Certain environmental factors can increase risk, as can problems with the nervous system at key moments in development. ADHD is complex, and a genetic diagnostic test is not available yet.

If you think you have ADHD symptoms, call your health care provider for an evaluation. Depending on the results, you may need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Because symptoms of ADHD differ in adults from those in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), criteria specific to adults are used to confirm diagnosis. Your doctor may give you a questionnaire with an expanded list of signs and symptoms and examine their impact on your current life, such as school or work performance and relationships with family and friends.

Research suggests a combination of medication, cognitive therapy and life coaching significantly improves the prognosis of adults with ADHD. Although not FDA-approved specifically for the treatment of ADHD, antidepressants are sometimes used. The antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin), which affects the brain chemical dopamine, shows benefits for adults with ADHD. Older tricyclic antidepressants sometimes are used because they affect the brain chemical norepinephrine. An adult with ADHD should discuss medication options with his or her health care provider, who will require an updated list of all medications the patient takes so no interactions occur.

Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, can help change one’s poor self-image by examining the experiences that caused it. The therapist encourages the adult with ADHD to adjust to the life changes that come with treatment, such as thinking before acting or resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks. Marital and family counseling can help loved ones cope with the stress of living with someone with ADHD.

ADHD coaching can supplement treatment. Coaches have frequent contact with clients and can help determine the success of medications or other treatments, providing observations and advice to help tailor treatment. ADHD coaching is not psychotherapy; some people work with a coach while also working with a therapist or counselor. Coaching sessions deal with what’s happening in the client’s life with emphasis on challenges, opportunities and strategies for success. Coaches provide support between sessions by email or phone, and some assign homework to help the client accomplish objectives in living with ADHD.

Many support groups are available and can be found online or through a therapist. Alternative medicine such as yoga, meditation and taking omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your stress and decrease symptoms. Other alternative medicine treatments such as special diets, excessive vitamin or mineral supplements, and herbal supplements are ineffective as treatment for ADHD.

Preventing exposure to environmental toxins like cigarette smoke in the womb and mercury, lead and pesticides before or after birth helps prevent ADHD. Being breastfed and having adequate nutrients like vitamins, zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide protection against developing ADHD. It is believed encouraging exercise in young children helps prevent ADHD by promoting neurological development.

For some adults, finding out they have ADHD is a big relief. Connecting ADHD to lifetime problems helps them understand they can get better.

Potential risks for ADHD

  • You have a blood relative with ADHD or other mental health disorder
  • Your mother smoked or used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy
  • Your mother was exposed to environmental poisons such as PCBs during pregnancy
  • You were exposed as a child to environmental toxins such as lead
  • You were born prematurely

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Newsletter sign-up

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Nov 13, 2019

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa Finalizes Renovation

One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.

Mexico awaits you!

Get to know Mexico with ONE FREE NIGHT With Fiesta Americana Get to know Mexico with the largest hotel company in the country, offering more than 185 options in the best city and resort destinations. Book at any of our hotels with the best available rate at the time of booking and get one night free.

November 2019
Nov 13, 2019

By Land and Sea

CRUISING HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY over the past century, first providing travelers with a means of transportation and then ushering in a new era that attracted leisure travelers looking for variety in the midnight buffets and activity on the shuffleboard courts. The new generation of cruisers takes cruising to an entirely new realm, where passengers split their time on and off the boat for an equal mix of time on the water and on the shore.

November 2019
Nov 13, 2019

Sip and Sail

IT IS IN THE NATURE OF THINGS we love to want to trace them to their beginnings. It is also in the nature of things we love to enjoy sharing them with others. Put the two together, add a ship, and that is what wine enthusiasts can expect on a wine cruise. Sail along historic rivers, disembark to visit wineries, walk the vineyards, taste the wines and later, on the ship, enjoy dinner with other wine lovers while sipping wines highlighting your meal. A wine-rich day ends with a peaceful night’s sleep as the ship sails on to tomorrow’s vinous treat.

Thessaloniki: Culture, Good Food and Shopping

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.

November 2019
Nov 13, 2019

Virtual Reality

TIME IS NOT ON THE SIDE of taxpayers who failed to report their Bitcoin and other virtual currency transactions to the IRS. The IRS recently announced it is sending letters to virtual currency owners who have not reported transactions on income tax returns. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers received these letters.

Feature
Nov 12, 2019

Finnair Adds Daily Tokyo Flights

Finnair will start daily flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on March 29, 2020. The new flights are on sale now.

Your Home Away From Home

Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.

News
Nov 12, 2019

Alaska Airlines Boasts New Pixar-Inspired Livery

Alaska Airlines recently debuted its new Pixar-inspired, special-edition aircraft livery. On both sides of the Pixar-themed Boeing 737-800 aircraft, travelers spot recognizable faces from the Toy Story franchise, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie. Rex the Tyrannosaurus appears on the boarding door and the little green aliens show up on the aircraft’s winglets.