ADHD solutions (what is available)
In the following blog, we provide an overview of ADHD solutions. It’s important to know what resources we have available in order to make decisions.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly challenging mental illness, both for the people who have it and for those around them. ADHD solutions refer to all those tools that exist for the treatment of ADHD. In this guide, we will explain some of these tools.
It is commonly recognized that one of the first lines of ADHD solutions is medication such as Vyvanse, Ritalin and Strattera, about which there is a great deal of controversy, given that most ADHD diagnoses are made in children, given the very definition of the disorder.
However, as we will see, drug treatment is not the only option available.
The Solution to ADHD and the Role of the Home and Family
As with many other mental illnesses, treatment is not only what you get at the professional level, whether it is pharmacological or not. A high proportion of support and accommodations in the family and home can actually make a crucial difference between successful treatment and poor or even failed treatment.
The first aspect is the understanding of the disorder by the people who live with who is diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD solutions start with proper education about its symptoms, causes, consequences, implications, and what kind of adjustments should be made in order to improve the quality of life of the whole family group.
On the other hand, regular exercise and healthy sleep habits can also make a difference. As you can see, those are apparently simple changes, but they can really improve mental health and improve diary functioning, particularly when it comes to mental illness.
Let’s get moving! Part of ADHD solutions
As part of what is provided from the home and family, children should be encouraged to exercise regularly. 30 minutes each day has the potential to help manage symptoms and decrease their intensity and frequency.
This can be individual exercise outside of the home or a team sport that adds a social element, improving motivation to continue the exercise on a regular basis. The important thing is creating a strong habit that allows the person to activate on a regular basis the whole body and create a balance of energy spending.
We recommend all those exercises that involve paying close attention to body movements, as well as those that can generate an increased awareness of the body’s potential to perform different activities and the care that must be taken with it for good mental health. It’s not something complicated, it’s just regular activity and keeps moving!
It’s important to respect the time you go to bed
On the other hand, as part of the ADHD solutions, one measure that should be taken is the organization of sleep and sleep-related habits. There are some sleep hygiene measures that can be used that have the potential to improve the quality of life since they help regulate symptoms.
Among the sleep hygiene measures are the following: establish specific schedules for going to bed (and also for getting up), provide a pleasant and comfortable space for sleeping, decrease the artificial light that can enter the space, decrease any loud noise that avoids falling asleep or that can generate an abrupt awakening, turn off all electronic devices, decrease or suppress physical activity during the night so as not to generate further activation.
In general terms, time spent in bed should be associated with a purely dedicated time for rest, peace and recovery for the next day. Each of the habits mentioned above contributes to the regularization of sleep and its organization within the daily routine. Once you start to adopt all these small changes, quality of life is going to improve.
Professional treatment as part of ADHD solutions
As mentioned at the outset, while professional help is not the only one available to address the disorder, it is an integral part of ADHD solutions. That’s why is very important to help with that type of guidance. Mental health is complicated, and we all need some advice and instructions when it comes to improving it properly.
At the professional level, different types of help can be found and also depending on the context and the characteristics that stand out the most in the person diagnosed with ADHD.
From this specific field of action, the following actions can be carried out to help in ADHD solutions.
- Design and implement behavior modification programs at school, work and home as appropriate. This in order to decrease those behavioral expressions that are problematic, in addition to assisting the learning of new and more functional behaviors.
- Assist in setting specific and concrete goals and objectives for behavioral change.
- Assist families who are implementing these programs in maintaining rewards and consequences (remember that the context of this treatment is behavior modification).
- Making a diagnosis of ADHD (a good diagnosis is essential to start treatment and find ADHD solutions).
- On the other hand, psychologists can also help people diagnosed with ADHD to explore their feelings and emotional experience. Remember that it is common to find emotional dysregulation in people with ADHD.
- Assist children, families and regular educators in learning techniques to obtain better performance in school.
- Special educators can also help families find technologies to help them in ADHD solutions.
Child and adolescent psychiatrists:
- Basically, their job is to make the diagnosis and prescribe medication when appropriate.
As we could see, when talking about ADHD solutions, the only answer is not medication. There is a whole series of tools provided by different professionals to help people with this disorder. On the other hand, the ideal scenario would be one in which patients have access to all these professionals or as many as they need.
There will be cases where behavior modification, through the cognitive-behavioral therapist, will be a tremendously effective treatment. In other cases, the above plus medication will make a very good match and the person’s quality of life will improve significantly.
A powerful treatment: behavioral therapy as part of the solution for ADHD
As mentioned previously, part of what cognitive-behavioral therapists can offer is a type of treatment focused on behavior modification. As is well known, in people with ADHD, some of the problems are impulsivity, explosive behavior, and difficulty in focusing attention on a particular stimulus.
All of the above can be addressed through behavior therapy. This treatment, in combination with stimulant medication, has great potential in treating the symptoms. It has even been shown that by using behavioral therapy appropriately, it is possible to start lowering the dose of medication.
Behavioral therapy involves reinforcing those behaviors that are desired; this is part of the solution for ADHD. On the other hand, it is also about decreasing unwanted or poorly adapted behaviors, through stimuli that generate aversive consequences. This therapy is part of the organizational solutions.
For example, it is common to want to reinforce and give pleasant consequences to children when they exhibit a regulated behavior and adjusted to the context where they are (e.g. remain seated in the school chair when it is time to do so). On the other hand, aversive consequences can be established for those moments when the child exhibits behavioral outbursts.
There are at least three elements that are crucial to the proper functioning of behavior therapy, taking those on account will definitely help in the treatment of ADHD:
Having specific goals and objectives
Together with the therapist, and having enough information about the usual way the child usually behaves in different concepts, you must establish concrete and specific goals, to know what you want to achieve and have an indicator of the success of treatment or improvement of symptoms
Provide rewards and consequences based on the behaviors exhibited
As previously mentioned, in behavior modification therapy, the way in which the patient’s behaviors are responded to plays a central role. If it is an adaptive and/or desired behavior, a reward should be provided.
If, on the other hand, the person has exhibited behavior that does not fit the established or desired goals, what should be done is to provide an aversive consequence, so that it is clear that such behavior should not continue to appear on a daily basis or under certain circumstances.
Maintain the use of rewards and aversive consequences, that’s how it works!
In this treatment, consistency with the behavior program that has been established is crucial. Everything that was set as a goal, and the way you will react to different types of behavior, must be maintained over time. Otherwise, it will not work.
Sometimes people get frustrated because they don’t see immediate or quick results from the treatment, and they may be motivated to stop. However, as with other mental disorders, consistency and discipline with the established have a great weight in the solution to ADHD.
In non-pharmacological treatments, in general terms, people often feel that they must work even harder to get real results and experience some kind of improvement in their condition. As has been said many times, consistency and discipline are crucial elements without which treatment could not succeed.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
For the solution to ADHD, there is a wide range of tools that can be used to improve the symptoms. The treatment of ADHD is not reduced to stimulant medication, an aspect that has been widely criticized. On the other hand, whenever possible, it is desirable to seek the help of different professionals, since it is a very challenging disorder in the expression of symptoms.
The ideal treatment is one in which the person has the assistance of a professional in all those areas that require it. Otherwise, the treatment will be incomplete and the results may be very poor or insufficient.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ADHD solutions
How can I control my ADHD without medication?
Non-pharmacological alternatives for the treatment of ADHD include the following: cognitive behavioral therapy, improving sleep and nutrition habits, organizing daily activities so that they are more structured and defined, among others mentioned in this article.
What is the best treatment for ADHD?
The best known and most commonly used treatment for ADHD is stimulant medication. It has been mentioned that 70-80% of children treated with such medication reduce their symptoms.
Can ADHD be cured?
At this time, there is no known definitive cure for ADHD. However, among the different options that can help are cognitive behavioral therapy and stimulant medication.
How do you treat a child with ADHD?
Treatment can be through stimulant medication (the most common today). It may also include cognitive-behavioral therapy or a combination of both.
Does ADHD get worse with age?
Most commonly, ADHD symptoms decrease with age, so that by adulthood they will no longer be very intense or frequent. However, there are some cases in which symptoms continue to appear.
- Mindfulness for Kids with ADHD: Skills to Help Children Focus, Succeed in School, and Make Friends (Instant Help Books)
- Current Directions in ADHD and Its Treatment
- Adult ADHD: Diagnostic Assessment and Treatment
- Mastering Your Adult ADHD: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Program, Client Workbook (Treatments That Work)