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SELF HELP SERIES: ADHD Misconceptions and Treatments

Updated: Jan 23

Come the Children to Me! Let me state up front that contrary to current diagnosis, I do not believe ADHD is a disorder. It is simply a different way of thinking. Perhaps it’s more like unbridled creativity. Given the choice, one might wanna be ADHD. It’s more like a blessing in disguise. But in today’s world of conformity, it sometimes is wise to manage it for periods of time. Let’s examine it more closely.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is hereditary, occurs in children and adults, can be experienced in varied degrees, is likely referred to as a psychological disorder. I say it is not a disorder, but rather a talent in disguise. ADHD persons are fun to be around, spontaneous, remarkably creative, and as smart as anyone. They can however, wear you out! They are busy. If you are bored, call up your ADHD friend and hang with them for a day. I guarantee it will be fun and memorable - and exhausting.

ADHD, albeit not really a disorder, carries with it the diagnostic nomenclature of either attention deficit non-hyperactive (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive (ADHD). ADHD persons could actually be said to have hyper-focus, that is they can actually focus better than others depending on their interests and intent. Think so? Well, it’s a fact that ADHD persons make excellent fighter pilots. Why? What would you guess? Because they have the ability to super-focus on intense things, like bogeys that if you don’t get that blip on your radar, they get you. Pretty good definition of intense and focus - Huh!

It tends to be called a disorder of childhood. Why? Because children have to sit in a boring desk, in a boring, non-creative, environment all day called school. Creativity is more or less stifled in school, except perhaps in art class. Sitting in a boring staff meeting is much like the classroom. Observe the exciting challenging changes being made in the modern day staff meetings to counter this. We are born with ADHD or not. Our environment creates the issues. Prescription medication can be an intermediary.

Ok. We know it’s heredity. We know it’s a talent, then why treat it? Simple. Because kids gotta sit in boring low creativity school all day or and adult has a boring staff meeting to attend. In either case, you gotta be sharp to succeed. So, with mild side effects, let’s look at the treatment of ADHD. In general ADHD is treated by your primary care physician (PCP), usually after a psychological evaluation to determine by standardized test, the degree or extent of the distractibility. The PCP will generally prescribe a medication, such as long acting Adderall PR (long acting) or Vyvanse (both are amphetimines. Medications rarely used anymore are: methylphenidate, Ritalin). If utilized, effective dosage should be re-tested by a psychologist and the prescribed medication strictly adhered to. More RX is NOT better! AMPHETIMES (referred to as “speed” on the street) can be misused and addictive when misused. ADHD medication should be controlled by the parents. For how long should ADHD medication be taken? The person will generally know when RX is no longer needed (Ask your doc about transitioning off ADHD meds). Generally, on school days (unless there’s a field day scheduled) and through high school, possibly college. Adults generally don’t need daily medication, only those work days that require focus. Or, I know many marriages saved by the husband taking 5 mg of Ritalin on his way home from work!

NOTE: Be aware of the misuse of ADHD medication in children and especially adults!

In treating ADHD, little psychotherapy is needed, save training the person to utilize self regulation and scheduled routines of study, etc. Learn techniques to stay focused on boring tasks. Remember ADHD is not a disorder and medication could stifle, say the creative writer, artist, poet, inventor.

Consider yourself lucky if you have ADHD. But be sure you get tested prior to taking a medication and again when on the medication, in order to determine if you are on the CORRECT dosage. More is not better when it comes to ADHD meds. The proper dosage window must be reached. Children generally take medication daily. Adults generally take medication for ADHD when their environment dictates it.

Get your head in the game. Take responsibility for yourself. Find a therapist that fits your needs and one who utilizes objective tests to determine proper dosage. And remember with proper test evaluation and understanding the mental aspects of managing ADHD, you can turn it into an advantage for you.

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