Understanding ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
ADHD is a disorder that causes an individual difficulty in paying attention, constant bursts of energy, or impulsive behavior.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty in paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, family tension, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.
At Valley, we understand ADHD and how it affects both children and adults. We want you to know that hope and help are more accessible than ever and there’s a wide variety of ways to treat this common disorder and manage your symptoms.
Facts & Figures
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?
ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders. Symptoms differ for each child but can include inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Often this means that children will have difficulty sitting still, following directions, and finishing tasks.
Symptoms of ADHD always begin in childhood. Some people with ADHD display fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with their daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty in paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Many adults with ADHD aren’t aware they have it. They just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to concentrate and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience when waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.
Adult ADHD symptoms may include the following:
- Disorganization and problems in prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Difficulty focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
- Challenges in completing tasks
- Hot temper
- Trouble coping with stress
How is Valley Treating ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a very normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client that walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for in a comprehensive way within a solution-focussed approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved psychiatric medication as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained medical professional (e.g., psychiatrist, nurse practitioner) within a broad scope of long-term care.
Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.
While every client needs to be individually motivated in their treatment, one of the largest factors in successful care is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder):
The current evidence is inconclusive on whether omega-3 fatty acids provide any benefit for the symptoms of ADHD in children and adolescents. Some randomized controlled trials have conferred modest benefits in treating ADHD; however, omega-3 fatty acids are less efficacious than traditional stimulant medications for ADHD symptoms.
- Fish oil: Fish oil and fish are common sources of two of the three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids may affect the chemicals in your brain associated with mood disorders.
Exercise is generally classified as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy.
Melatonin: There is limited evidence from rigorous clinical trials on melatonin mitigating sleep disorders among young people with ADHD. A 2011 literature review suggested a beneficial effect on sleep disorders (when administered for four weeks), with minimal side effects, in healthy children as well as youths with ADHD. Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for both your physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what can be done.
Meditation & Yoga: There is not enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the efficacy of meditation for ADHD. However, short-term aerobic exercise, including yoga, has shown beneficial effects on core symptoms of ADHD such as attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Structure & Routine: Kids with ADHD respond well to structure, routine, and consistency. This is because ADHD directly affects the individual’s ability to regulate and structure their own behavior. Consistent external structure such as a regular schedule can help manage these symptoms.
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
Great Resources on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder
By Edward M. Hallowell MD & John J. Ratey MD
The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps
By Melissa Orlov
You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
By Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo
The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals
By Lidia Zylowska
Is It You, Me, Or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder
By Gina Pera
ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
By Judith Kolberg
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
By John J. Ratey
Smart but Scattered Teens: The "Executive Skills" Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential
By Richard Guare, Peg Dawson, Colin Guare
All Dogs Have ADHD
By Kathy Hoopmann
Cory Stories: A Kid's Book about Living with ADHD
By Jeanne Kraus
Learning to Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About ADHD
By Kathleen G. Nadeau & Ellen B. Dixon
Raising Your Spirited Child
By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Research shows that physical activity sparks real, positive changes in the brain that increase attention and improve mood. What’s more, exercise is an inexpensive, self-prescribed, and accessible supplemental treatment option for adults and children with ADHD. “Think of exercise as medication,” says John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “For …
Physical activity has short-term but powerful benefits for adults and kids with ADHD. It’s no surprise that exercise boasts many health benefits — but it may also help ease or even treat both child and adult ADHD symptoms. “Exercise can definitely help clear my head,” said Kerri Golding, an Atlanta resident who has personal experience living …
Mindfulness meditation is effective in treating adults with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. ADHD has an incidence of 4% in the adult population, and is often characterized by the inattention and hyper-activity-impulsivity displayed by patients. Adults with ADHD can also experience executive functioning deficits and emotion …
Research into the mysteries of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is booming. By early 2017, more than 31,000 research studies and papers had been published in medical journals about this most-common childhood mental disorder that now affects an estimated one in 12 kids and teens —and persists for one in 25 adults. Among the most recent are a …