Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

ADHD Treatment in Florida

Updated Last June 1, 2024
Published By: Facility Staff

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It’s  characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviors. It can impact a person’s daily functioning, self-esteem, and overall quality of life.

Understanding ADHD’s symptoms, underlying causes, and effective treatment options is crucial for those affected and their family members. 

Learn about the different ADHD subtypes, challenges, and effective management and support strategies we offer at Mark Behavioral Health to help those with ADHD live happier, more fulfilled lives.

Quick Facts on ADHD

  • People affected: Around 6 million young people and adolescents have an ADHD diagnosis in the U.S. 8.7 million adults (2.5%) in the U.S. have ADHD.
  • Gender differences: The prevalence of ADHD diagnoses is twice as high in boys compared to girls (13% vs. 6%).
  • Diagnoses: Cases of ADHD in females are underdiagnosed due to a lack of research.
  • Duration: Around 50% of childhood ADHD cases continue into adulthood.
  • Symptoms: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention
  • Co-occurring conditions: anxiety disorders, depression, autism spectrum disorder, conduct disorder, learning disabilities and oppositional defiant disorder.
  • Complications: ADHD can cause problems in relationships, school, work, and with law enforcement.
  • Treatments: FDA-approved ADHD medications and therapy can help manage symptoms.
  • Economic impact: Unmanaged ADHD creates a $122.8 billion cost to society due to unemployment and pressure on healthcare systems.

What Causes ADHD?

Despite extensive research, the exact causes of ADHD are not entirely clear. But evidence suggests a combination of genetic and environmental contributors:

  • Genetics: ADHD tends to run in families, increasing the chances of children inheriting it 
  • Brain injury: Studies into brain trauma and ADHD suggest a potential causal link
  • Environmental exposures: Such as early exposure to lead at a young age
  • Premature birth: Children born prematurely have a higher incidence of ADHD
  • Maternal health: Stress, smoking, and alcohol during pregnancy can cause ADHD in children

Risk Factors for ADHD

While causes are direct contributors to ADHD, risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

Risk factors for ADHD include:

  • Premature birth and high birth weight 
  • Neonatal diseases such as hypoglycemia and hyperbilirubinemia
  • Lower maternal education
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Exposure to environmental toxins such as lead
  • Maternal substance exposure during pregnancy

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD symptoms vary among individuals and ADHD types, often changing with age. While some people experience a decrease in symptoms as they grow older, others continue to face challenges that affect their daily lives. 

The most common symptoms of ADHD across different age groups include:

  • Impulsiveness: Acting without much thought can lead to hurried decisions and potentially risky behaviors
  • Disorganization and difficulty prioritizing: Struggling to keep things in order affects the ability to tackle tasks efficiently
  • Poor time management: Problems with allocating time effectively can result in missed deadlines and meetings
  • Focus issues: Difficulty maintaining attention on tasks leads to incomplete projects and difficulty multitasking
  • Restlessness: A constant feeling of needing to move or be busy can manifest as an inner sense of unease in adults
  • Challenges with planning: Difficulties planning ahead can impact both personal and professional life
  • Low frustration tolerance: Easily becoming frustrated can lead to mood swings and anger outbursts
  • Completion difficulties: Problems with following through on tasks and commitments
  • Hot temper: Quick to anger in situations that others might find manageable
  • Stress management issues: Struggling to cope with stress can leave the person overwhelmed by daily activities

Adults with ADHD may not always recognize these behaviors and feelings as symptoms of a disorder. Instead, they may view their challenges as personal failures rather than manageable issues related to ADHD.

Types of ADHD

ADHD manifests in three main subtypes: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined ADHD. 

Each of these has distinct symptoms that can affect the person’s ability to function in their everyday life. 

Inattentive Type

Inattentive type is the most common form of ADHD. People with this type may struggle to pay attention to details, appear forgetful, or be easily sidetracked. 

This makes organization and meeting deadlines tricky. In a child’s behavior, this may also manifest as daydreaming and an inability to finish schoolwork.

Medications can help in managing symptoms. These may include stimulant medications (amphetamines and methylphenidate), antidepressants, and nonstimulant medications.

Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy can also help adults with ADHD by improving self-regulation and changing behavior.

Hyperactive Impulsive Type

Hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD is the second-most common ADHD type. People with this type may display restlessness and difficulty staying still for long periods of time. Young children may fidget and squirm in their seats, appearing uncomfortable. 

Common symptoms of hyperactivity include an incessant need to fidget or tap hands and feet, an inability to partake in leisure activities quietly, and a tendency towards excessive talking. Those with this type struggle to control their impulses, often interrupting others and struggling to wait their turn.

As with inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD can be managed with medication, behavioral interventions and therapies. 

Combined Type

Combined type ADHD is identified when an individual displays characteristics of both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types. 

Although physical hyperactivity may be less evident in adults, the symptoms, especially inattention, present significant challenges.

Adults with combined type ADHD might also struggle with tasks requiring prolonged focus. This can create problems in professional environments where planning, multitasking, and meeting deadlines are crucial.

Adults with combined type ADHD often experience co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Treatment methods that address both the core symptoms and the associated emotional and behavioral challenges are key in helping these adults thrive.

Effects of Untreated ADHD

Leaving ADHD unaddressed can have a serious impact on a person’s life and well-being. The person’s mental health, employment, relationships, financial stability and potential for substance abuse can all be affected.

Complications of untreated ADHD may lead to:

  • Mental health challenges: People with untreated ADHD are at a higher risk of developing secondary mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Relationship strain: Issues with attention, impulsivity, and managing daily responsibilities can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and resentment.
  • Increased substance abuse risk: Impulsivity and the struggle to cope with unmanaged symptoms can lead a person to abuse substances as a form of self-medication. 
  • Workplace difficulties: Careless mistakes and challenges with completing tasks, maintaining focus, and time management can compromise job performance and stability. 
  • Financial instability: Impulsive spending and challenges in managing bills and savings can contribute to a cycle of financial stress.

Treatment for ADHD at Mark Behavioral Health

At Mark Behavioral health, we offer tailored services that can be combined to meet each person’s unique needs for ADHD care.

Residential Programs

The residential programs for ADHD that we offer provide a supportive setting that focuses on therapeutic interventions and skill development. 

These help individuals and their families understand and manage ADHD symptoms while improving executive functions like organization and time management. A consistent routine and environment free from everyday distractions help participants embed their new coping strategies. 

This holistic approach ensures that individuals with ADHD receive comprehensive care that addresses their psychological, educational, and social needs, promoting overall well-being and personal growth.

Crisis Stabilization and De Escalation Services

Our crisis stabilization services offer immediate, intensive support for those experiencing a severe mental health crisis. These services help to alleviate the severe emotional dysregulation and behavioral outbursts associated with ADHD. 

The de-escalation techniques used help you regain emotional and behavioral control, preventing the situation from escalating further. This supports you during mental health episodes and sets the foundation for treatment moving forward.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Our cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) programs can specifically target adult ADHD symptoms. These psychotherapy programs focus on essential life skills and emotional well-being, including emotional self-regulation, impulse control, and stress management.

With many adults with ADHD experiencing comorbid anxiety and depression, our programs provide relief and strategies that benefit overall mental health, beyond the symptoms of ADHD alone.

As our clients improve in managing their time and tasks, they develop more positive self-esteem. This creates a positive reinforcement loop, helping them maintain their new adaptive strategies.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) offers a different approach for those struggling with emotional self-regulation issues. It combines cognitive behavioral techniques with validating strategies, such as “radical acceptance,” to help people with ADHD accept themselves and their life circumstances. 

DBT focuses on developing four key skill areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. This method helps to foster a more flexible mindset, balancing self-acceptance with the desire for change through dialectical thinking. 

DBT has shown promising results in treating individuals with ADHD, helping them navigate emotional dysregulation and improve their overall quality of life.

Other Wellness Services

At Mark Behavioral Health, we know that people with ADHD may face a range of other health conditions beyond the direct symptoms of ADHD itself. 

To address these diverse needs, we offer specialized wellness services tailored to support our clients on a case-by-case basis:

  • Grief therapy: For those dealing with the emotions that can arise from loss. People with ADHD have a heightened emotional sensitivity and may feel this more acutely. 
  • sexual trauma therapy: A safe space for healing and coping strategies, acknowledging that sexual trauma can exacerbate ADHD symptoms like anxiety and impulsivity. 
  • Nutritional counseling: Helps manage ADHD through diet, recognizing the connection between nutrition and cognitive function, mood disorders and regulation, and well-being.

These wellness services complement our ADHD treatments, ensuring a holistic approach to care that addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs. 

Top Resources for Florida Residents Facing ADHD

For those in Florida dealing with ADHD, several organizations offer specialized support and resources:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) — a leading organization dedicated to helping adults with ADHD. 
  • National Resource Center (NRC) on ADHD — supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a program of CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, this center offers an ADHD Helpline staffed by specialists.
  • SAMHSA National Helpline — this helpline provides free support for individuals facing mental health and substance abuse issues, including those related to ADHD. 
  • NAMI Helpline — the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers a helpline for answering questions related to mental health concerns, including ADHD. 

These organizations provide a starting point for Florida residents seeking support for ADHD, offering a range of services from informational support to direct helpline assistance.

Find Customized ADHD Care and Support in Florida

A diagnosis of ADHD can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming. But with targeted support and effective strategies, it’s possible to gain control over ADHD, improving focus, organization, and emotional regulation. 

At Mark Behavioral Health, we specialize in providing tailored support to individuals in South Florida. If you’re ready to take the next step in managing your ADHD and transforming your life, we’re here to guide and support you toward a more fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is ADHD diagnosed?

ADHD is diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by adult caregivers or pediatrics that includes clinical interviews, behavioral assessments, and, in some cases, neuropsychological testing. 

Primary care health professionals compare symptoms against established criteria in the DSM-5 standardized behavior rating scales or other ADHD symptom checklists.

How common is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood which often persists into adulthood. Around 4% of adults currently experience ADHD symptoms.

What are the signs you need ADHD treatment?

Signs that you might need ADHD treatment include persistent difficulties with attention, organization, impulsivity, and managing daily tasks.

Can you manage ADHD without medication?

Yes, ADHD can be managed without medication through approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), skills training, and lifestyle changes focusing on diet, exercise, and sleep.

Is ADHD curable?

ADHD is not curable, but it is manageable. Treatment often includes a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments tailored to each person’s unique needs.

Further Reading

  1. Mental Health Disorders
  2. Anxiety Disorders
  3. Bipolar Disorders
  4. Depressive Disorders
  5. Panic Disorders
  6. Schizoaffective Disorder
  7. Schizophrenia

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