ADHD in Adults: The Hidden Disorder Dr. Roland Rotz to speak at Santa Barbara chapter of CAMFT on Feb. 17
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults is often a hidden and overlooked disorder even among the most skilled clinicians. While professionals believed that children and adolescents would outgrow their symptoms of ADHD by puberty, recent research has shown that as many as 67% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as an adult that significantly interfere with education, careers, and relationships. Despite increasing awareness and education, many adults with ADHD remain unidentified and untreated. The prevailing symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and emotional ability are often obscured by difficulties with relationships, organization, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, employment, learning disabilities or other comorbid psychological problems. Although ADHD is a complex disorder to differentially diagnose, it is possible when given a more thorough understanding of the etiology, prevalence, and neurochemistry of ADHD. An accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. While there is no cure for ADHD, many adults learn to manage it quite successfully. For those who struggle with their symptoms, a multimodal approach to treatment is most helpful. Education is an important first step as self-knowledge is necessary in order to learn coping skills and develop mastery. Cognitive behavioral interventions often incorporate building a personal structure that is different from previous efforts. Time management and planning are essential skills that must incorporate a daily planner and task lists. Taking consistent and reliable actions are day-to-day strategies that not only improve the practical but also heal the grief of broken promises. Many collaborative interventions are also available when therapy calls for additional strategies. Interventions include working memory training, neurofeedback, coaching, meditation, support/training groups, career counseling, and medication. While adults with ADHD cannot be cured, they can remove the curse of broken promises. Their new lives can be built around the gifts of ADHD, like inspiration, intensity and immediacy.