ADHD treatment center - MIAMI, FL

what we treat

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a well-known diagnosis - particularly among parents of young children as well as in school-based settings. It is not uncommon to hear that a school aged child has been diagnosed with ADHD after reports of being easily distracted in the classroom and having a hard time staying in their seat. It is also not uncommon to hear of an adult being recently diagnosed with ADHD after years of trying to find the source of their difficulties completing tasks at school or at work. However, it is important to keep in mind that ADHD can also easily be misdiagnosed because of the common symptoms it shares with other diagnoses – including specific learning disorders or anxiety disorders. Moreover, medication seeking may be common for some individuals diagnosed with ADHD due to the high rates of recreational ADHD medication use exhibited in some populations.

We believe it is also important to distinguish ADHD from other behaviors that are common in children and are not indicative of a diagnosis. For example, it is healthy for a child to day dream although it can sometimes lead to distraction within the classroom. This does not necessarily mean the child has ADHD; instead, it could mean they have a creative imagination. Moreover, feelings of “ants in the pants” is common among young children – energy levels are high and can manifest as hyperactive or impulsive behaviors. As a result, it is essential that a proper assessment is conducted by a qualified professional in order to differentiate between ADHD and common behaviors in school aged children.

Diagnosing ADHD

The marked features of ADHD that must be present in order for an individual to receive a diagnosis are the inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity aspects – either or both features must be present and must cause the person to feel distress in order for an ADHD diagnosis to be given (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) states the following:

Inattention

Inattention manifests behaviorally in ADHD as wandering off task, lacking persistence, having difficulty sustaining focus, and being disorganized and is not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.

Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity refers to excessive motor activity (such as a child running about) when it is not appropriate, or excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness. In adults, hyperactivity may manifest as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity.

Impulsivity

Impulsivity refers to hasty actions that occur in the moment without forethought and that have high potential for harm to the individual (e.g., darting into the street without looking). Impulsivity may reflect a desire for immediate rewards or an inability to delay gratification (p. 61).

Other Diagnosis Requirements

  • The DSM-5 also states that an important criterion necessary in order to diagnose ADHD is that symptoms must be present in the individual before the age of 12 years old (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  • Moreover, the symptoms are present in two or more settings – for example, in a school aged child, the symptoms could be present in school and at home (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  • Furthermore, the symptoms impair the day to day functioning of the individual experiencing ADHD symptoms (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  • Lastly, the symptoms cannot be better explained by any other medical or mental condition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for an individual experiencing symptoms of ADHD:

Behavioral Therapy

To begin with, behavioral therapy is a common treatment route for school aged children in order to modify behaviors that may be interfering with the child’s functioning (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). A behavioral therapist will work closely with a child in order to increase social skills, monitor behaviors at home and in school, as well as establish routines within the child’s life (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). As a result, a behavioral therapist may spend time with the child in both the school and home setting in order to model and encourage appropriate behaviors. Through the use of principles associated with behavior analysis, desired behaviors are reinforced through praise and reward (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019).

In accordance with the notions of behavioral therapy, classroom interventions have also been shown to be effective in managing ADHD symptoms (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). In the school setting, staff – including teachers and education specialists - can reinforce desired behaviors utilizing reward systems (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019).

Parent Skills Training

Parent Skills Training is a treatment modality for parents of school aged children who have been diagnosed with ADHD (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Utilizing the principles of behavior analysis, a qualified professional will educate parents on the importance of implementing positive reinforcement to encourage their child’s use of desired behaviors while ignoring other behaviors (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). In order to target specific behaviors, parents are encouraged to provide their child with immediate feedback when praising a desired behavior or when ignoring other behaviors (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is utilized in order to teach the person experiencing ADHD symptoms helpful techniques to manage the symptomology (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). A CBT therapist can assist the individual by teaching them impulse control and how to think before behaving (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019).

Family Therapy

Another treatment modality that may be useful for someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD is family therapy (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Through family therapy, communication patterns can be improved in order to assist the family in navigating the experiences associated with the diagnosis. As a marriage and family therapist, I am always advocating for family therapy regardless of the diagnosis. Family therapy can provide a safe space to family units in order to process important topics and foster stronger relationships between members.

Medication

Lastly, medications – specifically stimulants and some non-stimulants - have been found to be effective in the treatment of symptoms (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). ADHD medications can help the individual increase their focus in order to complete tasks and manage their impulsivity (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). As is the case when starting a new medication, always consult with a medical provider in order to ensure the medication is right for you.

Getting Treatment for ADHD in Miami, Florida

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, contact a qualified mental health professional in order to discuss the next steps. Together, you can decide what treatment modalities will work best for you.

Galen Hope, a mental health treatment center in Miami, Florida, provides comprehensive services for a wide range of diagnoses and related conditions, including: Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Mood Disorders, PTSD/Trauma, Psychosis, Thought Disorders, and Schizoid Personality Disorder. Our treatment integrates the best concepts of residential programs, partial hospitalization programs, and community psychology in order to provide an experience that not only feels uniquely meaningful to the client, but also breaks the cycle of repeated hospitalizations, over-institutionalization, and isolation from community and family.

To learn more, or to join our community, contact us below.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

National Institute of Mental Health (2019). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Retrieved September 28, 2021, from
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-

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