ADHD In Children & Adults

It’s estimated that 3-7% of children and 2-5% of adults meet criteria for ADHD. In children, the disorder is more common in boys and approximately 25% of children will outgrow the disorder by the time they are adults. Adult ADHD seems to be more equally prevalent in men and women. It’s a disorder that appears to be primarily biologically-based with about 80% of ADHD behavioral traits linked to genetic factors (which is similar to heritability of height in families). In adopted children, research suggests that as many as 30% qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD which may be related to a higher likelihood of ADHD in their birth parents.

Symptoms of ADHD range from mild to severe and include problems with impulse control, planning and follow-through on tasks, distractibility, emotion regulation, motivation, flexibility, maintaining interest, and development of the self-talk that leads to reflection and insight. ADHD is associated with an increased risk of underachievement in school, work, and relationships. It has been linked to higher rates of substance abuse, driving citations and accidents, divorce, job loss, and even suicide.

ADHD is often identified while children are in school due to impulsive behavior or poor grades that are inconsistent with a child’s intellectual ability. School and pediatricians will ask parents to rate their child’s behavior on an ADHD screening measure and then can compare the scores to the scores of other children who are the same age to determine if the child’s symptoms are significant. Diagnosis of adult ADHD is more complicated but adults are typically better at describing their symptoms and their problems.

Treatment for ADHD begins with a comprehensive assessment that includes an evaluation, a review of family history, completion of an ADHD screening measure and identifying other medical or mental health issues that might better explain a person’s symptoms. When the client is a child, Labyrinth therapists will consult with parents, teachers, and other care providers to gather this information and make a diagnosis. With adults, the diagnosis can often be made after a clinical interview, physician contact and completion of an adult ADHD screening instrument.

The treatment plan for ADHD varies based on how a client/family chooses to address the problem. At Labyrinth Psychological Services, we typically discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with medication since stimulant treatment is an evidence-based intervention for management of ADHD symptoms. We also educate clients and their families about ADHD, provide skills training, and coaching services. Though ADHD itself rarely responds to long-term therapy, clients who have learned to manage their symptoms often find that they are more aware of their feelings, conflicts in relationships, and other behavioral health problems and may continue in therapy to improve their overall sense of confidence and wellness.

Contact us today to learn more about our ADHD treatment services.