Understanding ADHD in adults
Adult ADHD is often misunderstood and overlooked, leading to individuals struggling with symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and disorganization. These symptoms can cause significant distress, affecting productivity and overall well-being. Despite the misconception that ADHD is exclusive to children, it is increasingly recognized as a prevalent condition in adults.
Common ADHD symptoms in adults include:
- Difficulty concentrating and sustaining focus.
- Impulsive behaviour and poor impulse control.
- Restlessness and an inability to sit still.
- Forgetfulness and disorganisation.
Understanding Combined type ADHD
Combined type ADHD is a neurobehavioral condition impacting both the brain and behaviour, exhibiting symptoms from both hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention categories. Diagnosing combined type ADHD follows criteria laid out by the DSM-5, necessitating the presence of five or more symptoms in each category for at least six months, with interference in daily functioning. Severity levels range from mild, with minimal impairment, to severe, causing significant disruptions at work, school, or in social settings.
In adults, combined type ADHD manifests through symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Inattentive symptoms include difficulty focusing, organisational challenges, and forgetfulness, while hyperactive-impulsive symptoms involve restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty waiting or staying seated. Recognizing these symptoms enables individuals to distinguish personality traits from ADHD-related challenges and prompts the development of effective coping strategies.
For women with combined type ADHD, the experience may come with unique challenges related to hormonal shifts, such as during menstruation or menopause. These changes can impact ADHD symptoms, warranting consideration and potential adjustments to the treatment plan. Ongoing communication with healthcare professionals is crucial for women managing combined type ADHD, ensuring a tailored and effective approach that addresses their specific needs and circumstances.
Treatment for Combined Type ADHD
A multimodal strategy, which may include medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and support, is commonly used to treat women with combined-type Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). To create a specialised treatment plan for ADHD, it's imperative to collaborate with a healthcare expert, preferably a psychiatrist or an ADHD clinic. An overview of a treatment program for women with combined ADHD is provided below:
1. Comprehensive assessment
- To confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other medical or psychiatric problems that can resemble ADHD symptoms, start with a complete assessment by a healthcare professional.
- To determine the effect of the woman's ADHD symptoms on her everyday life, including her relationships, career, and daily activities.
2. Medication Management
- Medication can be an important part of ADHD treatment. Stimulants (e.g., methylphenidate, amphetamine-based drugs) and non-stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine, guanfacine) are common ADHD treatments.
- Medication and dosage should be tailored to the woman's unique symptoms, preferences, and probable negative effects. Regular follow-up sessions are essential for monitoring drug efficacy and making any adjustments to the treatment plan.
- Individual therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can assist women with ADHD in developing coping strategies, improving time management and organising abilities, and addressing any emotional issues associated with ADHD.
4. Lifestyle Changes
- Education and self-help initiatives might be helpful. Women with ADHD can learn skills that help them better manage their daily routines, prioritise activities, and cut down on distractions.
- Creating consistent sleep habits, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity can all help with symptom management.
5. Education and Support
- Psychoeducation on ADHD can help women better understand their illness and lessen feelings of shame or stigma.
- Help from family, friends, or a support group may be extremely beneficial in controlling ADHD symptoms.
6. Hormonal Considerations
- During hormonal shifts, such as menstruation or menopause, some women may experience changes in ADHD symptoms. Discussing these trends with your doctor may result in changes to your treatment schedule or dose.
7. Mindfulness and Stress Management
- Mindfulness meditation and stress management techniques can assist women with ADHD reduce anxiety while also improving attention and impulse control.
8. Regular Follow-Up
- It is critical to schedule regular follow-up sessions with your healthcare practitioner in order to track progress, address any concerns or side effects, and make any required modifications to your treatment plan.
9. Thinking About Hormonal Birth Control
- The method of birth control used by women of reproductive age can have an influence on ADHD symptoms. Some hormonal contraceptives may aggravate symptoms, so consulting with a healthcare practitioner is essential.
Keep in mind that ADHD is a chronic disorder, and treatment approaches should be tailored to individual requirements and altered as needed over time. Furthermore, because women with ADHD may experience specific issues due to hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause, maintaining contact with a healthcare professional is critical for optimum management.
In summary, managing combined-type ADHD in women requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing comprehensive assessments, personalised medication plans, psychotherapy, lifestyle adjustments, and ongoing support. Recognizing ADHD as a chronic condition, the journey to optimal well-being involves regular follow-ups, adapting treatment plans, and fostering coping strategies.
For specialised care and support tailored to your unique needs, consider reaching out to Rocket Health. Our expertise can empower you on the path to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Take the initiative for a healthier future – contact Rocket Health today.
Causes: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (2021).
Table 7: DSM-IV to DSM-5 attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder comparison. DSM-5 changes: Implications for child serious emotional disturbance. (2016).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t3/
DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD. (n.d.).https://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/adhd_toolkit/adhd19-assessment-table1.pdf
How does an ADHD diagnosis affect self-esteem? (2019).https://chadd.org/adhd-weekly/how-does-an-adhd-diagnosis-affect-self-esteem/