Attention Deficit Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a condition resulting in symptoms of inability to maintain focus and attention, impulsive behaviors and possibly motor restlessness. ADD is a neurobiological disorder resulting from problems in the dopamine neurotransmitter systems in the brain.

What are the symptoms of ADD?

People who can focus only on things that interest them, and disregard less interesting things may be exhibiting symptoms of ADD. They are often also faced with additional problems such a underachievement, lack of social skills, disorganization, or difficulty completing important tasks. These often result in difficulty with personal relationships, staying employed, or completing an education. People may also stimulate themselves by doing reckless or dangerous activities and thus complicate their lives with physical and legal problems.

Is there a test I can take to tell if I have ADD?

Many books about ADD will have a list of criteria to help in determining whether or not you have ADD symptoms. Keep in mind that these checklists determine only if you have the symptoms, and do not determine the cause of these symptoms. Symptom checklists are like a thermometer: they tell a person that she has a fever, but do not tell her what is causing it. To find out if you have ADD, you will need an evaluation from a knowledgeable professional who is trained in differentiating between the causes of the symptoms.

What kind of medications help treat ADD?

Stimulant medications stimulate certain brain cells to release a greater amount of some of the neurochemicals (dopamine) needed for smooth transmission of messages through the brain. The most common stimulants prescribed are methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) and the amphetamines (Adderall XR, Vyvanse). These medications have been used for over fifty years to treat ADD symptoms, and are considered to be very safe and effective when prescribed appropriately and taken as prescribed.

I’ve heard there are side effects to medications like Adderall and Ritalin. What should I do if I experience those?

At MPP, we believe it’s important to partner with your specialist to help reduce side effects of medication. Your psychiatric clinician will meet with you regularly to help you adjust the timing and/or dosage of your medication so that the side effects will not be problematic. If you are still having too many side effects, your clinician may switch you to a different medication that may work better for you.

I think I may need treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. When can I begin?

At MPP, we are committed to you getting help when you need it. Click here to schedule an appointment with a psychiatric specialist.

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