Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of adults worldwide. The prevalence of ADHD is highly variable, ranging from as low as 1% to as high as nearly 20%. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than women. In India, around 1.6-17.9% of people suffer from ADHD.
ADHD includes symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Individuals find it challenging to focus on tasks, manage time efficiently, and control their impulses.
In adults, the symptoms may manifest differently than in children, making diagnosis challenging. Common signs of adult ADHD include forgetfulness, difficulty staying organised, impulsivity, and struggling to meet deadlines.
The disorder impacts the personal and professional aspects of a person’s life. Individuals find it hard to work on tasks such as paying bills on time, preparing presentations, finding their documents, and so on. People with ADHD also find it difficult to maintain relationships because of irritability, mood swings and forgetfulness.
The symptoms of ADHD are usually present since childhood, specifically within 12 years of age. To clinically diagnose someone with ADHD, they must have experienced the symptoms for at least 6 continuous months.
Common Types of ADHD
ADHD is of three main types:
Predominantly Inattentive Type
People with this type have trouble paying attention and staying focused. They easily get distracted, forget things, and find it hard to finish tasks.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
This type is all about being hyperactive and impulsive. People with this presentation struggle to sit still, interrupt others during conversations, and act impulsively without thinking.
This type is a mix of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It's the most common presentation in adults, and individuals may have difficulties with attention, restlessness, and impulsive behaviour.
Treatment for ADHD
Effective management of Adult ADHD involves a multi-faceted approach that combines behavioural therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication. The treatment plans help adults with ADHD manage their day-to-day lives better and improve their overall well-being:
Most often than not, what looks like a symptom of ADHD is actually a result of another underlying mental health disorder. Seeking a professional diagnosis and consulting a qualified mental health professional can be helpful in treating ADHD in adults. You can take an online ADHD assessment test that will help you seek help for ADHD treatment.
The mental healthcare professional will ask you questions such as:
- When did you start noticing the symptoms for the first time?
- Did you notice these symptoms in your childhood too?
- How are these symptoms affecting your personal and professional lives?
- How have these symptoms changed your relationships with people?
Learning about the disorder is the best way to empower individuals and their loved ones with the necessary skills. Psychoeducation helps individuals develop a better understanding of their challenges and provides insights into practical coping mechanisms as well.
In some cases, mental healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists, may recommend medications to manage ADHD symptoms effectively. There are two types of medications that help in the treatment of ADHD:
Stimulant medications: Methylphenidate and amphetamine-based drugs are the most commonly prescribed medications. They work by increasing levels of chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. Stimulant medications produce faster results, and individuals can feel the effect within 45 to 60 minutes.
Non-stimulant medications: Atomoxetine (Strattera), Guanfacine (Intuniv) and Clonidine (Kapvay) are the most common types of non-stimulant medications. It may take 5-7 days for the drugs to show results.
Medication helps in:
- Enhancing attention and focus
- Reducing hyperactivity
- Improving impulse control
The common side effects of ADHD medication include loss of appetite, body odour, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, and so on.
Your mental healthcare professional will only prescribe the medication when you consent to it. Remember that medication is a tool, not a cure for ADHD.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective way to help manage behaviour and revise cognitive distortions. It helps adults with ADHD identify negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to the symptoms of the disorder.
Therapy helps individuals learn coping skills that can improve their ability to focus, set goals, and manage impulses. Behavioural therapy also addresses emotional regulation and social skills that help adults cope with the symptoms of ADHD.
Skill Building and Coaching
Skill-building programs and coaching are another way to treat adults with ADHD. The programs mainly focus on enhancing executive functioning skills, such as planning, organisation, time management, and goal setting. A therapist works closely with individuals and provides them with personalised strategies and support to address specific challenges related to ADHD.
Making changes to your lifestyle is really important for managing ADHD symptoms. You can create a routine by using sticky notes and a calendar system to stay organised and plan your activities. Regular exercise can be a great way to improve attention and reduce hyperactivity.
Proper 6-8 hours of sleep is essential for optimal brain function and emotional regulation. A well-balanced diet, including foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients, can also support cognitive function.
Family therapy is a good way to find techniques and strategies to make daily tasks and activities manageable.
Joining support groups can be helpful. When you connect with others who have similar challenges, it gives you emotional support and makes you feel less isolated. You can share coping strategies and experiences with each other. If you are looking for a non-judgemental space, check this community out: Cancel Stigma.
Stress Management Techniques
Stress can be the worst trigger for ADHD symptoms. Mindfulness and deep breathing help manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve focus.
ADHD is a lifelong condition. It is important to have regular check-ups with mental health experts. These check-ups help track progress and adjust treatment plans.
The problem with regular offline follow-ups is that they are time-consuming and inconvenient. Online consultation, therefore, is a better option as you can connect with a psychiatrist or psychologist anywhere and at any time. It is not only time-saving but also more private and safe.
ADHD Treatment in India
In India, though awareness of adult ADHD is growing, there is still a stigma attached to mental health disorders. This leads to negative stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination and makes it difficult for individuals to seek treatment. Offline consultation is some people’s worst nightmare. In such cases, online therapy platforms like Rocket Health are emerging as a convenient and accessible solution to bridge the gap.
How Rocket Health India Can Help?
After the unexpected second COVID wave hit India in April 2021, Rocket Health was launched. Mental health issues were on the rise, with most individuals showing symptoms of depression, insomnia and anxiety. Seeking offline help was a challenge, and individuals needed a judgement-free and safe space. That was the time when individuals realised the importance of online consultation.
Our online therapy platform brings together qualified mental healthcare professionals who offer personalised treatment plans for mental health disorders, including ADHD. Our online assessment test helps individuals connect with the right psychologist based on their answers to the questions. Together, coping with ADHD becomes less challenging. Seeking the right help and support can make the process less difficult.
If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, don't wait to seek help. Take the first step today by taking the online ADHD assessment test and connecting with the right mental healthcare professional.
1. Stimulant vs non-stimulant ADHD medications - additude.
2. Sharma, P. et al. (2020) Prevalence and correlates of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) risk factors among school children in a rural area of North India, Journal of family medicine and primary care.