ADHD is an abbreviation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects mostly children and adolescents. This complex disorder can cause one to have difficulties when it comes to paying attention, combined with inappropriate behavior (age-wise) and a state of permanent agitation. One might also have difficulties regulating his/her emotions, this is why it is important to manage ADHD or ADD quickly.
In general, the first signs of ADHD manifest themselves in small children, affecting their academic performance, home life, and various recreational activities. This condition is encountered in association with other mental health conditions (autism, learning & intellectual disabilities, anxiety) and substance abuse, especially in teenagers.
According to the latest statistics, there are over 50 million people worldwide suffering from ADHD. Of the people who receive this diagnostic during childhood, between 30 and 50% will continue to present similar manifestations as adults. The good news is that ADHD is a condition that can be successfully kept under control through adequate management. (R)
ADHD can also have a significant impact on college students. The most common problems include difficulties with time management, impulsivity, organization, and focus. These problems can lead to poor grades, missed deadlines, and conflict with roommates or professors. College students with ADHD may also struggle with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Table of Contents
- How does ADHD manifest itself?
- Inattentive ADHD vs ADHD?
- What are the causes of ADHD?
- How is ADHD diagnosed?
- How do you get tested for ADHD?
- Manage ADHD Symptoms & Time with CareClinic
- Medication Options for those with ADHD
- Managing ADHD without Medication
- How to Manage ADHD while pregnant
- How to manage executive dysfunction
How does ADHD manifest itself?
The manifestations of ADHD fall into two core symptoms – the first regards the lack of attention and the second one refers to hyperactive & impulsive behavior. 4
Lack of attention
A person who suffers from ADHD might have difficulties paying attention to details or staying concentrated on a particular task, especially if they have too many projects. They will also be unable to organize a task/activity, losing or forgetting things. Their attention span is considerably limited, with the slightest thing distracting them. They cannot follow a structure or complete a task that requires time & effort.
Hyperactive & impulsive behavior
The person in question might have difficulties standing still, finding reasons to move or engaging in inappropriate behaviors. They always seem as if they are filled with energy, seeking out trouble or a new source of stimulation. With no regard for consequences, they will interrupt other people or engage in risky behaviors.
Inattentive ADHD vs ADHD?
There are two types of ADHD: inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. People with inattentive ADHD have trouble paying attention and are easily distracted. They may seem disorganized or spacey and may not finish big tasks or follow through on instructions. People with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD are always moving and may talk excessively. They may be impulsive, which means they act without thinking. They may also have trouble sitting still or waiting their turn.
Most people with ADHD have symptoms of both types. But one type may be more pronounced than the other. For example, a child with inattentive ADHD may daydream in class and not pay attention to the teacher. A child with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD may fidget and talk out of turn.
What are the causes of ADHD?
In the majority of the cases, the causes of ADHD are not known. According to the latest research, scientists have incriminated a combination of factors (environmental, social, and genetic).
Is ADHD hereditary? The answer is yes. The condition can be inherited from one of the parents. Moreover, if a sibling already has the disorder, there are high chance that any new children in that family will suffer from that condition as well. The genetic predisposition has also been associated with ADHD which is present from childhood age to one adulthood.
Alcoholism and smoking during pregnancy increase the risk of ADHD in newborns. Premature or low-weight babies also face higher risks, as do socially isolated babies or those suffering from various infections. While diet doesn’t directly cause ADHD, it can worsen its symptoms.
Children who have been exposed to abuse of any kind, and living in a dysfunctional family, might develop ADHD. This condition is also seen in children with a reduced level of education, or in those who have been constantly pressured by their parents to excel from an academic point of view.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
In managing ADHD, a neurodevelopmental specialist will assess the child’s development, both with regard to his/her behavior and mental health. The main idea is to rule out other conditions or treatments that might contribute to ADHD-like manifestations.
The DSM V ADHD criteria (DSM 5) are used for this diagnosis, guiding the specialist toward the diagnosis of a disruptive behavior disorder. The specialist must take into account co-existing disorders, such as depression, anxiety or autism spectrum disorders. Additional investigations, such as EEG, might be used. The adult ADHD self-report scale might be useful for the diagnosis of this condition in people of adult age.
How do you get tested for ADHD?
To get tested for ADHD, find a therapist specializing in ADHD diagnosis. The therapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your development and suspected issues. You may also need to complete a self-report scale. Currently, no physical tests can diagnose ADHD.1
Manage ADHD Symptoms & Time with CareClinic
If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, the CareClinic app can be a valuable tool for tracking symptoms and managing time. The app can help you to set goals, monitor your progress, and stay on track. Here are some tips and coping strategies for using the CareClinic app to manage ADHD:
1. Start by creating a profile for yourself or your loved one. This will allow you to track symptoms and treatment history.
2. Use the symptom tracker on your electronic devices to document daily symptoms and track progress over time.
3. Use the calendar (physical or electronic devices) to schedule appointments, big tasks, and goals. You can use the CareClinic App or Google Calendar
4. Use the Medication Tracker to keep track of medication dosages and side effects, as well as receive electronic reminders.
5. Stay motivated by setting goals and tracking progress towards them with charts and logs and minimize distractions.
6. Share your profile with a trusted friend or family member to help them understand what you are going through.
7. Seek professional help if you are struggling to manage symptoms on your own.
The CareClinic app can be a valuable asset in the management of ADHD. By tracking symptoms and setting goals, you can take control of your condition and improve your quality of life.
Medication Options for those with ADHD
The medication commonly prescribed for ADHD falls into two categories, meaning stimulant and non-stimulant.
The stimulant medication represents the standard choice for short-term uses, contributing to an improvement of existent manifestations in the majority of the cases. One of the most often recommended drugs belonging to this category is Ritalin (methylphenidate), which stimulates the central nervous system and improves the neurotransmitters’ action in the brain. The drug can reduce the tendency towards risky behaviors and, thus, the risk of associated injuries. Common side effects include sleepiness, anxiety and weight loss.
The non-stimulant ADHD medication, as opposed to the stimulant category, does not improve academic performance. Straterra (Atomoxetine) is one of the non-stimulant drugs and a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, which is recommended for children over the age of six. Wellbutrin/Zyban (Bupropion) is another drug that targets not only ADHD manifestations but also depression (it is also a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).
A less preferred choice is Tenex (guanfacine), which brings down the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Catapres (Clonidine), another non-stimulant medication, should be administered with caution – when stopped abruptly, it can lead to symptoms of withdrawal.
Modern guidelines suggest reserving medication for severe cases in children, while for adults, it’s often the first treatment choice. Therapists and doctors must outline both the side effects and contraindications of ADHD medication. Constant monitoring is essential for both children and adults throughout the treatment period.
Administering the wrong dose of stimulant medication could lead to psychosis or mania. Periodic monitoring of long-term treatment is vital, including planned breaks to assess necessity and tolerance levels.
Exceeding recommended doses during long-term use of stimulant medication can result in addiction or dependence. Such medication should only serve as a short-term option. Leaving ADHD untreated poses a high risk for substance abuse and misconduct. (R)
Managing ADHD without Medication
Behavioral therapy, an effective tool against attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
A number of behavioral therapies are recommended for those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, especially those who exhibit less severe symptoms and are young in age. If you are interested in ADHD treatment without medication, you might consider cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy or neurofeedback (just to name a few).
During therapy, one might work on improving the ability to concentrate and pay attention to details, as well as on reducing or eliminating hyperactive & impulsive behaviors. In the case of children, parent training might be necessary as well, in order to reduce behavioral issues. For example, children who are non-compliant or oppositional might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.
The therapist might decide that training of social skills is necessary as well, as many people with ADHD have difficulties in this area. One will be encouraged to develop friendships with people who do not have this condition, as this can eliminate the risk of problems at a later age (such as engaging in criminal behavior or turning towards substance abuse).
Physical Exercise & Activity for Attention Deficit Disorder
Michael Phelps, the world-renowned swimming champion, is one of the many famous people with ADHD and living proof that physical activity can change your life for the better. Physical exercise, whether in the form of swimming, aerobics or other sports, can improve one’s behavior and help with attention, planning and self-esteem. There are countless other celebrities that have been diagnosed with ADHD and it should not be seen as a taboo diagnosis.
It has been determined that physical activity is beneficial for those with ADHD, especially for those battling the associated depression and anxiety. You might have heard about the ADHD dopamine connection – people who have this condition suffer from a reduced level of dopamine and other similar substances in their brains. Physical exercise can help, stimulate the brain to produce and release happiness hormones that will improve one’s behavior.3
Optimizing Your Diet
Experts recommend that children with ADHD eliminate foods containing preservatives, artificial coloring, and other harmful substances to possibly benefit from dietary changes. Supplements rich in fatty acids may also improve ADHD symptoms. Patients should undergo tests for infections or inflammations that could impair cognition. Additional tests could check for food sensitivities like gluten and sugar intake should be reduced.
For adults with ADHD, addressing nutritional deficiencies such as iron, iodine, and magnesium can affect symptom manifestations. These deficiencies can be corrected through diet or nutritional supplements. For medication alternatives, non-stimulant options exist, though they lack FDA approval for adult ADHD treatment in the United States.2
Keep a Bullet Journal
For a lot of people with ADHD, having a bullet journal can be immensely helpful in terms of organization and keeping track of important tasks. The beauty of a bullet journal is that it can be customized to fit each individual’s needs, meaning that no two journals will look alike. For people with ADHD, there are certain elements that can be included in a bullet journal that can be particularly helpful, such as:
- A daily to-do list: This can help you keep track of what you need to do each day and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
- A calendar: This can be used to track upcoming deadlines, appointments, or other important dates.
- A task list: This can be used to track longer-term projects or goals that you are working on.
- A notes section: This can be used for jotting down ideas, brainstorming, or anything else that you want to remember.
Including these elements in your bullet journal can help you stay organized and on top of your tasks, which can be a big help for people with ADHD. However, it’s important to remember that there is no one right way to use a bullet journal, so feel free to customize it to fit your own needs and preferences.
How to Manage ADHD while pregnant
If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with ADHD, it is important to manage your condition in order to stay healthy and have a successful pregnancy. Here are some tips on how to manage ADHD while pregnant:
- Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. It is important to take your medication as directed in order to maintain your health and avoid any potential complications.
- Get plenty of rest and exercise. Staying active and getting enough sleep will help you to maintain your energy levels and focus during pregnancy.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is important for all pregnant women, but it is especially important for those with ADHD. Eating nutritious foods will help you to maintain your health and avoid any potential complications.
- Avoid stress. Stress can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, so it is important to find ways to relax and reduce stress in your life.
- Keep up with your doctor’s appointments. It is important to keep up with your regular check-ups and prenatal care appointments in order to monitor your health and the development of your pregnancy.
How to manage executive dysfunction
Executive dysfunction is a general term that refers to problems with any of the complex cognitive processes that control and coordinate our behavior. These processes include planning, working memory, attention, flexibility, and inhibitory control. People with executive dysfunction often have difficulty completing tasks, may be very disorganized, and may act impulsively.
While executive dysfunction can occur in people of all ages, it is often seen in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning disabilities. Executive dysfunction can also be seen in people with autism spectrum disorder, brain injury, and certain psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia. If you or someone you know struggles with executive dysfunction, here are some tips to help manage the condition:
1. Understand what executive dysfunction is and how it affects daily life. This knowledge can help you develop more realistic expectations and goals.
2. Be patient and understand that it may take longer for tasks to be completed.
3. Work on one task at a time and break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.
4. Use organizational tools such as to-do lists, calendars, and reminders.
5. Create routines and stick to them as much as possible.
6. Seek help from a mental health professional if the symptoms are severe or interfere with daily life.
7. Take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing stress. Support groups and family members can be a source of help as well.
Executive dysfunction can be a challenge, but with understanding and effort, it can be managed. If you need help, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional for assistance.
Apps to Manage ADHD symptoms for Android and iPhone
If you are interested in managing ADD, either for yourself or a member of your family, you can trust CareClinic’s health app for this purpose. The application is free and available on different smartphone platforms, and there is also a web version that can be used.
Within the application, you will find an online diary that can be used to track the different symptoms and manifestations of ADHD. The application allows you to stay organized, keeping track of different therapies, medication plans, and other health-related information. You can use it to set up electronic reminders for medication intake and doctor/therapy appointments, thus ensuring the necessary adherence.
At the end of each month, you will be given a report, which can be used to assess your progress. The doctor or therapist can greatly benefit from this information, relying on the recorded data to adjust your treatment plan accordingly. For teenagers or adults, the application can serve as a personal diary, allowing you to record emotions, feelings, and thoughts about life with ADHD. Thus, it serves as an excellent tool for emotional release.
The application is constantly improved by a team of specialists so that it permits the effective management of a complex condition such as ADHD. It is a useful tool for students, children and parents alike, with a user-friendly interface.
You can trust it to monitor the behavior of your child and see how frequent his/her ADHD manifestations are. Last, but not least, it offers a simple way to keep track of every medication or therapy recommended To get started managing ADHD with CareClinic, begin by signing up for free by clicking here.