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Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD Specialists on the Main Line of Philadelphia, in Narberth PA

ADHD Treatment Clinic in Narberth, Philadelphia PA

Do you ever question: What is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD? What causes ADHD? How do I know if I have ADHD? What are symptoms of ADHD? Why can’t I stay focused? Why am I easily distracted? Why is it important to treat ADHD in children? Can I have ADHD as an adult? What medications can treat ADHD? At Psychiatric Associates of Pennsylvania, our board-certified psychiatrists can help to manage ADHD. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located on the Main Line of Philadelphia at 822 Montgomery Ave Suite 208, Narberth, PA 19072. We serve patients from Narberth PA, Philadelphia PA, Wayne PA, Media PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Newtown Square PA, Ardmore PA, Villanova PA, Malvern PA, King of Prussia PA, Abington PA, and surrounding areas.

ADHD Specialists Near Me on the Main Line of Philadelphia, in Narberth PA
ADHD Specialists Near Me on the Main Line of Philadelphia, in Narberth PA

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD) is a brain condition characterized by difficulty concentrating and/or an inability to stay still. Although ADHD is commonly identified in children, at times it may not be apparent until college or even later when work demands become high. For some, the diagnosis of ADHD may be apparent, but for others, specific testing such as psychoeducational assessments may be needed. It is important to be aware that not all focus and attention issues are due to ADHD. Other mental health conditions and even medical conditions can also lead to difficulties in focus and attention. At Psychiatric Associates of Pennsylvania, we can help to diagnose ADHD and other attention-related conditions so that you can get the assistance you need. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located on the Main Line of Philadelphia at 822 Montgomery Ave Suite 208, Narberth, PA 19072.

These are common symptoms of ADHD and they can be treated. At Psychiatric Associates of Pennsylvania, we offer the most advanced treatment options available for ADHD for children and adults.

Table of Contents:

What is ADHD?
What are symptoms of ADHD?
What causes ADHD?
How is ADHD diagnosed?
How is ADHD treated?

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that primarily affects children and often continues into adulthood. Individuals with ADHD typically display persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can interfere with their daily functioning and quality of life.

What are symptoms of ADHD?

The symptoms of ADHD can vary but generally fall into three categories:

Inattention: People with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention to details, sustaining focus on tasks, organizing activities, and following instructions. They may often appear forgetful, easily distracted, and struggle with completing tasks.

Hyperactivity: Hyperactive symptoms include excessive restlessness, fidgeting, and difficulty staying seated or quiet when expected. Children may frequently run or climb excessively and have difficulty engaging in activities quietly.

Impulsivity: Individuals with ADHD may struggle with impulsivity, acting without considering the consequences. They may have difficulty waiting for their turn, interrupting others, and often display impulsive decision-making.

What causes ADHD?

The exact causes of ADHD are not fully understood. However, research suggests that a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors contribute to the development of the disorder. Here are some factors that are believed to play a role:

Genetics: ADHD tends to run in families, indicating a strong genetic component. Studies have identified several genes that may be associated with ADHD, although no specific gene has been identified as the sole cause. It is likely that multiple genes interact with each other and with environmental factors to increase the risk of developing ADHD.

Brain Structure and Function: Brain imaging studies have shown differences in the structure and activity of certain brain areas involved in attention, impulse control, and executive functions in individuals with ADHD. These differences suggest that abnormalities in the brain’s development and functioning may contribute to ADHD symptoms.

Neurotransmitter Imbalance: Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, play a crucial role in regulating attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. It is believed that individuals with ADHD may have imbalances or dysregulation in these neurotransmitter systems, which can affect the brain’s ability to regulate attention and behavior.

Environmental Factors: Prenatal and early-life factors may also contribute to the development of ADHD. Maternal smoking, alcohol or drug use during pregnancy, premature birth, low birth weight, and exposure to environmental toxins have been associated with an increased risk of ADHD. Additionally, factors such as lead exposure, high levels of stress in the family, and chaotic home environments may also contribute to the manifestation of ADHD symptoms.

It’s important to note that while these factors may contribute to the development of ADHD, they do not guarantee the disorder will occur. The interplay between genetic and environmental factors is complex, and more research is needed to fully understand the causes of ADHD.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

The diagnosis of ADHD typically involves a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or pediatrician. The process may involve the following steps:

Diagnostic Criteria: The clinician will refer to the diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which provides guidelines for diagnosing mental health conditions. To meet the criteria for ADHD, the individual must exhibit a sufficient number of symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are pervasive, persistent, and impairing, and must have been present before the age of 12.

Rating Scales and Assessments: The clinician may use standardized rating scales or questionnaires to assess ADHD symptoms. These tools are completed by the individual, parents, teachers, or other relevant individuals to gather information about the frequency, severity, and impact of symptoms across different settings.

Medical and Psychological Evaluation: The clinician may conduct a physical examination to rule out other medical conditions that could be contributing to the symptoms. They may also evaluate the individual’s medical history and inquire about any additional psychiatric or developmental disorders that may coexist with ADHD.

It is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to receive a proper evaluation and diagnosis of ADHD. They will consider the individual’s unique circumstances and tailor the assessment process accordingly.

How is ADHD treated?

ADHD is a complex disorder, and treatment approaches can vary depending on the individual’s age, symptoms, and specific needs. The treatment of ADHD often involves a multimodal approach that combines different interventions. Here are some common treatment options:

Medication: Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) and amphetamines (e.g., Adderall), are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. These medications can help improve attention, reduce hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Non-stimulant medications like atomoxetine (Strattera) and certain antidepressants may also be used. The choice of medication depends on individual factors and should be carefully discussed with a healthcare professional.

Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy focuses on modifying behavior patterns and developing coping strategies. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used to help individuals with ADHD improve time management, organizational skills, and problem-solving abilities. It may also address emotional regulation, social skills, and self-esteem issues. Behavioral therapy can involve individual therapy, family therapy, or group therapy sessions.

Education and Skills Training: Individuals with ADHD can benefit from learning strategies to improve academic or occupational performance. This may involve specialized educational support, such as classroom accommodations, study skills training, or working with educational specialists. Additionally, teaching parents and caregivers effective parenting strategies and providing psychoeducation about ADHD can be helpful in managing symptoms.

Supportive Interventions: Creating a supportive environment can significantly benefit individuals with ADHD. This includes establishing consistent routines, breaking tasks into manageable steps, setting clear expectations, and providing positive reinforcement. Occupational therapy or social skills training can also assist in developing adaptive skills and improving social interactions.

Lifestyle Modifications: Healthy lifestyle habits can complement other treatment approaches. Regular physical exercise, adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques can contribute to overall well-being and symptom management.

Neurofeedback: Neurofeedback is a technique used to fine-tune brainwaves to improve overall brain function.  Evidence has shown that neurofeedback can improve symptoms of ADHD in children and adults. 

Treatment plans are highly individualized, and a combination of approaches is often utilized. Regular monitoring, follow-up visits, and open communication with healthcare professionals are crucial to assess the effectiveness of treatment and make necessary adjustments.  It’s important to work closely with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that suits the specific needs and circumstances of the individual with ADHD.

What are the main causes of ADHD?

A combination of factors may contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), although the exact cause is unknown. ADHD tends to run in families, and your parents’ genes are believed to play a significant role in developing the condition. According to research, parents and siblings of ADHD sufferers are more likely to suffer from it themselves. ADHD, however, is likely to be inherited in a complex manner and does not appear to be caused by a single gene.

In research, many differences between people with ADHD and those without the condition have been identified, although their significance is unclear. Researchers have discovered that certain areas of the brain may be smaller in people with ADHD, while others may be larger. ADHD patients may also have an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain, or these chemicals may not function properly.

How do they test for ADHD?

In order to diagnose ADHD, no single test is available. A person is diagnosed with ADHD when symptoms impact their ability to function and they exhibit some or all of the symptoms regularly for more than six months, and in more than one setting.

Brain waves are measured by the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System. Children and adolescents with ADHD tend to have a higher ratio of certain brain waves. Children ages 6 to 17 can undergo the scan as part of a complete medical and psychological evaluation.

There are other tests that can be used to diagnose medical conditions that mimic ADHD. However, ADHD is not diagnosed by them. Tests may also be conducted in order to rule out other disorders to further complement an ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD is most often diagnosed in children and with the help of standard guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, health care professionals such as pediatricians, psychiatrists, and child psychologists can diagnose ADHD in children. In order to diagnose a child, many sources of information must be gathered, such as schools, caregivers, and parents. It is possible for a healthcare professional to use standardized rating scales to document a child’s behavior based on comparisons with other children of the same age.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

An individual with ADHD experiences executive dysfunction, which means that he or she cannot manage their own emotions, thoughts, or actions on a daily basis. A child with ADHD often has difficulty paying attention, being hyperactive, and behaving impulsively. ADHD may present with a variety of symptoms as there are different forms in which the condition can be subcategorized. However, frequently individuals with ADHD will struggle to manage their behavior, regulate their mood, pay attention, concentrate, stay organized, sit still, or follow directions.

Can I go to a psychiatrist for the treatment of ADHD?

Visit a psychiatrist if you have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or suspect you may have it. An experienced psychiatrist can help you explore treatment options if you are struggling with mental health problems such as ADHD. The ability to prescribe medication is also available to psychiatrists, whereas psychologists cannot. You may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist who is specifically trained in ADHD more than your general practitioner.

Time management, organization, and problem-solving skills can be improved with therapy. Furthermore, it can give someone a sense of control over their lives. Having a greater sense of control over their symptoms will enable them to realize that their symptoms are not personally flawed, but rather the result of living with ADHD. Custom treatment plans will be tailored to each patient’s specific needs to help them manage their condition and live unimpeded by ADHD.

ADHD treatment is available at Psychiatric Associates of Pennsylvania. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are located at 822 Montgomery Ave Suite 208, Narberth, PA 19072. We serve patients from Narberth PA, Philadelphia PA, Media PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Wayne PA, Newtown Square PA, Ardmore PA, Villanova PA, Malvern PA, King of Prussia PA, Abington PA, and surrounding areas.