Understanding ADHD

By Dr. Jan Hittelman

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect 3-7% of school-age children. For many, these challenges continue into adulthood. There are three types of ADHD; “Predominantly Inattentive”, “Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive”, and a combination of the two (“Combined Type”).

Over the years there have been valid concerns that many children are inaccurately diagnosed as having ADHD. This is problematic in part because medication is often prescribed to treat the disorder. It has been shown that some children, who were initially diagnosed as ADHD, were actually in the early stages of having Bipolar disorder and the ADHD symptoms were a function of the manic component. In these cases, prescribing stimulant medication can actually trigger manic episodes. There have also been instances where children were initially diagnosed with ADHD and it later was determined that their concentration problems were actually a symptom of depression. Finally, there are large numbers of children that were simply misdiagnosed and did not need to be put on medication at all.

To accurately diagnose ADHD there need to be several indicators that together confirm the diagnosis. These would include: feedback from parents, teachers and children themselves; objective evidence based on standardized psychometric tests constructed to assess for ADHD; and meeting the specific criteria developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Too often these critical steps are skipped and medication is prescribed.

Medication Consultation for Seniors

Have All Your Attempts To Feel Better Failed?

Have you tried counseling, perhaps multiple times, and despite putting good effort into it, still experience unwanted symptoms? Have you questioned or feared for a while that something may be inherently wrong with you? Do you have persistent and debilitating feelings and behaviors that you can’t seem to get under control no matter how hard you try? Have you struggled with sleep disturbances, weight fluctuations or significant disparities in energy levels? Have you wondered why maintaining normal routines, a job or relationships seem to be much harder for you than it is for others? Has your partner, or friends or family members expressed concern about shifts in your mood or behaviors? Do you worry every morning about how you will feel, interact with others, or accomplish that day? When you are feeling well, do you constantly fear that a “crash” could come at any moment? Do you think that your life would be much better if you could just figure out a way to stop feeling so up and down?

Throughout life, most people experience some period of time when they’re not feeling and functioning in ways that feel normal. If maintaining feelings of stability are a persistent and an ongoing struggle, however, it may not be a situational occurrence and may not simply go away with time. For some people, an underlying biological imbalance or neurological issue may be a major contributor to the problem.

How You Feel May Not Be Within Your Control

If you have been consistently worried that something is wrong, you may be right. If you feel like you’ve tried everything possible to feel better and have not experienced any lasting results, something biological may be at play. And, it would explain why – regardless of how hard you’ve tried – you are unable to “fix” your feelings and function normally. It is not your fault – you can’t change your biology. If it is biological, medication may make a significant difference is how you feel and interact in the world. If you feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster or if completing normal tasks is an ongoing challenge, it is important that you seek a diagnosis.

You Can Feel Better

Medication has been shown to be extremely effective in mitigating the effects of afflictions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychological disorders. Imagine being able to go to work everyday, having a relationship that lasts more than six months or committing to social engagements without fear of how you’ll be feeling that day.

A consult with a licensed mental health professional can help determine if medication is an appropriate treatment to explore. If it is biological, the right medication can totally change your life. What you’re experiencing may be very treatable. Medication can stabilize your ups and downs. You can stop hoping that you’ll feel better and suffering disappointments when you don’t. You can get off your emotional rollercoaster and actually feel better routinely. Completing tasks and maintaining a daily routine can become very possible.

It may take awhile to figure out the right medication and dosage for you. But, even within the process of working that out, you can experience huge differences in how you feel. The people close to you will notice, too. Many people who have finally been diagnosed with a biologically based disorder and start medication are often shocked by how bad they allowed themselves to feel for so long. And, they are thrilled by how much easier their lives have become.

Medication can help regulate your biology and provide day-to-day stability. Additionally, talking with someone about these issues and learning how to successfully cope with these challenges is often a key component to an effective overall treatment plan. A licensed and experience BPS therapist can help you address the negative impacts to your self-esteem and self-perception caused by years of struggle. While your biology can be changed through medication, your thoughts and the issues they created may remain. The good news is, that with therapy, these feelings can improve, too. Experience shows us that a medication/therapy combination provides the best, long-term and sustainable outcomes to feeling good.

But, you still may have questions or fears…

I’ve struggled and felt bad for so many years. I can’t see anything changing. It never does.

Many people who are finally helped by medication have spent years trying everything under the sun to make their lives better. Understandably, it is extremely hard to keep hoping and being disappointed time and time again. However, IF your issue is biologically based, it’s no wonder that you haven’t been able to fix it.

People who finally get properly diagnosed and begin taking the right medication are often amazed at how quickly their lives improve. Some wish they had come in years before and not continued to struggle a moment longer than was necessary. You may or may not have a diagnosis that can be treated with medication, but isn’t it worth finding out?

I’m afraid to learn that something is actually biologically wrong with me. That’s a hard label to accept.

Yes, that’s a tough one. No one wants to be labeled. But, if a diagnosis could change your life, wouldn’t that be worth it? And, you may be surprised by how many people have undiagnosed conditions like bipolar disorder or, more commonly, depression. These people’s lives have improved in dramatic ways by finally understanding their condition and finding the right treatment. Right now, though, the important part is that you find out. If there are no biological issues, you can finally rule that out and BPS can help you figure out what really is at the root of your difficulties. But, if it is a biological issue, medication may be a key component to treatment success. Either way, you’ve taken the important first step to regaining control over your life and wellbeing, which can lead to feeling better today and in the long-term.

What if I do need medication? What will the cost be? Will there be side effects? Will I have to take meds for the rest of my life?

Once diagnosed, if a medication is prescribed, your psychiatrist will be able to give you information on costs (name brand and generic) and discuss possible side effects with you. He or she will also be able to give you a sense of what the future will look like for you on your medication. Again, until you take the important step of finding out, you’ll continue to wonder and feel poorly. Once you take that step, your BPS psychiatrist and therapist will be available to provide you with information and support as you move into a future of feeling better.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director Dr. Jan Hittelman. We can help make the determination if consulting with a psychiatrist for a diagnosis is necessary. Jan will also work with you to determine what your specific issues are and help to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.

You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with clients with your symptoms and issues.

Medication Consultation for Teens

For psychological disorders, a thoughtful and accurate diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan. What adolescent does not have occasional concentration problems in class? Does this mean that he/she has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Similarly what teen isn’t moody from time to time? Do we diagnosis him/her with Bipolar Disorder? Many mental health professionals would agree that these two disorders are highly over diagnosed in children and adolescents. This is a significant concern because both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are typically treated with strong psychoactive drugs. Once diagnosed, patients may be on these drugs for the rest of their lives. The accuracy of a diagnosis is a function of gathering information from multiple sources and thoughtfully ruling out other variables that may better explain the symptoms. For example poor concentration is also a symptom of depression. Some would argue that mood swings are a normal function of hormonal changes in adolescence. We encourage you to consider schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by Dr. Jan Hittelman, BPS Director. We will work with you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and if medication is indicated.In the end the cost of a thorough assessment may be far less than the impact of an incorrect diagnosis.

Medication Consultation for Young Adults

For psychological disorders, a thoughtful and accurate diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan. What college student does not have occasional concentration problems in class? Does this mean that he/she has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Similarly what young adult isn’t moody from time to time? Do we diagnosis him/her with Bipolar Disorder? Many mental health professionals would agree that these two disorders are highly over diagnosed in children and adolescents. This is a significant concern because both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are typically treated with strong psychoactive drugs. Once diagnosed, patients may be on these drugs for the rest of their lives.

The accuracy of a diagnosis is a function of gathering information from multiple sources and thoughtfully ruling out other variables that may better explain the symptoms. For example poor concentration is also a symptom of depression. Some would argue that mood swings are a normal function of hormonal changes in adolescence. We encourage you to consider schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by Dr. Jan Hittelman, BPS Director. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and if medication is indicated. In the end the cost of a thorough assessment may be far less than the impact of an incorrect diagnosis.

Medication Consultation for Children

For psychological disorders, a thoughtful and accurate diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan. What elementary child does not have occasional concentration problems in class? Does this mean that he/she has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Similarly what child isn’t moody from time to time? Do we diagnosis him/her with Bipolar Disorder? Many mental health professionals would agree that these two disorders are highly over diagnosed in children and adolescents. This is a significant concern because both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are typically treated with strong psychoactive drugs. Once diagnosed, patients may be on these drugs for the rest of their lives.

The accuracy of a diagnosis is a function of gathering information from multiple sources and thoughtfully ruling out other variables that may better explain the symptoms. For example poor concentration is also a symptom of depression. Some would argue that mood swings are a normal function of hormonal changes in adolescence. We encourage you to consider schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by Dr. Jan Hittelman, BPS Director. We will work with you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and if medication is indicated.In the end the cost of a thorough assessment may be far less than the impact of an incorrect diagnosis.

Medication Consultation for Adults

Have All Your Attempts To Feel Better Failed?

Have you tried counseling, perhaps multiple times, and despite putting good effort into it, still experience unwanted symptoms? Have you questioned or feared for a while that something may be inherently wrong with you? Do you have persistent and debilitating feelings and behaviors that you can’t seem to get under control no matter how hard you try? Have you struggled with sleep disturbances, weight fluctuations or significant disparities in energy levels? Have you wondered why maintaining normal routines, a job or relationships seem to be much harder for you than it is for others? Has your partner, or friends or family members expressed concern about shifts in your mood or behaviors? Do you worry every morning about how you will feel, interact with others, or accomplish that day? When you are feeling well, do you constantly fear that a “crash” could come at any moment? Do you think that your life would be much better if you could just figure out a way to stop feeling so up and down?

Throughout life, most people experience some period of time when they’re not feeling and functioning in ways that feel normal. If maintaining feelings of stability are a persistent and an ongoing struggle, however, it may not be a situational occurrence and may not simply go away with time. For some people, an underlying biological imbalance or neurological issue may be a major contributor to the problem.

How You Feel May Not Be Within Your Control

If you have been consistently worried that something is wrong, you may be right. If you feel like you’ve tried everything possible to feel better and have not experienced any lasting results, something biological may be at play. And, it would explain why – regardless of how hard you’ve tried – you are unable to “fix” your feelings and function normally. It is not your fault – you can’t change your biology. If it is biological, medication may make a significant difference is how you feel and interact in the world. If you feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster or if completing normal tasks is an ongoing challenge, it is important that you seek a diagnosis.

You Can Feel Better

Medication has been shown to be extremely effective in mitigating the effects of afflictions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychological disorders. Imagine being able to go to work everyday, having a relationship that lasts more than six months or committing to social engagements without fear of how you’ll be feeling that day.

A consult with a licensed mental health professional can help determine if medication is an appropriate treatment to explore. If it is biological, the right medication can totally change your life. What you’re experiencing may be very treatable. Medication can stabilize your ups and downs. You can stop hoping that you’ll feel better and suffering disappointments when you don’t. You can get off your emotional rollercoaster and actually feel better routinely. Completing tasks and maintaining a daily routine can become very possible.

It may take awhile to figure out the right medication and dosage for you. But, even within the process of working that out, you can experience huge differences in how you feel. The people close to you will notice, too. Many people who have finally been diagnosed with a biologically based disorder and start medication are often shocked by how bad they allowed themselves to feel for so long. And, they are thrilled by how much easier their lives have become.

Medication can help regulate your biology and provide day-to-day stability. Additionally, talking with someone about these issues and learning how to successfully cope with these challenges is often a key component to an effective overall treatment plan. A licensed and experience BPS therapist can help you address the negative impacts to your self-esteem and self-perception caused by years of struggle. While your biology can be changed through medication, your thoughts and the issues they created may remain. The good news is, that with therapy, these feelings can improve, too. Experience shows us that a medication/therapy combination provides the best, long-term and sustainable outcomes to feeling good.

But, you still may have questions or fears…

I’ve struggled and felt bad for so many years. I can’t see anything changing. It never does.

Many people who are finally helped by medication have spent years trying everything under the sun to make their lives better. Understandably, it is extremely hard to keep hoping and being disappointed time and time again. However, IF your issue is biologically based, it’s no wonder that you haven’t been able to fix it.

People who finally get properly diagnosed and begin taking the right medication are often amazed at how quickly their lives improve. Some wish they had come in years before and not continued to struggle a moment longer than was necessary. You may or may not have a diagnosis that can be treated with medication, but isn’t it worth finding out?

I’m afraid to learn that something is actually biologically wrong with me. That’s a hard label to accept.

Yes, that’s a tough one. No one wants to be labeled. But, if a diagnosis could change your life, wouldn’t that be worth it? And, you may be surprised by how many people have undiagnosed conditions like bipolar disorder or, more commonly, depression. These people’s lives have improved in dramatic ways by finally understanding their condition and finding the right treatment. Right now, though, the important part is that you find out. If there are no biological issues, you can finally rule that out and BPS can help you figure out what really is at the root of your difficulties. But, if it is a biological issue, medication may be a key component to treatment success. Either way, you’ve taken the important first step to regaining control over your life and wellbeing, which can lead to feeling better today and in the long-term.

What if I do need medication? What will the cost be? Will there be side effects? Will I have to take meds for the rest of my life?

Once diagnosed, if a medication is prescribed, your psychiatrist will be able to give you information on costs (name brand and generic) and discuss possible side effects with you. He or she will also be able to give you a sense of what the future will look like for you on your medication. Again, until you take the important step of finding out, you’ll continue to wonder and feel poorly. Once you take that step, your BPS psychiatrist and therapist will be available to provide you with information and support as you move into a future of feeling better.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We can help make the determination if consulting with a psychiatrist for a diagnosis is necessary. Jan will also work with you to determine what your specific issues are and help to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.

You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with clients with your symptoms and issues.