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  • Writer's pictureGurprit Ganda

How Psychotherapy Can Help People With Adult ADHD

Updated: Jun 13

Psychotherapy for Adult ADHD

About 4% of adults have ADHD, and if you have it, you might constantly struggle to keep up with life's demands. You might be feeling overwhelmed, having trouble focusing on tasks, procrastinating more than you want, or even feeling like a failure. If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone and there is help available. Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for ADHD in adults. It can provide support, guidance, and tools to help you manage symptoms and live a fuller life.


Adult getting assessed for ADHD by a psychotherapy

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties with concentration, attention and impulse control which impact on the person’s day-to-day life.


Signs of Adult ADHD


There are a number of signs that can indicate that an adult has ADHD. These include difficulties with organization and time management, impulsiveness, forgetfulness, and restlessness. ADHD in adults can be diagnosed by a mental health professional using criteria from the DSM-5. According to DSM-5 the criteria for diagnosing ADHD in adults is:


  1. Having at least five symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity that have persisted for at least six months and that are inconsistent with the individual’s developmental level

  2. Some symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 12 years

  3. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at work and at home)

  4. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning

  5. The symptoms are not only present during a psychotic disorder and are not caused by anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, or a learning disability.


6 Signs you have ADHD

Screening for Adult ADHD in Individuals


You can screen individuals for Adult ADHD using World Health Organisation (WHO) developed screener “Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)”. The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS v1.1) is an 18-item self-report questionnaire designed to assess Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in adults (18+). The scale is based on the WHO's Composite International Diagnostic Interview (2001). The questions are similar to the DSM criteria, but have been adjusted to better describe symptoms in adults.


Diagnosing Adult ADHD in Individuals


Adult ADHD can be diagnosed using Connor's Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS) , which is a widely used assessment tool for evaluating ADHD symptoms in adults. The CAARS consists of several subscales that assess different aspects of ADHD, including inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and impairment in daily functioning. It is administered through self-report questionnaires and can provide valuable information for clinicians in making a diagnosis and developing an appropriate treatment plan.


Psychotherapy for Adult ADHD


Once you know that you have Adult ADHD, you can do a number of things to alleviate the symptoms and get your life in order. One of the effective treatments for Adult ADHD is psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. In psychotherapy, individuals can explore and address the underlying issues and challenges related to their ADHD symptoms in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Additionally, therapy can help individuals develop effective coping strategies, improve time management skills, and enhance self-esteem.


In particular, psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have shown promising results in managing Adult ADHD symptoms. CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, helping individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms and improved problem-solving skills. By targeting specific ADHD-related challenges, such as impulsivity and distractibility, CBT can empower individuals to better manage their symptoms and navigate daily life more successfully.


Other Measures That Are Effective Along with Psychotherapy


Besides psychotherapy, time management and self-care strategies are important to manage Adult ADHD. Implementing effective time management techniques, such as breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and setting specific deadlines, can greatly improve productivity and reduce feelings of overwhelm. Additionally, prioritizing self-care activities, such as exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep, can enhance overall well-being and help individuals better cope with the challenges associated with Adult ADHD.


Taking care of your circadian rhythm by establishing a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine or screens before bed can also significantly improve symptoms of ADHD and promote better focus and attention during the day. Maintaining a healthy sleep routine is crucial for managing ADHD symptoms and supporting overall well-being.


Conclusion


Living with ADHD as an adult can be a daily struggle, but it's not a sentence to a life of feeling overwhelmed and stuck. With the right support and guidance, you can learn to manage your symptoms and unlock your full potential. Through psychotherapy, you can gain the tools and strategies needed to overcome procrastination, improve your focus, and regain control over your life. Remember, you are not alone and there is hope for a better tomorrow. At Potentialz Unlimited, we are committed to helping you thrive and live a more fulfilling life. Take the first step towards a brighter future by reaching out to us today and discovering how our expert therapists can help you overcome the challenges of ADHD and unlock your full potential.

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