I think I have ADHD, what should I do now?

The first step if you think you have ADHD, is to get a {diagnostic evaluation}(link to diagnostic evaluation page). This will allow us to get a better understanding of what is at the root of your struggles. From there we can determine the best next steps for you.

I thought people with ADHD just take Ritalin/ Adderall- why would I want therapy too?
Medication is a wonderful treatment for ADHD. It does an excellent job targeting the “core symptoms” of ADHD: inattention and focus and it can even help you with some of the difficulties you may have “getting going.” Medication, however, does not work for everyone and it does not work for everything. It does not, for example, help you organize, prioritize, manage your time or your emotions. ADHD focused therapy can teach the skills and systems needed to accommodate for these issues. Therapy can also address the shame and self-esteem issues that often arise from a lifetime of struggles and which can make progress so much harder to attain.

Research shows that there are multiple useful treatments for ADHD: medication, ADHD informed therapy, Meditation, Exercise and Nutrition and that each one can only address about 30% of the issue. In order to obtain the greatest change and benefit, therefore the most optimal treatment involves a combination of multiple approaches in order to address the many aspects of ADHD and its impact on your life. Which combination, exactly, depends on you- what works best for you, what fits into your life and what you feel most drawn to.

How long does therapy take to work?

The course of treatment varies significantly for each person. Because we start with an active approach, focusing on concrete goals and strategies, you may notice some significant changes early in our work together. However, as the ADHD researcher, Russel Barkley says: ”ADHD is not a disorder of knowing what to do but of doing what you know.” And therefore, it often takes a little bit of time to effectively target the hurdles that are keeping you from overcoming your struggles. Sometimes it is a matter of trying numerous strategies until we find the “keystone” strategy from which other changes can grow. What can (and should) be felt early on, however, is a connection and an understanding that can offer some hope and relief and a sense of no longer being alone in your struggles.

Sometimes I think I don’t have ADHD, I think I am just lazy and using my diagnosis as an excuse. Will therapy make me more lazy, giving me more excuses?

This is a very common experience. Because ADHD is a disorder of action, not knowledge, it can be confusing- if you know what to do, why cant you do it? Too often people with ADHD hear that they have issues with motivation or perseverance from teachers, parents or friends. They believe that they must just be lazier than their peers and that is why they can’t do what they know they need to do. But ADHD is not a matter of will-power. It is not a moral failing. It is an underpowered executive functioning system (the part of our brain that tells the rest of the brain to start/ stop and stay on task) which is something over which you have limited control.

Therapy does not “give you more excuses”, though we will strive to help you more fully understand what is going on. We do this, not to provide excuses but instead to release some of the shame that can further impede progress. It has been shown that the greatest growth and change can be made in an atmosphere of compassion, not criticism. However, it is not just compassion for which we are striving. We will also be working with you to target the areas of your life where you do have control and power, making change and putting routines and strategies into place that help you accommodate your atypical brain to the typical world.

How do I get started?

We are excited to meet you and start our work together. You may make your first appointment online or if you have further questions or concerns you are welcome to email or call at 610-724-7010.