Conventional Adult ADHD Treatment - Discussion

This article provides a short overview on adult ADHD treatment, mainly from a conventional perspective.

The treatments available for adults with ADHD are not entirely different than those used to treat children. Medication is often the primary consideration when one is diagnosed with this disorder, and indeed, it is required for a number of people.

However, it is best to make every effort to address the issues an individual is experiencing on a behavioral level before resorting to pharmacological means, as the best treatment for ADHD is one that combines behavioral and pharmacological therapy.

Behavioral Therapy

The choice to first treat the behavioral aspects of ADHD plays a fundamental role in the goal of controlling the disorder, thereby significantly reducing ADHD's interference with daily life. There are extensively varied techniques to accomplish behavioral remediation with respect to ADHD.

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A note about Conventional Adult ADHD Treatment - Discussion

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One approach for this area of adult ADHD treatment is to engage the individual in cognitive and behavioral therapy to enhance self-esteem and sense of control over their ADHD behaviors. Relaxation training and stress management education also can help to reduce anxiety and stress.

Another option that has been helpful for this part of adult ADHD treatment is to participate in some type of coaching program; behavioral coaching and job coaching are both appropriate choices in this arena. Family education and therapy has also been successful in addressing the issues individuals with ADHD experience.

On a less structured level of adult ADHD treatment, it is possible to alter one's ADHD-related behaviors through self-help. Emphasis on awareness of one's habits and limitations is important, as are goal-setting, and positive self-talk. The development of an understanding of one's environmental triggers can begin to alter the cognitive mechanisms that lead to severe issues with ADHD.


For many people, ADHD is severe enough to warrant the need for a prescription medication. Generally speaking, stimulant medications are the starting place for people beginning to medicate this disorder. Some of the most popular stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD are methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), and dextroamphetamine compounds (Adderall).

The mechanism of action of stimulant drugs in those with ADHD is rather counterintuitive, as one would tend to think a stimulant would exacerbate hyperactivity. However, the underlying concept is that people with ADHD have an under stimulated central nervous system (CNS) that causes inattention and hyperactivity. Thus, stimulants counteract the need for the CNS to seek stimulation, thereby reducing the manifestations of this urge that characterize ADHD.

In recent years especially, tricyclics and other drugs that act upon certain neurotransmitters have become increasingly popular in the treatment of ADHD. In particular, Atomoxetine (Strattera) is approved for the treatment of ADHD, and certain antidepressants are used in off-label treatment of the disorder.

The decision of which medication to use in adult ADHD treatment, if one is deemed necessary, requires in-depth analysis of a person's medical history, lifestyle, and the severity of the disorder. However, it should be noted that with thorough follow-up, medications have proven to be rather remarkable in their capacity to reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Adult ADHD is an extremely pervasive condition that requires comprehensive treatment tailored to the individual's subjective experience with the disorder. Often, when an ADHD diagnosis is made, the first step is to prescribe a medication, and the behavioral aspects of the disorder are neglected.

It is important for adult ADHD treatment plans to address both the physiological and psychological facets of ADHD. Luckily, there exists such a variety of treatments today that one is certain to find a combination that addresses their individual issues in a helpful and lasting manner.

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