How would you know if you have adult ADHD? It can be confusing, because there are a thousand potential contributors to ADHD type symptoms, including trauma. Symptoms of trauma can often mimic the symptoms of ADHD. Oftentimes, people with ADHD also have trauma in their past that they must deal with first before their symptoms of ADHD can be addressed. At the Adult ADHD Counseling Center of Sacramento, potential clients will be assessed to determine all the confounding factors which must be addressed concurrently, before and/or after treatment of ADHD symptoms. This being said, here are the official requirements for attaining an ADHD-related diagnosis, according to the DSM-5, the psychiatric manual which attempts to standardize and define all mental health diagnoses.
Symptoms of inattention
Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity
What do you all think about the DSM V qualifications for an ADHD diagnosis? Do you agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Reference: American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition Edition, Washington D.C., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
One of the most difficult to deal with symptoms of ADHD is our ability to lose track of things. Not just physical objects, but to lose track of ourselves, our goals, our needs, our wants ---- our purpose.
1.) See a Therapist/Counselor to Hold You Accountable. One of the advantages of psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in particular to treat ADHD is that regular checking in with a qualified Counselor can help to keep you on track and consistently remind you why you are coming, what your goals are, etc. At the Adult ADHD Counseling Center of Sacramento, a mix of strategies are utilized with our clients, including Evidenced-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies.
People with ADHD oftentimes thrive when they are held accountable by someone supportive, and your therapist will serve at least in the beginning as this support person. Your therapist will then brainstorm with you who else in your life can serve as a support person/coach, so that you can start adding external consistency to your life. We all need to fake it till we make it sometimes, and people with ADHD often need initial support in their lives in order to internalize this structure and be able to catch themselves when they get off track.
2.) Stay Organized. One great way to stay on track is to stay organized, which is obviously much easier said than done. Your Counselor can assist you in making small goals to stay organized.
3.) Read. It helps to learn about Adult ADHD through great books such as ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, PhD, and how it can impact your life. Once again your Counselor or other support person can help to hold you accountable and ensure that you are on track to complete the reading goals you set for yourself.
Learning about certain concepts such as willpower and motivation can also help with the battle against certain ADHD symptoms. There are many great books about how to increase willpower and motivation such as 100 ways to motivate yourself by Steve Chandler, and The Willpower Instinct by Kelly Mcgonigal.
4) Structure, Structure, Structure. Adults with ADHD tend to thrive with structure. For example, when I have the day off with nothing scheduled on my calendar, I'll tend to just drift aimlessly throughout the day, not accomplishing much, but when I know I have something on my calendar, it anchors my day and provides the structure I need to then schedule things around my anchor. There are many other ways to add structure to one's life, which is discussed here at the Adult ADHD Counseling Center of Sacramento.
5.) Learn and Practice other Coping Strategies. There are practically limitless strategies to cope with ADHD, its a matter of faking it till making it, and your support person can assist in this process.
6.) Identify and Deal with Contributors to Symptoms. If there are other contributors to ADHD symptoms, like if you are depressed, have experienced trauma, or are anxiety prone, these contributors MUST be identified and addressed in order to make satisfactory progress with your ADHD goals.
Hopefully you are convinced that enlisting a support person such as a Counselor/Therapist in the beginning is vital to the process of overcoming the negative impact of your Adult ADHD symptoms. Best of luck to you!