ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder affects people of all ages. If you are an adult who has been diagnosed with ADD, you can still overcome the symptoms and live a normal life. However, you must seek treatment for ADD.
Certainly, it is a great idea to visit a doctor who can prescribe treatment for ADD. However, you don’t have to wait for your doctor’s appointment to be confirmed to work on your ADD condition. There are treatment protocols for ADD that you can do on your own.
What Are The Treatment Options For ADD?
Chances are the medications Adderall and Ritalin come to mind whenever you hear “treatment for ADD”. Medication is just another option that you can consider.
These drugs are expensive and may not work on everyone. They may not work on you. And even if Adderall or Ritalin does produce results, they do not provide long-term solutions. You may still have to find ways to manage the symptoms of the disorder.
Doctors usually prescribe medication to improve the sufferer’s level of concentration and attention. The drugs have been proven to be largely ineffective when it comes to addressing the symptoms which make life with ADD very difficult. These ADD symptoms include forgetfulness, lack of organization, procrastination, and poor time management.
A better approach would be to combine medication with other forms of treatment. In addition to mental focus, attention, and functionality, you can incorporate treatment protocols that work on behavioural and emotional issues. This way, you will have a more holistic way of treating ADD.
Keep in mind that there are no quick fixes and one-size-fits-all treatment available for ADD sufferers. Each person will respond differently to the treatment. There may even be potential side effects. In some cases, the risks are greater than the benefits.
It will take some time to find the right treatment protocol that will effectively address your ADD symptoms.
Option 1 – Supervised Medication
Medications must be administered under the close supervision of a doctor. For the reasons that results may vary and side effects may happen, you have to keep track of your intake of medicines. Take note of how you felt after taking the medication as well as any side effects. By closely monitoring your medication, your doctor can make adjustments on dosage.
If you decide on including medication as among your treatment options, you don’t have to pop the pills for the rest of your life. Ultimately, it will be your decision on whether to continue medication or not. Before making it final, talk to your doctor first. You may have to go off the drugs slowly.
Option 2 – Regular Exercise
One of the best non-pharmaceutical ways to treat ADD is exercise. Doctors have long advocated the use of exercise as a remedy for conditions that are associated with ADD. Among these symptoms are difficulty in managing stress, impulsiveness, mood swings, and mental functioning.
Regular physical activity improves blood circulation. This means your vital organs including the brain will consistently receive nutrient and oxygen-rich blood. Your brain will be able to produce more serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which are all important for memory, attention, and focus.
Exercise will give you an outlet to release energy and minimize incidents of impulsiveness. Of course, exercise makes you feel good. It releases mood-enhancing endorphins.
Choose an exercise activity that you enjoy. Try to allocate at least four 30-minute sessions every week. You should also consider participating in team sports such as basketball or football where strategy is a big part and community-building is an added benefit.
Option 3 – Getting Good Quality Sleep
People with ADD have a hard time getting quality of sleep, if any, at all. This is because their minds are constantly working and certain thoughts are keeping them up.
And if an ADD sufferer does sleep, it will be restless sleep. He/she would most likely be irritable and groggy for the most part of the following day.
Getting good quality sleep on a regular basis is an effective way to manage the symptoms of ADD. Although it is easier said than done, here are some tips on how to get better sleep every night:
• Come up with a bedtime schedule and don’t break it.
• Keep your room as dark as possible.
• Do not drink beverages with caffeine in them too close to bedtime.
• Find at least 1 to 2 hours of quiet time before hitting the bed.
• If medication is the culprit, talk to your doctor about adjusting the dosage and/or the timing.
Option 4 – Follow a Healthy Diet
Because problems with organization and planning are 2 of the symptoms of ADD, following a healthy diet is not just a matter of what to eat but also of when to eat.
You will have to schedule your shopping days and hours; know what to buy beforehand, how to prepare your meals, and when to eat them. By being more involved with your diet, you can work on your ability to focus, plan, and organize while foregoing the trip to the fast-food drive-through.
Here are some tips on creating a healthy diet plan:
• Stick to whole, fresh, and unprocessed food choices. Say “No” to junk food.
• Eat every 3 hours; avoid bingeing which can trigger the symptoms of ADD.
• Include a multivitamin that contains magnesium, zinc, and iron.
• Choose complex carbohydrates that have fibre over simple carbohydrates that are high in sugar.
• Include good sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) or Omega-3s which can help improve brain function. Good sources include salmon, sardines, tuna, and fortified eggs. You may also use algae and fish oil supplements.
Option 5 – Use of Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can be used to manage some of the symptoms of ADD such as mood swings, having emotional outbursts, depression, impulsiveness, and lack of mental focus.
Similar to Tai Chi and other forms-based types of exercise, Yoga adds meditation to the execution of the physical movements. You will learn correct techniques for breathing that will help you relax, build a greater level of mental focus, and self-awareness.
Studies have shown that regular meditation improves the performance of the prefrontal complex of the brain which is responsible for improving your attention span, mental performance, and at the same time, manages impulse activity.
Option 6 – Behavioural and Emotional Techniques
Some of the symptoms of ADD can trigger behaviours that can be detrimental to your relationships.
Frequent mood swings, temperamental outbursts, forgetfulness, and indifference to handling tasks will affect your daily interactions with family, friends, and colleagues at work.
It may be a good idea to seek help from professionals who are trained specifically to help you work through these problems.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Sessions
In this type of therapy, you will be asked to identify the negative behaviours and find ways to change them into positive attributes.
People who are trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy will guide you on how to change negative outlook into more optimistic but realistic perspectives.
Talk Therapy Sessions
Feelings of resentment may be deeply rooted in your earlier experiences. Talk Therapy sessions help you unburden the emotional baggage by sharing with others who have similar experiences.
Marriage and Family Counselling
People who are afflicted with ADD will have problems managing their financial situation, home responsibilities, and family obligations.
Counselling sessions with experts can help you and your family understand the difficulties of living with someone with ADD. The overall objective is to get the family to work collectively in finding constructive ways of managing the symptoms of ADD.
Who Else Can Help You Cope With ADD?
These are people who help others organize their clutter. There are also professional organizers who can assist you in developing time and task management skills.
Similar to professional organizers, Behavioural Coaches will assist you in coming up with practical ways to deal with the shortcomings of having ADD. For example, a Behavioural Coach can help you organize your daily schedule or manage your finances.
These experts can come over to your home or place of work to give you advice. In some cases, you can even consult with them online.