ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment – What You Should Know

Getting an ADHD Diagnosis:  Make sure you consult with a well-trained specialist. The doctors who have the most training in ADHD are child psychiatrists. If you are an adult, be aware that all child psychiatrists also are trained in adult psychiatry. Ask the person you see if he or she has extensive experience in working with patients in your age group. It is imperative that you consult with a professional who has extensive experience. If you can’t find such a person, start by calling the department of psychiatry at the medical school nearest to you.

The diagnosis rests upon a careful history taken from the identified patient as well as at least one other person, such as parent, spouse, sibling, or close friend, as well as, if possible, teacher comments.

You should develop a comfortably connected relationship with the person diagnosing and treating you so that you can turn to him or her with trust whenever the need arises.

The history may be supplemented by neuropsychological testing. This is paper-and-pencil testing that includes puzzles and games. It’s actually often fun to take these tests. They are not diagnostic of ADHD, but they add valuable information.

Treatment begins with education. The patient and concerned others need to learn what ADHD is, and what it is not. A diagnosis of the mind, like ADHD, must be fully understood if it is to be mastered and made good use of. At its best, ADHD can become an asset, rather than a liability, in a person’s life. But, for this to happen, the person has to develop a deep appreciation for how ADHD works within him or her. To understand ADHD, a person could begin with one of my books, like Delivered From Distraction, or with some other book on the topic. Just be sure you read a book by a highly qualified expert who writes clearly and well.

Treatment proceeds with a restructuring of one’s life. Usually, disorganization is a leading problem in the life of the person who has ADHD. Often an organizational coach can help enormously in developing new habits of organization and time management.

Treatment should also include physical exercise, at least 4 times per week. Dr. John Ratey’s work and his book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, notes that physical exercise is one of the best treatments we have for ADHD.  Learn more about Treating ADHD.

Proper nutrition plays an important role in the treatment of ADHD in all ages. The key simply is to eat well, avoid junk food and sugar, eat whole foods, and don’t self-medicate with carbs, as many people with ADHD are tempted to do.

If you missed Dr. Hallowell’s Distraction Q&A on ADHD, getting a late in life diagnosis and more, LISTEN NOW!

If you think you might have ADHD, CLICK HERE to learn what the Hallowell Centers can do for you.

For those people who crave more information about ADHD, we have put together a suggested reading list HERE.  

The Pennies Are Everywhere!

The other day one of my patients was talking about her father, who died in 1981. “He started college in 1929, and we all know what happened that year. So college came to a sudden end for my father. He became incredibly tight with money from then on, to the point of putting locks on the rotary phones and picking up pennies when he saw them on the sidewalk as if he’s just struck gold.”

This patient, whom I’ll call Sarah, was raised Jewish but now follows a non-traditional spiritual path. She has strong spiritual views, but they do not fit any standard faith or religion. But she delighted in telling me how often she sees pennies all over the place, ever since her father died. “The pennies are everywhere,” she said, with an elated giggle, her red curly hair bouncing, belying her 60 years of age. “It didn’t take me long to realize it was my dad sending me those pennies, letting me know he was watching over me from the other dimension.” She sat back with a wide smile of satisfaction on her face.

As some of you who read this newsletter know, I, myself, believe in God. I’m an Episcopalian. But I’m not doctrinaire. I like the prayer that goes, “Lord, please help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.”

My version is that God is Love. Where you find love, there you find God. Where there is no love, God is absent. Today’s world is painfully short on love. It seems that love is a really tough sell. Why people reject it beats me. Because there’s nothing better. And without it, we wither.

It’s there for the taking, love is. As Sarah said, the pennies are everywhere. Love is all around, if we will but reach out and give it, reach out and receive it, if we will but come out of hiding. Don’t hold back.

Pat a dog. Smile at the check-out lady. Help the mom with the crying baby. Forgive a friend you know you want to make up with. Think of three things you’re grateful for. Say “Thank you” to two people today and say “I’m sorry” to one. Stop and talk to the panhandler, whether or not you chose to give him money. Go a day without reading or watching news and use that time to give others compliments.

Look for the pennies. You will find them everywhere.

Try Judging Less, Understanding More

Dr. Hallowell shares some thoughts on reserving judgment in our “Gotcha!” world in this week’s Distraction mini episode. It’s time to cut each other some slack, says Ned, as he likens our current social climate to a meat tenderizer. We are all flawed and we need each other’s understanding, not judgment!

There’s an old French proverb he loves that goes, “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner,” which Evelyn Waugh translated and quoted in Brideshead Revisited, “To understand all is to forgive all.”

LISTEN NOW and learn Dr. Hallowell’s thoughts on why we should try and understand before we judge.

Distraction wants to hear from you! What do you think? Are we too quick to judge each other nowadays? Send an email or voice memo with your thoughts to connect@distractionpodcast.com.