ADHD Counseling for Adolescents and Adults

ADHD Counseling for Adolescents and Adults

Counseling to Help You Find Balance

Finding success with ADHD/ADD is a big process of tuning your life. Some of the things we can help with are mindfulness, medications, nutrition, exercise, improved stress management tools, sleep, and more.

Personal Experience

Personal experience allows us to help others find the right methods that will help them manage their ADHD. We understand how it affects peoples lives, relationships, and work experience. Through this they have developed a deep understanding of the gifts and frustrations of life with ADHD.

Collaborative Care

Just Mind takes a comprehensive approach that connects your therapist with your medical team. We collaborate with coaches, nutritionists, organizers and neurofeedback practitioners who specialize in the management of adult ADHD and adolescent ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is characterized by distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness or hyperactivity. Considered a neurological condition, it is genetically transmissible. Symptoms are present from childhood on however some symptoms such as inattentiveness, may be more prominent in girls than in boys. The intensity of symptoms falls on a spectrum. Symptoms can worsen due to a variety of influences like hormonal changes or stress. They can also improve with regular fitness and adequate sleep.

ADHD is considered a disability primarily because of the impact the condition can have on executive functioning which we rely heavily upon to succeed in today’s society. For example, neurons in the prefrontal region of the frontal lobe are involved in processes such as planning, integrating information, modulating behavior and emotional responses and prioritization. People with ADHD CAN focus sometimes to a fault, and a fair number are not hyperactive.

Diagnosis is primarily made by a thorough interview and determining whether specific ADHD symptoms have been present throughout one’s history. In establishing a proper diagnosis, it is also important to address whether other conditions may be present such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and learning disabilities. Sometimes a neuropyschological evaluation can be helpful as a tool to aid in the diagnosis of conditions.

ADHD Treatment

We like to use the Hallowell Method in formulating a well-rounded ‘treatment’ program. Dr. Hallowell is a leading expert in the field of ADHD and author of landmark books on the topic such as Delivered from Distraction. The Hallowell Method is a positive, strengths based approach which is comprehensive. The program addresses:

  1. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis taking into account the likelihood of coexisting problems
  2. Education and self-awareness
  3. Achieving a healthy lifestyle
  4. Creating external structure
  5. Counseling of some kind like coaching
  6. Non-medicinal therapies such as LENS, a special form of neurofeedback and supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids
  7. Pharmaceutical intervention

Types of ADD/ADHD

There are three variations of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are strongest in an individual. These descriptions are taken from the CDC:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
  • Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.

Diagnosis

ADD/ADHD in Adults

If you have exhibited at least twelve of the following behaviors since childhood and if these symptoms are not associated with any other medical or psychiatric condition, consider an evaluation by a team of AD/HD professionals:

  • A sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’s goals (regardless of how much one has actually accomplished).
  • Difficulty getting organized.
  • Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started.
  • Many projects going simultaneously; trouble with follow through.
  • A tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark.
  • A frequent search for high stimulation.
  • An intolerance of boredom. Easy distractibility; trouble focusing attention, tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or conversation, often coupled with an inability to focus at times.
  • Often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent
  • Trouble in going through established channels and following “proper” procedure.
  • Impatient; low tolerance of frustration.
  • Impulsive, either verbally or in action, as an impulsive spending of money.
  • Changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans and the like; hot-tempered.
  • A tendency to worry needlessly, endlessly; a tendency to scan the horizon looking for something to worry about, alternating with attention to or disregard for actual dangers.
  • A sense of insecurity.
  • Mood swings, mood lability, especially when disengaged from a person or a project.
  • Physical or cognitive restlessness.
  • A tendency toward addictive behavior.
  • Chronic problems with self-esteem.
  • Inaccurate self-observation.
  • Family history of AD/HD or manic depressive illness or depression or substance abuse or other disorders of impulse control or mood.

Clinical Definition of ADD/ADHD

The following are some of the criteria for diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for ADD/ADHD, which is the standard reference among mental health professionals. While this definition is not perfect, I include it as it is the most commonly accepted definition.

DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD

  • Either A or B:
    • Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is inappropriate for developmental level:

      Inattention

      • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
      • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
      • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
      • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
      • Often has trouble organizing activities.
      • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
      • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
      • Is often easily distracted.
      • Is often forgetful in daily activities.
    • Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

      Hyperactivity

      • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected.
      • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
      • Often excessively runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
      • Often has trouble playing or doing leisure activities quietly.
      • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
      • Often talks excessively.
      • Impulsivity
      • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
      • Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
      • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
  • Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
  • Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).
  • There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
  • The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, via the CDC

Want to Learn More About ADHD?

Below are some posts on ADHD that may be helpful to you in your quest to learn more for yourself or those you love.

Blog posts on ADHD

Curious If You Have ADHD?

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