Individuals who struggle with symptoms of ADHD struggle to succeed in a variety of domains. In children, academic functioning is negatively affected because either the child is too hyperactive or too inattentive. Both of these presentations lead to different struggles in various areas of life which is frustrating to the children and those around them. In addition to academic struggles many kids experience social struggles due to their noticeably different behavior and the negative attribution they receive for it.
For adults, the struggle is seen in the workplace. Most often these individuals have challenges with getting organized, initiating tasks, utilizing working memory, managing frustration, focusing attention, and sustaining effort. As would be expected these same struggles impact an individual’s ability to connect socially and sometimes in creating close romantic relationships.
Behavioral Strategies are the most effective and only nonmedical evidenced based treatment for ADHD. Since many individuals will continue to have symptoms of ADHD, the best thing we can do for them is teach them strategies which allow them to be most successful. For children, a crucial component of behavioral modification is providing parenting strategies in managing the antecedent (what comes before) and the consequences (what comes after) of the behavior. Additionally, collaboration with the student’s teacher is vital so there is some consistency in the way both parents and teachers are engaging and interacting with the youth.
A more traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach is effective in treatment and management of adult ADHD. Part of the reason for this is that individuals who have struggled with ADHD for a long time usually present with strong negative thoughts about their lack of success or inability to do things the way others can. Therefore, in addition to the behavioral interventions and strategies there is often and associated anxiety or depression that must be addressed as well.