Being diagnosed with ADHD can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. It’s natural to have questions as simple as, “I have ADHD…now what?”
You may also have concerns about what to do after an ADHD diagnosis and managing your condition. Your first step may be learning as much as you can about ADHD — the symptoms, causes and treatment options — followed by seeking support and self-care. Ultimately you may choose to pursue a specific treatment plan. Medication, therapy or a combination of both are viable options.
Ultimately, it’s okay to take your time deciding and have ups and down in the process. You decide what happens when you get diagnosed with ADHD.
Your ADHD Diagnosis is Your Key to Understanding
An ADHD diagnosis can be a helpful explanation for things you may have struggled with in the past. ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to pay attention and regulate their behavior. It can cause a range of symptoms, including difficulty staying focused, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
If you have struggled with things like paying attention in school or at work, starting and following through on tasks or managing your time effectively, an ADHD diagnosis can provide some much-needed context and understanding. It can also help to explain why you may have struggled with things like organization, memory and social interactions.
While an ADHD diagnosis can be a relief, it’s important to remember that it is just one part of who you are. With the right treatment and support, you can learn to manage your symptoms.
I Have ADHD — Now What?
So, you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Now what? If you have a diagnosis, it likely means you’re already working with a mental health professional, but with a diagnosis in hand, you can seek out a specialist and receive treatment that is tailored to your needs.
It may surprise you to learn that ADHD is fairly common, with 9.8% of children in the United States receiving a diagnosis. Reports suggest that ADHD may be underdiagnosed in girls, making it even more common.
However, excellent treatment options exist. The CDC estimates that 80% of people with ADHD have a noticeable reduction in symptoms when using a control medication. If you’re wondering what to do after an ADHD diagnosis, the first step is to seek treatment.
What Does Treatment for ADHD Look Like?
Treatment for ADHD typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. The type of treatment that is best for you will depend on your specific symptoms and needs.
Some people ask their doctors about medication. ADHD medication is designed to help improve focus, reduce impulsivity, and manage hyperactivity. There are several different types of ADHD medication available, and it’s important to work with your health care team to find the right medication and dosage for you.
Therapy can be an important part of ADHD treatment, as it can help you to learn new skills and strategies for managing your symptoms. This may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you to identify and change negative thought patterns, or social skills training, which can help you to improve your communication and social interactions.
In other cases, the work will be up to you. You may take the time to educate yourself about ADHD and use that information to build a support system for yourself, designed to manage your condition and set you up for success. This can include seeking out resources such as support groups or working with a coach or mentor. It can also be as simple as speaking to family and friends about your concerns.
Last but not least, taking care of yourself is an important part of managing ADHD. This includes getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity. These habits can help to improve your overall well-being and increase your focus, a major consideration when struggling with a daily attention deficit.
What Is Medication Management for ADHD?
Medication management is an important part of treatment for ADHD. The process involves working with your health care team to find the right medication and dosage for your specific symptoms and needs. Here is what medication management for ADHD typically looks like:
- Initial evaluation: Before starting medication, you will likely undergo an evaluation to determine the best course of treatment. This may include a physical exam, a review of your medical history and an assessment of your symptoms.
- Medication selection: ADHD medication can include stimulants and non-stimulants. You can collaborate with your health care team to determine the best medication for your specific symptoms and needs.
- Dosage adjustment: Once you start taking medication, it may take some time to find the right dosage. Your health care team will work with you to find the optimal dosage based on your response to the medication.
- Regular monitoring: It’s important to have regular check-ins with your health care team to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your medication. This may include regular blood tests or symptom assessments.
- Discontinuing medication: If you and your healthcare team determine that medication is no longer needed, you may gradually taper off your medication under medical supervision.
Seeking High-Level Care in a Crisis is Always Okay
It is always okay to seek high-level care in a crisis if you or someone you know is experiencing severe symptoms. ADHD can cause difficulty with self-regulation, impulsivity and difficulty with attention, which can lead to dangerous or potentially harmful situations. Inpatient care, partial hospitalization programs and rehabilitation programs can all be beneficial in a crisis.
If you need immediate help or want to continue with tailored treatment for your ADHD, contact one of the compassionate and skilled mental health professionals at Restore Mental Health. Our counselors are available 24/7 to talk and offer support.