Treatment Options

What treatments are currently available for ADHD?

There is no cure for ADHD but treatment can reduce symptoms and make the condition much less of a problem in day-to-day life. Current treatments focus on management of symptoms through a combination of approaches that should be tailored to each patient’s needs. There are several medical treatments for ADHD, which if chosen, should be accompanied by a combination of psychological or educational approaches (group or individual).

Treatment is focused on six areas:

  1. Education
  2. Psychological support and skills training
  3. Changes in lifestyle
  4. Sign posting to other forms of support
  5. Medication

1. Education - A diagnosis of ADHD may allow you to become more aware and develop coping strategies. Education for your college/employer may be helpful, as well as careers counselling if you have not settled in your choice of career yet, to help you choose a route that plays to your strengths. Educational establishments usually provide a quiet, distraction-free place to take an exam to help sustain attention and minimise distractions.

2. Psychological support and skills training. You might have heard the saying ‘Pills don’t build skills’. Medications alone are generally insufficient as although they often help the symptoms of ADHD, they do not correct the lack of "life" skills that many adults with ADHD failed to acquire. Having ADHD is not all bad. A psychological approach should include identification of talents and strengths and how ADHD may help and not just hinder your life and how it makes you the unique person you are. Therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be useful for treating any additional problems, such as depression or anxiety, which may appear alongside ADHD.

3. Changes in lifestyle. Taking care of yourself has a huge impact on your brain and your ADHD. You need to aim to get enough sleep, eat well, stay connected with key people in your life and introduce structure and organisation. Regular, physical exercise is an important component of treatment for individuals with ADHD. The benefits of exercise are too numerous to list here. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, a form of meditation, may also help with ADHD (http://www.mbct.co.uk).

4. Sign posting to other forms of support such as self help groups and books, may be recommended by your doctor.

5. Medication is available if suitable for those with moderate to severe symptoms. If you need to be prescribed a medication for ADHD, we will take several factors into account before recommending a treatment. These factors will include any other conditions that you may have, the side effects of each treatment, and whether or not the dosage times interfere with college or work. See the separate section on medication for more information.


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