Types of Treatment for Adult Inattentive ADHD

 

While commonly known as a childhood disorder, adults can also develop ADHD and experience symptoms similar to the childhood version. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, whether child or adult, ADHD can appear in one of three forms:

  • Predominantly inattentive
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • A combination of the two

People affected with adult inattentive ADHD have difficulty organizing daily life affairs and struggle with paying attention and following instructions. Over time, these traits can cause considerable problems in most all areas of a person’s daily life.

Treatment for adult inattentive ADHD offers both physical and psychological supports that address the key elements of the disorder and equip a person with strategies for coping with daily life stressors.

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Adult Inattentive ADHD

adult adhd help

Treatment can help you overcome adult ADHD.

Like most all psychological disorders, ADHD stems from chemical imbalances in the brain. Neurotransmitter chemicals regulate most every system in the body. When chemical imbalances exist, a person can experience any number of psychological and/or physical symptoms.

Low levels of dopamine and serotonin, two primary neurotransmitters, account for the symptoms brought on by ADHD. As serotonin regulates the brain’s cognitive functions, low serotonin levels play a central role in producing adult inattentive ADHD.

According to the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine, ADHD disorder symptoms fall within three main symptom categories: impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. People affected by adult inattentive ADHD struggle more so with symptoms related to inattention, some of which include:

  • Problems focusing when reading
  • Poor listening abilities
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness
  • Tends to overlook details
  • Loses train of thought when talking
  • Leaves tasks uncompleted regardless of whether they’re easy or hard

Adult Inattentive ADHD Effects on Daily Life

People struggling with adult inattentive ADHD have an especially hard time managing or organizing their daily schedules. When on the job, problems focusing and concentrating typically make for a stressful workday.

While adult inattentive ADHD sufferers struggle most with symptoms involving inattention, the other symptom categories (hyperactivity and impulsiveness) also appear in varying degrees depending on a person’s chemical make-up. In effect, all three categories of symptoms work together to a certain degree, which can make for a never-ending cycle of frustration and feeling overwhelmed for someone with adult inattentive ADHD.

Symptoms associated with hyperactivity and impulsiveness include:

Hyperactivity

  • Constant need for stimulation, excitement
  • Bores easily
  • Talks too much
  • Problems staying still or in one place
  • Excessive multi-tasking
  • Racing thought processes
  • Restlessness
  • Irritation
  • Addiction-prone

Impulsivity

  • Takes unnecessary risks
  • Interrupts others during conversations
  • Says whatever comes to mind
  • Reckless or poor decision-making with little to no regard for the consequences

Without needed treatment help, adult inattentive ADHD sufferers continue to experience difficulties managing work and family life, which over time starts to wear away at their self-esteem.

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Types of Treatment for Adult Inattentive ADHD

Treatment for adult inattentive ADHD entails a three-step process:

  1. Restoring brain chemical levels back to normal
  2. Undoing the patterns of thinking and resulting behaviors associated with ADHD
  3. Equipping a person with healthy coping strategies

Medication treatment works well at restoring brain chemical levels back to normal. Once restored, the physical symptoms brought on by ADHD subside considerably, such as restlessness, racing thoughts, irritation as well as the need for stimulation and constant movement.

Faulty thought patterns and behaviors result from the ongoing stress and frustration experienced. More oftentimes than not, a person will develop ineffective ways of coping with daily stressors. Behavioral treatment interventions are designed to help identify destructive thinking and behavior patterns and replace them with healthy coping skills.

Medication Management

Medication treatments help correct for brain chemical imbalances, which in turn enable a person to better control and manage adult inattentive ADHD symptoms. In effect, medications become the first line of defense in treating ADHD disorders.

ADHD medication treatments fall into two categories:

  • Psychostimulants
  • Non-stimulants

Psychostimulants and non-stimulants differ in terms of their effects on brain neurotransmitter levels. As each person’s chemical make-up differs, some medications will likely work better than others.

Psychostimulant drugs include amphetamines and methylphenidates. Psychostimulants used include:

  • Adderall
  • Desoxyn
  • Dextrostat
  • Dexedrine

Methylphenidate medication types include:

  • Focalin
  • Ritalin
  • Metadate
  • Concerta
  • Daytrana

Whereas stimulant medications stimulate or speed up chemical activities in the brain and central nervous system, non-stimulants don’t. Stimulant drugs also carry a high abuse and addiction potential.

Non-stimulant medications used in the treatment of adult inattentive ADHD include tricyclic depressants and mono-amine oxidase inhibitors. Tricyclic antidepressants, while non-addictive, do come with a risk of serious side effects, such as cardiac arrest as well as a high potential for overdose.

Mono-amine oxidase inhibitors also carry a risk of side effects and require strict adherence to a special diet to avoid abnormal increases in blood pressure levels. Both tricyclic and mono-amine oxidase inhibitors take considerably longer than psychostimulants to produce any therapeutic effects.

Ultimately, medication treatments help relieve symptom severity allowing adult inattentive ADHD sufferers to better engage in the behavioral treatment portion.

Psychosocial Treatment

Understanding how ADHD works can go a long way towards helping those affected better manage their symptoms. For this reason, psychosocial treatment starts with educating patients on how ADHD symptoms affect their thinking, emotions and behaviors.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, behavioral interventions used with adult inattentive ADHD work to improve a person’s organizational abilities and social skills overall. Behavioral therapy approaches are also used to help undo destructive ways of coping with ADHD symptoms and develop constructive behavioral responses to managing stress.

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Considerations

With any form of ADHD disorder, symptoms can change over time so someone experiencing adult inattentive ADHD may “evolve” into adult hyperactive-impulsive ADHD when the condition is left untreated. In the case of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, a person is more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means for self-medicating when stressed or feeling overwhelmed.

Overall, adult inattentive ADHD is a highly management condition when treated. With proper treatment, a person’s quality of life can improve considerably.

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