I Think I Have ADHD–How to Get an ADHD Diagnosis & Treatment
“I Think I Have ADHD” – How to Get an ADHD Diagnosis & Treatment
Do you have trouble getting organized or completing tasks? Do you misplace your keys, forget to return phone calls, or miss appointments? When you are out with friends, do you find it hard to follow the conversation, or do your friends complain that you frequently interrupt them?
These situations can be frustrating and even upsetting, leaving you to wonder, “what is wrong with me?” It is possible that you may have adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that is both easily diagnosed and treated. ADHD is a common mental disorder affecting approximately 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults. Common symptoms of adult ADHD include inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Do You Have ADHD or Something Else?
Have you found yourself saying “I think I have ADHD?” Maybe you are simply tired and forgetting things? Or, you have too much on your mind, making it easy to lose track of all the things you have to do. Maybe you just procrastine.
It’s true: we all drag our feet from time to time. This is normal procrastination and is temporary. However, if your tendency to procrastinate has you not completing tasks that most of your co-workers or peers seem to easily complete, it could be more serious.
There are also several other conditions that can be easily confused with ADHD, so it's important to get evaluated and diagnosed by a qualified professional. If you’re seeking a professional diagnosis, it has never been easier. Start by taking our free 2-minute online ADHD test; if indicated, you’ll be connected with a medical professional for an official diagnosis and start getting treatment for your symptoms.
Conditions that Can Be Confused with ADHD
The signs and symptoms of ADHD can be seen in several other medical conditions. Medical professionals need to distinguish adult ADHD symptoms from those of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. A medical professional who is more familiar with anxiety and depression than with ADHD might be unconsciously biased to diagnose patients with those disorders, which can lead to misdiagnosis and delays in the appropriate treatment.
Additionally, patients who have a history of any one of the following conditions may also present with ADHD-like symptoms, including hyperactivity, distractibility, impulsivity, and inattention.
Learning disabilities can make it hard for someone to learn new skills quickly and can be mistaken for the person lacking focus and attention.
Seizure disorders (petit mal) can make someone appear zoned or spaced out. This can be mistaken for the inattentiveness of ADHD.
Sleep apnea, a cause of sleep-disordered breathing, can result in hyperactivity.
Hearing and vision problems may cause someone to appear inattentive or hyperactive and fidgety.
Thyroid disorders can cause symptoms such as an inability to concentrate or memory problems.
Lead poisoning can lead to inattention and actual ADHD.
Hypoglycemia may cause someone to become aggressive and hyperactive.
Patients exhibiting ADHD-type symptoms should be carefully evaluated for these other conditions to ensure that they receive the correct medical diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of ADHD in Adults
The symptoms of adult ADHD are varied and fall into two general categories: those associated with hyperactivity and impulsivity and those associated with inattention and distractibility. Individuals are described as having either hyperactive-dominant ADHD or inattentive-dominant ADHD. Some individuals with adult ADHD will have a combination of both types of symptoms.
Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD Symptoms.
Individuals with hyperactive-dominant ADHD will frequently exhibit five to six of the following symptoms:
Fidgeting, foot or finger tapping, squirming in their seats
Playing with or touching objects, even when it interferes with task at hand
Inability to stay seated
Talking frequently without pausing
Talking loudly over people, disrupting conversations by interrupting others
Blurting out answers
Impatient, having difficulty waiting their turn
Inattentive/Distractible ADHD Symptoms
Individuals with inattentive-dominant ADHD will frequently exhibit five to six of the following symptoms:
Inability to pay close attention
Trouble listening for extended periods of time
Trouble following and staying engaged in conversations
Trouble completing tasks
Difficulty staying organized (messy)
Forgetful (losing keys, missing appointments)
Avoid tasks that require sustained attention (filling out forms)
How to Find Treatment for Adult ADHD
If you have been struggling with symptoms of ADHD and are ready to seek help, you will need to find a qualified medical provider. A medical provider familiar with ADHD will diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan.
Through Klarity, you can see a licensed medical provider in your state and, if indicated, get prescribed medications for ADHD online.
How to Find the Best ADHD Doctor
When searching for an ADHD doctor, you want to find a licensed medical professional with experience diagnosing and treating ADHD. Despite the high prevalence of adult ADHD, this condition is often unrecognized by medical professionals who are less familiar with the diagnosis. This is particularly true for women with ADHD.
Online ADHD Treatment for Adults
Klarity makes online treatment for ADHD by a licensed medical professional convenient, affordable, and easily accessible. Treatment providers on Klarity have years of experience treating ADHD patients and are available to help you. If you are saying “I think I have ADHD” and want to know for sure, you can start by taking our free 2-minute online ADHD test.
What Are the Treatments for Adult ADHD?
Treatments for adult ADHD can include oral medications, psychological counseling, and coaching on stress and time management. Often the most effective treatment will involve a combination of approaches intended to reduce symptoms and help you to live with the disorder.
There are many effective medications available to treat ADHD. Choosing the right medication depends on a careful medical evaluation of an individual’s specific ADHD symptoms.
Stimulant ADHD Medications
Long considered the first line therapy for ADHD, stimulant medications are the most widely used ADHD medications and can help you focus, pay attention for longer periods of time, and reduce impulsivity. Stimulants work by increasing levels of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. These neurotransmitters are associated with attention, movement, motivation, and emotion and can help increase focus while decreasing impulsivity. Popular stimulant ADHD medications include:
Adderall - FDA-approved to treat both ADHD and narcolepsy. It is also used to treat symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Vyvanse - prescribed by healthcare providers to combat two conditions: ADHD and binge eating disorder (B.E.D.).
Ritalin - primarily used to treat ADHD, but it is also known to treat narcolepsy (falling asleep during the day). Ritalin can help individuals maintain focus and better control behavioral issues.
Concerta - indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is an extended-release stimulant.
Jornay PM - a once-a-day medication that is prescribed to treat ADHD; it differs from other once-a-day ADHD medications in that it is taken in the evening rather than in the morning.
Adhansia XR - an FDA approved medication for the treatment of ADHD. It is an extended release medication and is available in higher doses than some of the other medications in its class.
Non-Stimulant ADHD Medications
Non-stimulant ADHD medications work on different chemical pathways in the brain from those targeted by the stimulant class of ADHD medications. Non-stimulant medications are often prescribed when an individual cannot tolerate stimulants due to side effects. This class of ADHD medications can take 6-8 weeks to take effect and begin to relieve ADHD symptoms. They include the following:
Strattera - used to treat ADHD in children and adults. It is generally better tolerated than the stimulant medications.
Intuniv - indicated for the treatment of ADHD. It may be prescribed by itself as a monotherapy, or it can be used as an additional, or adjunctive, medication in combination with a stimulant medication.
Qelbree - an FDA approved, extended release non-stimulant medication used in the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents.
Other Medications Used to Treat ADHD
Other medications used to treat ADHD include high blood pressure medications such as Catapres and Tenex, and antidepressants, including Wellbutrin and tricyclic antidepressants. Medical professionals prescribe these medications when patients cannot tolerate the more common stimulant and non-stimulant medications described above.
How Do Antidepressants Affect ADHD?
Similarly to the stimulant medications, antidepressant medications work to raise your brain’s levels of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in increased focus and decreased impulsivity. While the way in which antidepressants work in ADHD is similar to that of the stimulant class of drugs, they are generally not as effective.
Talk Therapy for ADHD
Often, the most effective treatment of adult ADHD involves using oral medications in combination with some type of counseling, or “talk therapy.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that irrational thoughts and emotions can result in damaging behaviors. In the case of ADHD, thoughts such as, “if this is not perfect, it is no good” or “if I cannot finish this, I am worthless” can lead to an individual becoming anxious or depressed. This in turn can make it even harder for the individual to start tasks or complete them. CBT helps one recognize that these thoughts are irrational and not true before feelings of anxiety or depression can take hold. CBT teaches a person to replace such thoughts with more realistic ones.
Marriage & Family Counseling
If you are suffering from ADHD symptoms, your symptoms are likely affecting your spouse and/or other family members. Studies suggest that up to 60% of couples living with ADHD report significant stress and strain in their relationship. The divorce rate is nearly twice as high for adults living with ADHD.
Furthermore, parenting with ADHD can present households with additional challenges. Keeping your homelife in order, maintaining and implementing discipline, and dealing with the stresses of raising a child can all be exacerbated by untreated parental ADHD. A marriage and family counselor who is well versed in the concerns and issues that arise in a family dealing with ADHD can help set up realistic expectations and provide guidance that can ease family life.
Who Can Diagnose ADHD in Adults?
If you suspect that you may have ADHD, the first step is to have a diagnostic evaluation performed by a licensed health professional. It is important to find a professional who is familiar with diagnosing and experienced in treating patients with ADHD. These professionals include:
Physicians (MD or DO) in several specialities, including neurology, psychiatry, family medicine, and pediatrics, will be able to diagnose and prescribe medications for adult ADHD.
Psychologists (PHD or PsyD) can diagnose ADHD and may recommend oral medications; however, they will not be able to prescribe medication.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) can diagnose and prescribe medication to treat ADHD.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) are qualified to do an initial assessment for ADHD, but will refer to physicians, psychologists, or psychiatric mental health practitioners for more extensive evaluation and treatment.
Contact Klarity to Schedule Your ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment Within 48 Hours
If after reading this article you are saying “I think I have ADHD” and you need help determining whether you indeed suffer from the disorder, get help on Klarity. Licensed mental health practitioners will diagnose your symptoms online and send the signed evaluation note to you right after your visit, which you can use for school or work.
To speak with an ADHD specialist, and to find solutions to your potential ADHD issues, contact Klarity today.