Maintaining the ADHD Brain
The core symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsiveness, distractibility and inattention as evidenced by problems organizing, planning, procrastinating, and time management. But doesn’t everybody have these problems? Yes, but for the diagnosis to be applicable, the doctor will consider the severity and duration and the extent to which your problems interfere with the quality of your life. For a diagnosis, you must see a doctor who is knowledgeable in ADHD and related problems. The principle tool for diagnosis is the interview.
Before seeing your doctor, take some quiet time to think about what is really bothering you and write it down. (People with AD/HD often forget the key things to say). If your office looks like the aftermath of a hurricane and you feel depressed, be sure to tell the doctor both facts. You may be depressed because you can’t deal with the office, or your office may be a disaster because you are depressed. Which came first?
“Pills? I don’t take pills!”
Well, you aren’t alone. Many people feel that way. Consider for a moment. Do the pills make you a different person? Is it not you, if you take a pill? Who is the real you?
- That person who loses his temper at the slightest excuse,
- the nerd who walks past his best friend without saying “Hello”,
- the wife who is too tired to clean up the mess and greet hubby with a smile and kiss when he comes home?
Or are you the smiling affable, competent person you know is inside trying to get out?
Let’s go back to our car. Do you expect your car to run without oil or gasoline? Would you drive a car that worked on two or three of its four cylinders? Your brain needs fuel.
Ideally, every brain would produce just the right amount of all the ingredients it needs, but there is no such thing as an ideal brain. Some brains are chronically undersupplied with the chemicals they need to function properly. Clinical trials have shown that medication is the most effective method of dealing with an under functioning brain
There are a number of medications available. Your doctor may need to try more than one, to find the right one for you. He will probably start with a low dose to see if you tolerate it and then increase the dose to find the most effective dosage and timing. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a positive result immediately.
When you start taking the medication it would be a good idea to keep a record of the time you take it and any sensations you may feel and the time when they occur. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the effects. Some unpleasant effects like a headache or dizziness may, in fact, be what are called rebound effects which occur when the medication wears off. The problem can often be resolved by changing the timing of the next dose or even by increasing the dosage. Help your doctor to know what’s happening and he can help you to find the best solution for you.
For information about medication, you must see a doctor who has experience with ADHD.
For treatment guidelines and which medications are available, see
A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD Medications by Theodore Mandelkorn, MD
Editor’s note: Not everyone wants to take medication or is helped by traditional ADHD medications. Nor is medication alone enough. Some type of outside intervention, however, is usually helpful. You may prefer to try cognitive behavior therapy, coaching, diet changes, supplements, mindfulness meditation or any number of holistic or alternative treatments. Many treat their ADHD with a combination of these, searching for the right mix. Please see the Pinterest boards listed below for examples.
Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADD
“Image courtesy of SalvatoreVuono-FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva
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