Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that begins in childhood and typically continues into adulthood. ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity. To qualify as ADHD, symptoms must be atypical compared with others of a similar age. The symptoms may appear differently in adulthood.
Most ADHD symptoms can be split into one of two categories: hyperactivity and inattention. ADHD can also cause a variety of other symptoms unrelated to hyperactivity or inattention.
While all people experience some of these symptoms occasionally, those with ADHD experience them more regularly, more intensely, and across more areas of their lives.
Hyperactive symptoms are those related to action and impulsivity. These symptoms include:
- Fidgeting or squirming in one’s seat
- Quick, frequently monologue-style speech
- Strong need to be physically active or move around, especially for children
- Frequent boredom or impatience
- Impulsive behaviors and actions
In adults, hyperactivity often presents itself as inner restlessness and may be more difficult to recognize, either for the adult with ADHD or for the people around them.
Inattentive symptoms generally revolve around difficulty staying centered and focused in one’s environment. Inattentive symptoms include:
- Difficulty staying on task or completing goals
- Poor short-term memory or forgetfulness
- Difficulty with organization or frequently losing objects
- Frequently making seemingly careless mistakes
- Poor attention span, especially for topics that do not interest the individual
Other ADHD Symptoms
In addition to hyperactive and inattentive symptoms, experts have recognized a variety of other symptoms commonly seen with ADHD. These symptoms are broad and typically impact many aspects of a person’s life.
- Executive dysfunction: Executive functioning is a wide range of planning, thinking, and organizing abilities that all individuals rely on. For those with ADHD, executive functioning skills may fail, which is called executive dysfunction. This may result in difficulties starting, stopping, or switching tasks; difficulty with self-control; and difficulty with emotional regulation.
- Rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD): RSD is a common trait of those with ADHD. Those with RSD often feel intense negative emotions, such as guilt or fear, when feeling rejected or criticized by others.
- Sensory processing difficulties: Although rarely discussed as an ADHD symptom, evidence shows that people with ADHD have higher rates of sensory processing difficulties. This is especially true for tactile receptiveness. Higher levels of anxiety in children with ADHD are associated with hyper-responsibility to sensory stimuli.
- Social difficulties: Many people with ADHD may find socializing difficult. These difficulties can arise for several reasons, including inattentiveness leading to missing social cues or difficulty “taking turns” speaking.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is typically described by three main types:
- Primarily inattentive ADHD
- Primarily hyperactive ADHD
- Combined type ADHD
The diagnosed type of ADHD is typically dependent on the symptoms present, their severity, and their frequency. Those who primarily experience inattentive symptoms are typically diagnosed with inattentive type. Those who primarily experience hyperactive symptoms are diagnosed with hyperactive type. Those with an equal balance of symptoms are diagnosed with combined type.
Science of ADHD
ADHD is a complex disorder thought to relate to differences in dopamine and norepinephrine regulation in the brain. These hormones are related to reward, motivation, and fight-or-flight reflexes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ADHD is most commonly diagnosed among boys. The same is true for adults, with men receiving more diagnoses than women. Many children with ADHD have additional disorders, such as anxiety disorders or behavioral disorders.
Alter Wellness Care’s Programs
ADHD is a complex, stigmatized, and often isolating condition. As a result of their symptoms and this stigma, people with ADHD may struggle to maintain social lives, do well in work or school, or go about their daily lives.
At Alter Wellness Care, located in Laguna Beach, California, we believe that a world without stigma is a stronger, healthier world for everyone. Our mental health services are designed to support those with ADHD in their journeys toward better mental health.
We offer three main programs: two intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and one partial hospitalization program (PHP).
Our Intensive Outpatient Programs
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a clinical care program designed to support those who need mental health support. We offer two IOP levels: IOP5 and IOP3. Both IOPs are best suited for those seeking a more structured care environment.
IOP5 lasts a total of 40 to 60 days. During their stay, our clients have access to top-notch, compassionate care Monday through Friday, offered several times a day. When not in treatment, clients stay in a comfortable, safe sober living house near our clinic.
Our other program, IOP3, lasts a total of 30 to 40 days. While in our care, clients can choose to either attend two morning sessions in their therapy group or two afternoon sessions. Like our other programs, clients can return to a local sober living house when not in therapy, ensuring their safety and convenience.
Our Partial Hospitalization Program
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a mental healthcare program that treats people facing mental health challenges. Our PHP offers a more flexible treatment program. It is especially recommended for those seeking more freedom than traditional hospitalization programs can offer.
Our PHP lasts 30 to 45 days. Clients in this program choose to attend several therapy sessions offered three to five days a week Monday through Friday. To ensure their treatment program is as comfortable and easy as possible, clients return to a local sober living house when not in treatment.
Our Treatment Modalities
We believe treatment shouldn’t be a band-aid. Effective treatment should consider all aspects of an individual’s life. As such, we provide a wide variety of services designed to help our clients heal. Our treatment options are holistic, scientifically backed, and trauma-informed:
- Psycho-educational groups
- Skills development groups
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) groups
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Support groups
- Interpersonal process groups
- Acceptance therapy
Alter Wellness Care, located in Laguna Beach, California, offers holistic, evidence-based treatment for those with ADHD or other disorders. To learn more about your options, call (866) 515-1580.