What the ADHD!?!?!

‚ÄčTen years ago, if you had a patient come to see you for "ADHD", there was always a suspicion in the back of your mind that this person you were about to see has some alternative drug-seeking motives. You weren't a good clinician unless you entertained the full depth and breadth of possibilities in your mission to help each person walk out of your office a littler healthier than when they walked in. These days, ADHD diagnoses are a dime a dozen, and that's why I wanted to dedicate a few thoughts to this topic.
First off, if you don't know what ADHD is, it's basically an organic brain disorder that hinders your ability to focus: NOT! That's actually the perceived outcome of ADHD, but not what's actually going on in the brain. Inside the brain, you're going through a million thoughts a second, when your "normal" human counterparts are going through like 18. Things get blurred and out of focus because your ADHD brain just moves too fast. You're accused of not being able to prioritize and you are notorious for not completing tasks, not because you don't care or lack the capacity, but because there's simply too many things to do in your mind.
So what is one with ADHD to do? Give up? Take meds? Get therapy? I've seen individuals take all of these approaches, and guess what? They're all OK. Yes, you read correctly, it's OK to give up. You have to realize that we're in this thing called "life" and no matter what popular culture would have us believe, sometimes the best thing is to lay down the sword, and just walk away. Doesn't sound cool or glorious, but we're not in a finite game with life, as stated by Simon Sinek. There's no fourth quarter, no five-second countdown, no buzzer-beater. So when the going gets tough, sometimes in the game of life, and with ADHD, the tough don't get going: woah, right?
Forgiving my authentic use of grammar, let's now focus on the next possibility, medication (and no pun intended). It's essential. It literally puts a clamp on the million thoughts a second and brings an ADHD mind down to the level where it might still be producing an over abundance of thoughts, instantly, but not so that they create a blur. With ADHD medication, you have an impressionist painting, not so much a look-through-wax-paper view. And when it comes to medication, remember that one size does not fit all. Everyone has heard of Adderall and Ritalin, but there are newer medications such as Vyvanse that may be more suitable. This is where you work with your doctor to find the best solution with the least or no side effects.
And finally, therapy. It's difficult to say which one is more important of all these solutions, but therapy is definitely a vital component of the process. Picture a 75-year old patient who just had a hip replacement surgery or a 23-year old who had a torn ACL repair surgery; both will require THERAPY or training on how to proceed through a robust path of recovery. Similarly, an ADHD patient on medication who sometimes just needs to give up, always needs to have therapy on their mind to normalize daily interactions and get the most out of this beautiful life. With therapy, one can establish new habits that serve to enrich the ADHD person's ability to handle the crazy speeds their mind is capable of achieving. And as a final push, just think, whether you crash at 185 mph or 85 mph, the outcomes are usually the same, aka you die! So for ADHD treated with medication only, what I'm trying to say is that your likely outcome is still not desirable, you still need to get help.
With all that said, I would encourage everyone reading this post to share with their friends and family as we get back to the original premise, which is the rise in ADHD. Frankly, I doubt we have changed as a species in the last ten years, but what I suspect is that society has just piled on way too many tasks. I'll talk about this in a later post about memory problems, but suffice it to say that with all there is to do, everyone's "ADHD" is coming out. In addition to sharing, please reach out if you are a professional who deals with ADHD and can offer your services to people looking for help so we can refer anyone who comes our way to see you.
#manythanks #muchlove #hhmd4life
Dr. Emil Avanes Physician Director at Harmony Health MD

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