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Kaela's Blog

The Role of Therapy in ADHD Treatment: How Counseling Can Help You Thrive

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is a mental health illness that can impact a person's ability to focus, pay attention, and control impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD often have difficulty with executive functioning skills, including organization, time management, and planning.

Unpacking the Obvious, but Sometimes Overlooked Signs of ADHD

Inattention is one of the hallmark symptoms of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty focusing on tasks and may struggle to complete tasks that require sustained attention, such as reading or studying. They may also become easily distracted, particularly by external stimuli, and may have difficulty blocking out distractions. Forgetfulness is also common in individuals with ADHD, and they may have difficulty remembering important details or keeping track of appointments and deadlines.

Hyperactivity is another core symptom of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may be restless and constantly on the go, even when it is not appropriate or necessary. They may have difficulty sitting still, particularly during activities that require them to remain seated, such as in a classroom or at a desk. Fidgeting is common in individuals with ADHD, and they may tap their feet, squirm in their seat, or play with objects to release their excess energy.

Impulsivity is the third core symptom of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may act without thinking and engage in impulsive behaviors that can be dangerous or disruptive. They may interrupt others during conversations, blurt out inappropriate comments, or engage in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse or dangerous driving. Impulsivity can also lead to difficulty with social relationships, as individuals with ADHD may struggle to think before they act or consider the consequences of their actions.

Understanding the Different Types of ADHD

The three types of ADHD each have their own unique set of symptoms and characteristics. Inattentive ADHD is often referred to as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and is characterized by symptoms of inattention, including difficulty focusing on tasks, forgetfulness, and becoming easily distracted. Individuals with inattentive ADHD may have trouble with organization and time management, and may appear disinterested or detached in social situations. They may also struggle with following through on tasks or completing them on time.

Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, but not inattention. Individuals with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may appear restless, fidgety, and have difficulty sitting still. They may also talk excessively, interrupt others, and act without thinking, engaging in impulsive and sometimes dangerous behaviors. Individuals with this type of ADHD may struggle with following rules and may have difficulty with authority figures, which can impact their academic and social performance.

Combined ADHD is the most common type of ADHD and is characterized by symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Individuals with combined ADHD may struggle with a range of symptoms, including difficulty with organization and time management, restlessness, fidgeting, impulsivity, and forgetfulness. They may also struggle with following through on tasks, particularly those that are tedious or require sustained attention. The symptoms of combined ADHD can significantly impact an individual's academic and social functioning, as well as their overall quality of life.

Neurobiological Factors and ADHD

ADHD has a strong genetic component, with research suggesting that genes play a role in the development of the disorder. Studies have shown that ADHD is more common in individuals who have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with the disorder. In fact, studies estimate that between 60-80% of ADHD cases have a genetic component. Researchers have identified several genes that may be involved in ADHD, including genes related to dopamine regulation, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating attention and behavior.

Environmental factors also play a role in the development of ADHD. Prenatal exposure to toxins, such as lead or tobacco smoke, has been linked to an increased risk of ADHD. Maternal stress during pregnancy has also been associated with a higher risk of ADHD in offspring. Premature birth, low birth weight, and complications during birth have also been identified as risk factors for ADHD.

Neurobiological factors, such as differences in brain structure and function, have also been linked to ADHD. Studies have shown that individuals with ADHD have smaller brain volumes in certain areas, such as the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functioning skills. Differences in neurotransmitter systems, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, have also been implicated in the development of ADHD. These neurobiological factors may contribute to the symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity and inattention.

The Negative Consequences of Ignoring ADHD

Ignoring ADHD and not seeking treatment can have negative consequences that can affect an individual's personal and professional life. One of the main consequences of ignoring ADHD is that it can lead to academic difficulties. Individuals with ADHD may have trouble completing assignments, staying focused during lectures, and organizing their time effectively. This can lead to poor grades and missed deadlines, which can have a long-lasting impact on an individual's academic and career opportunities.

Ignoring ADHD can also lead to difficulties in personal relationships. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with communication and impulse control, which can make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. This can result in feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can further exacerbate symptoms of ADHD.

Furthermore, ignoring ADHD can lead to a higher risk of engaging in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse and reckless driving. Individuals with ADHD may be more prone to impulsivity and sensation-seeking behaviors, which can lead to dangerous situations. This can have serious consequences, including legal and financial repercussions, as well as physical harm to oneself or others. Overall, it is important to recognize and seek treatment for ADHD in order to prevent these negative consequences and improve overall quality of life.

Encouraging ADHD Treatment for Better Outcomes

ADHD can impact a person's daily life, including their academic and work performance, social relationships, and overall quality of life. However, with proper treatment, people with ADHD can manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives. Treatment for ADHD often includes medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes.

If you or a loved one are struggling with ADHD, it is important to seek professional help. Kaela Rae Vance LPCCS is an experienced licensed professional clinical counselor who specializes in helping individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. With a focus on evidence-based treatments and a client-centered approach, Kaela can help you identify your unique challenges and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs. Don't let ADHD hold you back any longer - take the first step towards a better life by contacting Kaela Rae Vance LPCCS today. Call 614-647-HELP.

ADHD: Everything You Didn't Know That You Didn't Know

A Learning Luncheon and social / networking event for Columbus therapists, hosted by Kaela Rae Vance LPCC-S, LLC, spotlighting featured presenter Kayla Brubaker, LPC. At this luncheon, Kayla Brubaker, a Central Ohio counselor, will be providing us with a presentation on "ADHD: Everything You Didn't Know That You Didn't Know".


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