Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ ADHD and Telemedicine

07Aug13

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder vs child attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:

Most adults occasionally experience inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive behaviors from time to time. Every person has an occasional experience of misplacing keys, getting distracted at work, blurting out something on impulse or interrupting inadvertently. However, for adults with ADHD, these symptoms appear more often and may create challenges in the work place. There’s no single laboratory test used to determine an ADHD diagnosis. Unlike other mental disorders such as depression, ADHD does not start in adulthood.  However, many adults who had symptoms of ADHD as children did not get formally diagnosed.  

 The incidental Diagnosis:

Parents of children with ADHD first notice their own ADHD symptoms at the time that their children get diagnosed.  Adult ADHD is a continuation of ADHD from childhood. The main difference is in the type of difficulties and symptoms experienced.  Adults with ADHD are less likely to have intense hyperactivity.  Instead they are more likely to feel restless, fidget a lot, have difficulty relaxing and feel on edge a lot of the time.  A typical ADD adult may have gone through life being constantly misunderstood.  A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder is frequently very liberating to a person who has struggled all of his or her life with symptoms that they could not define or understand.  Smoking, drinking alcohol and, in some cases, drug use are also more common among ADD/ ADHD adults. Adult Attention Deficit Disorder is very prevalent yet said to be both under diagnosed and over diagnosed by many mental health professionals. It is estimated that only 15 % of adults with ADD have been diagnosed and treated; only 1 in 4 of all adults with ADHD was diagnosed in childhood. Experts used to believe that children would grow out of ADHD by the time they were adults. However in recent years, it’s been recognized that ADHD can continue on into adulthood.

 Barriers to treatment:

Many barriers exist to timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment of ADD/ADHD.  Parents frequently avoid diagnosing and treating their children out of fear of identifying their child as being ‘different’ from others.  Some parents cannot tolerate the narcissistic injury of believing that their children are less than perfect. ADD/ADHD treatment for children is frequently terminated prematurely due to mistaking the natural progression of ADD symptoms for improvement.  As ADD symptoms progress from hyperactive/impulsive to inattentive/disorganized, the child is seen as improved and the treatment is terminated too early.  Frequently, adolescents/ young adults, showing symptoms of inattention /disorganization, are viewed as being lazy or in need of harsher parenting. A common misconception is that ADHD affects only children. In fact, 60% of children with ADHD may continue to have symptoms as adults.

 You will not just grow out of it:

Over the years, some adults develop strategies to minimize the impact of ADHD symptoms on their professional and personal life. The average age of an Adult ADD/ADHD patient in treatment is 35. It is not surprising that Adults with ADD/ADHD need the most help in their 20s and 30s, when their lives are the most professionally challenging. Most young professionals do not have a choice of which tasks they must perform themselves and which they can delegate to others. Moreover, most young professionals do not control their work environment. Professionals can frequently improve their ADHD symptoms later in their career by adjusting their work environment, delegating tasks and hiring assistants.

 Psychopharmacology

Stimulant medications have a history of being misused. Metro Medical Direct Health enforces strict policies and procedures that prevent misuse of stimulants, including database checks, strict refill timelines, random pharmacy corroboration and random drug screening.  When clinical possible it is always preferred to use non stimulant treatment options as it is more conducive to a professional working life and demanding working schedule. 

Telemedicine and Coaching:

In an effort to make treatment more effective Metro Medical Direct a web based primary care practice that also provides medical house calls in Manhattan provides telemedicine treatment for Adult ADD by web camera after an  initial face to face evaluation including comprehensive physical exam and lab and EKG work up. This is a great option for the busy professional. 

The medication used to treat ADD is not magic. It allows you to develop the skills needed to start leading a more productive life. For that reason I combine medication management with coaching strategies to help you develop the coping strategies and life skills needed so that you can maintain your gains. 



One Response to “Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ ADHD and Telemedicine”

  1. Interesting to hear about people actually getting treatment through their computer, I am sure it only helps. I think psychologic treatment is the most underused way to help this condition.


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