Can ADHD be cured?
Is there a cure for ADHD? Can ADHD be treated? Can you grow out of ADHD? These might be just a few of the many questions that plague your mind after getting an ADHD diagnosis. Like many other mental conditions, ADHD does not have a cure. However, you can manage its symptoms with therapy, behavioural intervention, and meds. Let us take a closer look at the two most common treatment options for ADHD - medication and therapy.
Medication for ADHD
Apprehensive about taking psychiatric medications? Read this first!
Since ADHD is caused by certain mechanisms in your brain (for example, ADHD brains are not as receptive to dopamine as neurotypical brains are), medications to alter these are an important part of the treatment. These medicines can only be purchased with a prescription as the selling of most ADHD meds is highly regulated.
Listed below are the different types of medicines that can be prescribed for ADHD.
These are used to stimulate the uptake of brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine. While stimulants are not a permanent solution for ADHD, they help you function better by reducing hyperactivity and enhancing your attention span. They also help you concentrate better, be less impulsive, feel calmer, and learn and practise new skills. Some examples of stimulants are:
Methylphenidate may be offered - in varying dosages - to adults, teenagers and children over the age of 5 with ADHD. Lisdexamfetamine is sometimes offered as the first-choice drug for adults; it can also be prescribed to teenagers or children over the age of 5 with ADHD if at least 6 weeks of treatment with methylphenidate do not help.
Your doctor would closely monitor your dosage, starting with small doses at first and increasing it over time. Make sure you follow up with your psychiatrist regularly so that you are not taking the wrong kind or doses of medicines.
Remember that depending on your medication, you can experience side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. Stimulants are also appetite-suppressing meds, so make sure you check with your doctor if you need certain supplements on the side. Proper communication from your side is important, as the side effects will be monitored by your doctor and they will help you minimise and control any negative side effects.
If stimulants are nor working for you or have side effects that are hard to manage, your doctor can prescribe non-stimulant medications. While these do not work as fast as stimulants, their effect can last for up to 24 hours. Some non-stimulant meds are:
Atomoxetine is offered to both children and adults. It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), which blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine. This makes the chemical stay in your body for longer, which produces a calming effect. On the other hand, guanfacine is prescribed only to teenagers and children over 5, but not adults with ADHD.
These meds, again, can have some side effects, such as headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, nausea, vomiting, etc., which your doctor will help you manage.
Therapy for ADHD
Behavioural therapy focuses on observable behaviour and involves behaviour management. The most commonly used behavioural therapy technique is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing the way you think, so that the behaviour you associate with your thoughts also changes. This form of therapy is goal-oriented and focuses on changing negative patterns of thinking, which also helps with self-esteem. CBT teaches you healthy, effective coping mechanisms that can help manage ADHD symptoms better.
This works for both children and adults. ADHD brains can get overwhelmed easily and hyperactivity might make things worse. Relaxation techniques help manage stress. They also ensure deep and sound sleep, which is something many people with ADHD struggle with.
Family training and education programmes
Parenting skills are not a cause behind ADHD but can aid in better management. Families with a better understanding of the disorder help them support their children. Parenting techniques such as rewards, timeouts, and relaxation can help both parents and children. This way, parents can prevent their children from tackling overstimulating situations instead of forcing them to behave neurotypically.
Social skills training
Sometimes, kids with neurodevelopmental disorders lack critical social skills due to impulsivity and hyperactivity. Social skills training involves roleplays and other strategies that teach them to behave more effectively.
Several disorders can get misdiagnosed as ADHD and vice versa. This can worsen your symptoms and stand in the way of you accessing the required treatment. That is why it is important to get a proper ADHD assessment if you feel you might be suffering from it. While the process can be difficult and lengthy, organisations like Rocket Health have made it easier for you to access a comprehensive treatment plan, which includes the assessment, therapy, and medication. Get started by clicking the button below!