Societal Expectations Impact Women with ADHD

When looking at both men and women with ADHD, the underlying mechanisms of adult ADHD are the same. Both men and women have difficulties with planning, organization, paying attention and in the ability to recall details. It is however important to look at how ADHD’s symptoms are tied to gender differences with reason for these differences to be tied to society expectations.

Male vs. Female with ADHD

When looking at children, boys are diagnosed almost three times as often as girls. Besides other outwardly observable behaviors typical of ADHD, inattention issues more commonly seen with females are more subtle than the typical hyperactivity behaviors of boys, allowing many girls to slip through the cracks for both diagnosis and treatment due to the societal expectations involved. In adulthood the ratio of men versus women being diagnosed drops from three times as often in childhood to two times as likely indicating that more women are diagnosed later in life.

Is it ADHD or Not?

In adulthood, men and women do exhibit different symptoms. Men with ADHD tend to have more episodes of anger and behavioral issues, car accidents, and substance abuse; women are more likely to see conflict at home where they may often feel overwhelmed. Evaluation by a qualified psychiatrist or mental health professional is critical as men typically have those similar issues in general without having ADHD. The same occurs for women – women with ADHD are more prone to having an eating disorder, having low self-esteem, depression and anxiety – however women in the general population experience these issues as well allowing societal expectations for these symptoms to appear “normal.”

Society Expectations

Society’s expectations for those women with ADHD makes them harder to achieve. In the U.S., women’s traditional social roles include being the organizer, planner, the one expected to remember birthdays, anniversaries, school events, the one who have primary responsibility for child care, household tasks including cooking, laundry and cleaning, grocery shopping which need to be accomplished in addition to work and child rearing. For a woman with ADHD trying to “manage it all” is almost impossible without proper diagnosis and treatment.

Later Diagnosis for Women with ADHD

If you feel overwhelmed, have difficulty pulling everything together and keeping it together, have episodes of depression, anxiety and feelings of not being “as good” as other women you know, give the office a call. You may have adult ADHD which can be successfully treated, allowing you to live your life more fully and more confidently.

EEG Biofeedback and Adult ADHD

EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy is a relatively new technique that has provided patients positive results when included as part of their therapeutic treatment plan. Mental health professionals have found that EEG Biofeedback delivers individual benefits for those diagnosed with adult ADHD. Many patients often report benefits that rival ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, with positive results lasting for years, allowing these patients to remain medication free.

What is Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback?

The terms of Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback are interchangeable, describing treatment that utilizes a computer to measure brainwave activity or the electrical activity of the brain while thinking about or performing specific tasks. This feedback is presented initially on a computer monitor, where through training and practice, a person learns how to change the manner in which their brain functions. The goal of EEG Biofeedback with adult ADHD is to teach a person how to produce a mental state that is not only appropriate to a situation, but allows them to use it on a daily basis to exhibit successful behaviors at home, work, school or social situations.

Neurofeedback Clinic near Atlanta

Dr. Darvin Hege, an adult ADHD psychiatrist, works closely with CRG – Cognitive Rehab of Georgia for those patients that need adjunct therapy added to their comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Dr. Hege provides his decades of experience in developing and strategizing an individual mental health treatment plan that works, referring to a select few medical associates in the community.

Meeting Unique Needs of Adults with ADHD

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential comprehensive evaluation. The unique needs for adults with ADHD are covered through use of multiple interventions that may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, EEG Biofeedback and other compensatory strategies in designing a treatment plan that is as individual as you are.

Summertime and Adult ADHD

Summer is a season often looked forward to all year. Summertime is often viewed as a time to sit back and relax, go on vacation, sleep in, and enjoy backyard BBQs with friends. With longer daylight hours it seems that activity time is often extended into the evening. Summertime for adults with ADHD however often brings feelings of being overwhelmed by the more active pace, an increased number of projects or activities started that do not seem to get finished, and busy schedules that leave little time to “gather one’s thoughts.”

Plan for Summertime with ADHD

Share with your mental health professional how your emotions or behavior changes during the summer. Medication management may help relieve many if not all of the added stress and changed routines encountered during the summertime. Planning ahead is a great idea as well. Limit your activity schedule to an amount you feel comfortable with. Keep a check on your “yes” answers to summer invites and responsibilities. Plan to work on only one project at a time with a goal of completion by the middle or end of summer – having an outline of “to do’s” will help keep your focus on task.

Need for Adult ADHD Medications during the Summertime

Working with an experienced adult ADHD psychiatrist allows the two of you to make medication adjustments when needed to keep your ADHD symptoms on an even keel. Being able to enjoy summertime may include staying on your ADHD medications as prescribed. Stopping medication just when life throws changed routines, a faster pace of activity, or busy schedules at you makes for increased difficulty with maintaining control and in feeling overwhelmed. Summertime may be the season you need your ADHD medications more than ever.

Keeping Summertime Simple with Adult ADHD

Some ideas to help plan for a simple summertime follow:

  • Summer activities selected need to be something you really want to accomplish and ones that can realistically be completed over the summertime. While some activities are often hard and a responsibility, having only one to work on at a time will reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Allow yourself extra time if possible after a vacation to transition back from fun to work. Coming home from vacation usually involves work that includes laundry, grocery shopping, cleanup and other errands – coming back on one day and going back to work the next may cause stressors that overwhelm you.
  • Schedule and plan for the essential responsibilities like paying the bills on time, picking up your prescriptions on time so you do not run out, keeping to your household schedule of grocery shopping or making dinner, and cleaning up after yourself. Very often it is these “little” but important things that overwhelm when you discover you missed paying the electric or phone bill and are faced with the hassle of disconnection, you have no clean clothes to wear as you forgot to finish the laundry, or you run out of gas on the way to work because you ran out of time the day before.

All Seasons

No matter what season it is, life can become overwhelming and feels like your life is spinning out of control. Make the call to the Atlanta area psychiatrist with over two decades of experience successfully treating those with adult ADHD who have issues in the summertime or anytime during the year.

College Transitions with Mental Health Disorders

College students with psychiatric disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 amendments. The University of Washington through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education reports that tens of thousands of adult students report having a mental illness. Students with mental illness may experience symptoms that interfere with their educational goals and create a “psychiatric disability.”

Mental Health Intervention for College Transitions

Without mental health intervention, proper medication if prescribed as part of the treatment plan, or adjunct services, college students with mental health issues may experience severe disturbances in thinking, emotions or functional life skills. These disturbances may bring a diminished capacity to cope with the demands and stress of college life, which include a time of significant transition, a new lifestyle, friends, an alternate way of thinking, and exposure to new cultures along with the pressure of academic rigor and expectations.

College Transitions and Substance Abuse

Academic demands, new peer pressures, and poor ability to adapt and cope to the new environment of a college campus may result in students struggling with mental health or psychiatric disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse report 45% of college students binge drink and almost 21% abuse prescription or illegal drugs, often due to the students’ struggle to feel adequate and cope with their new life situations. Partnering with a qualified college transition psychiatrist can help steer the college student toward positive management of both their psychological issues and academic success.

Symptoms of College Psychiatric Disability

Some of the most common symptoms exhibited by adult students with developing psychiatric disabilities include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Exhibiting increased anxiety, fear, suspicion, or blaming of others
  • Confused or disorganized thinking
  • Denial of obvious problems and resistive to offers of help
  • Displays of extreme highs or lows in mood
  • Marked personality changes over time
  • Talking about or thinking about suicide

College Transition Psychiatrist

Developing a strategy and treatment plan, as well as stabilizing any psychiatric issues, can help to minimize psychological and mental health issues that would otherwise prevent a successful first college experience. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

ADHD or Something Else?

ADHD diagnosis can be difficult especially when the signs and symptoms are not easily distinguished from other mental health disorders. ADHD can appear to be depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. A variety of medical and psychiatric disorders can also mimic symptoms of ADHD. Without an accurate diagnosis you may be prescribed medication that not only does not help alleviate symptoms but may worsen the medical mental-health connections.

ADHD Diagnosis

Adult ADHD is typically diagnosed following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation that considers childhood symptoms, medical history, personal history, and whether there is a history of substance or alcohol abuse. Receiving an accurate careful diagnosis from an experienced ADHD doctor or mental health practitioner is the right start to a successful treatment plan.

Shared Symptoms and Behavioral Patterns

Adult ADHD shares some symptoms and behavioral patterns with those diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Many of the same symptoms are shared among the different psychiatric diagnoses. An accurate diagnosis is needed for proper treatment. Psychological studies have indicated that misdiagnosis of those with mood and behavioral disorders are quite common.

Symptoms of ADHD, Depression, Anxiety & Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of ADHD are experienced with varied degrees of severity. Some of the more common symptoms which may point to a diagnosis of adult ADHD include:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details
  • Trouble paying attention to work that requires mental effort
  • Often not listening when others are directly talking to you
  • Problems with organizing tasks and activities
  • Easily distracted or finding oneself daydreaming throughout the day
  • Feeling like you are on the go with difficulty staying seated for any length of time
  • Finds self easily agitated or angered with low tolerance for stressful situations
  • Displaying hyperactive and impulsive behavior, difficulty waiting their turn

Adults with ADHD may not experience a loss of energy or overall feelings of sadness that those with depression may suffer, however those with adult ADHD may become demoralized by their poor performance and frequent criticism from family or supervisors at work. A qualified psychiatrist will make the distinction between clinical depression and demoralization.

Some of the symptoms of depression that may appear as symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering appointments and dates
  • Irritability, restlessness and hostility
  • Feeling anxious with low tolerance for stress
  • Insomnia, waking up too early, or oversleeping
  • Difficulty with problem solving and making decisions
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling “worn down”
  • Feelings of unhappiness, pessimism, guilt and worthlessness

Those that have both ADHD and anxiety disorder may experience panic attacks, social anxiety and excessive worry. Those with ADHD may exhibit anxiety with worry about their forgetfulness, disorganization, poor ability to complete tasks or follow through on tasks adequately. Anxiety may be exhibited by

  • Persistent restlessness
  • Poor attention
  • Low tolerance for stress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to relax

A skilled ADHD psychiatrist is able to make the determination between a person that has anxiety with ADHD and a person who has dual diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety disorder.

Bipolar disorder in the mania phase also exhibits symptoms that mimic ADHD complaints such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feelings of exuberance and euphoria
  • Being easily distracted
  • Poor ability to concentrate

Bipolar disorder in the depressive phase may exhibit the same symptoms as are noted in the depression and ADHD section above.

Correct Diagnosis the First Step to Correct Treatment

Make the call to Dr. Hege’s office for a confidential appointment, an expert in diagnostic evaluation and treatment of ADHD and other conditions.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. with the National Institute of Drug Abuse estimating that 20% of the U.S. population have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point in their lives. With data only looking at those who have overdosed on prescribed medication and have been abusing them, the numbers point to more than 8 million citizens with a prescription drug addiction at any one time.

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

Addiction causes compulsive drug seeking and use even when harmful consequences are involved. While many may think of illegal drugs when talking about a drug addiction, the number of “legal addicts,” or those with a prescription drug addiction continue to rise. Abusing drugs whether legal or illegal, lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function which have a negative impact on one’s personal or professional life. Addiction is a chronic often relapsing brain disorder.

Common Medications of Prescription Drug Addiction

There are three classes of medications that are typically abused with prescription drug addiction taking over a person’s life. The three classes are 1) opioids, 2) stimulants, and 3) central nervous system depressants.

  • Opioids – may be used effectively to treat pain on a short term basis; used long-term they may lead to prescription drug addiction and physical dependence. Over-use can easily lead to a life threatening overdose. Prescription medications properly prescribed and taken are not an addiction, however if the need for more and more opioids begins to take a front seat in your life it may be time to seek help. Working with a qualified addiction psychiatrist is the best option for breaking the hold prescription drug addiction has on you.
  • Stimulants – may be used to treat medical issues of ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy and numerous other problems. Working with an experienced mental health professional the use of these medications has proven effective for millions of people with a specific diagnosis such as ADHD, ADD, or depression for example. Using these medications for enjoyment can quickly turn into a difficult to stop prescription drug addiction. It may even be possible that these medications may be what the doctor prescribes after a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Central nervous system depressants – medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan may be used to treat anxiety, panic, insomnia, and sleep disorders. These medications work by decreasing brain activity resulting in a calm or drowsy state. These medications can quickly become both physically and psychologically addicting and are prescribed on a short-term basis if at all possible. Having a seasoned prescription drug addiction doctor working with you is the top choice when your well-being, mental and physical health are involved.

Local Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

Help is as close as your phone. Give our office a call to set up an appointment.

ADHD Tipping Point

Many adults with undiagnosed or diagnosed ADHD find they are able to compensate for their adult ADHD challenges, keeping stress in check just enough to cope with their normal routine life situations.  They may have been able to adapt well enough to “hide” or disguise some of their adult ADHD symptoms until one day they find their strategies are no longer working – they have reached an ADHD tipping point where they feel overwhelmed by a life change that has been thrown them headfirst into chaos and disorganization.

ADHD Tipping Point Triggers

ADHD tipping point triggers typically involves a life change of some sort. The type of life change can be any one of a number of reasons that inevitably make one feel that things are no longer going well, leaving them with old coping strategies that no longer work. The ADHD tipping point may come with a job change, a move, having a child, going back to school, being promoted at work, getting married or divorced, buying a home; any number of daily life events can be the ADHD trigger point where life seems to be falling apart to the point that the pieces cannot be reassembled without professional help.

Common Symptoms 

Very often the ADHD tipping point is not under your control. Seeking out a mental health professional can help you through the crossroad of change and help you get your life back on track. The crossroad of change gives you the choice of staying on the road to chaos or finding new ways to cope. An adult ADHD psychiatrist may determine the need for medication and other adjunct therapies to help you build new ways to live with adult ADHD. Some of the common ADHD tipping point symptoms include:

  • Poor ability to cope after significant life changes, both positive and negative. Some people with ADHD experience their first tipping point after a significant life change, even a positive one such as getting married, buying a home, having a baby, getting married or moving into a new living situation. Life changes usually bring new or different expectations and responsibilities.
  • Difficulty with a successful transition into a new work role or position. While a different career, job duties, a promotion, or even a new job position may have been just what you were hoping for. With a little time you may discover your skill or ability to do the job is not working out well. You may start to look at work as a place of doom and gloom. Overtime, your ADHD tripping point may actually get you demoted from a new position or may even get you fired.
  • Changes in family dynamics. With today’s culture of combining households and turning a one-family house into a two-family house come with new responsibilities, changes in household routines, and adapting to living with added stress from having “more mouths to feed and care for.” Additional household members could be an elderly parent, a child and their spouse, a new roommate or two, a new baby, an adopted child or foster child. Your ADHD tipping point may be overtaxed by all the change and can leave you feeling guilty and ashamed that you cannot handle the new situation.
  • Decreased activity levels can be an ADHD tipping point. People who are normally active, on the go, participate in regular exercise, or follow a routine exercise and activity regime find that when their exercise and activity levels decrease they slowly start to “fall apart.” Regular exercise helps to create structure and routine which in turn helps to manage ADHD symptoms better. Decreased activity and exercise levels may be due to family responsibilities, an injury, illness, change in working hours, and even changing weather patterns.

Psychiatric Help

Anyone can face a tipping point in our life. Being able to successfully negotiate past and learn from these tipping points helps us to grow in many different ways. Those with Adult ADHD tipping points can use their strengths of creativity, adventure, and “thinking outside the box,” to work with a trained ADHD psychiatrist to change the outcome into a positive one. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Adult ADHD: Which Type Are You?

There is more to adult ADHD than a diagnosis and the doctor writing a prescription. With three subtypes of adult ADHD, there are treatment differences revolving around the type that you have. Receiving a diagnosis is not enough – developing an individual treatment focus and design around your needs is what makes for a successful outcome.

Three Types of Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD can have a crippling effect on a relationship, a job, friendships, and overall satisfaction with life. There are three subtypes of ADHD identified. Two of the types of adult ADHD are “Inattentive,” and “Hyperactivity-Impulsivity.” The third type is the Combined type, the one most commonly diagnosed, where there is both hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsive Type of ADHD

Those who have the predominantly “Hyperactive – Impulsive” type of adult ADHD show symptoms of both hyperactivity and impulsiveness; they do not have enough of the inattention symptoms to meet the criteria for an inattention subtype diagnosis. This is the least common type of ADHD. Symptoms include:

  • Constant Motion – feeling all “revved up,” constantly on the go
  • Fidgeting – typically frequent shifting in their seat, tapping fingers, getting up and down from their seat throughout an event (movie, dinner, or social situation)
  • Inability to Relax – difficulty sitting still for quiet activities like watching TV, relaxing or listening to soft music
  • Talking too much, difficulty listening
  • Talking out of turn, blurting out comments, jumping in to other’s conversations you were not a part of
  • Forgetfulness, disorganization, and frequently “losing” items you need
  • May take part in risky behaviors
  • Having low frustration tolerance
  • Difficulty controlling temper or coping with stress

Symptoms of Inattentive Type Adult ADHD

Those with the inattentive type do not typically display symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsive behaviors but do not have enough of the symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsive behaviors to meet the criteria for the diagnosis of inattentive or impulsive subtype. The symptoms of Inattentive adult ADHD include:

  • Failing to pay attention and stay focused
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Avoiding tasks that require effort or are challenging
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty with following or understanding directions or instructions
  • Impulsive decisions or behavior
  • Forgetfulness as well as losing needed items to complete a task
  • Not paying attention to detail
  • Problems with maintaining a relationship or a job

Combined Type ADHD Symptoms

Being diagnosed with the combined type of adult ADHD means that you may have symptoms from both the Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive types of ADHD. Working with a specially trained adult ADHD psychiatrist pairs experience with a successful history of developing individual treatment and medication plans that work.

Call Dr. Hege for an appointment convenient for your work and home-life schedules.

ADHD Vyvanse and Menopause Issues

A study published in the June 2015 Journal of Psychopharmacology reports widespread cognitive decline of menopausal women.  The areas of cognitive decline affect executive functions, most notably difficulties with time management, organization, memory, attention and problem solving. With approximately 90 million post-menopausal women in the U.S. with an average age of 52 at onset, these women live in a post-menopausal state for almost 1/3 of their lives.

Prior to this study, I hadn’t seen objective studies of ADHD like syndrome emerging during menopause, but I had seen numerous women presenting with suspected ADHD during menopause. My history taking with these women almost always reveals a history of pre-existing ADHD or sub-threshould multiple ADHD like symptoms. Regardless of the origin of the ADHD like symptoms, Vyvanse and other psychostimulants typically are quite helpful.

ADHD Vyvanse Dual Use

The medication Vyvanse primarily used in the treatment of adult ADHD, has also successfully treated cognitive issues of menopausal women promoting healthy cognitive aging as a major public health goal.  ADHD Vyvanse research data shows a 41% overall improvement in executive function deficits compared to those receiving a placebo medication.

Benefits of Vyvanse Treatment

Vyvanse, also known as lisdexamfetamine or LDX, not only improves executive function in menopausal women, the medication has also been proven to show significant improvements in rating four out of the five subscales used in mental health evaluation and diagnosis which include:

  • Organization and motivation for work
  • Attention and concentration
  • Alertness, effort, and processing speed
  • Working memory and accessing recall

Comprehensive Evaluation Critical for Correct Diagnosis

Study results show that ADHD Vyvanse, LXD or lisdexamfetamine, show significant positive results. It is crucial however to confirm that the complaints of cognitive changes including loss of memory, or issues with executive function abilities are tied to the transition to menopause and do not point to another pathological cognitive impairment. Working with a psychiatrist experienced in this field is mandatory for a correct diagnosis or diagnoses to build the proper medication and treatment plan upon.

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential and comprehensive evaluation to determine the best course of treatment to meet your needs.

ADHD Medication Vacations – Taking a Break

Many adults on ADHD medication look to take a medication “holiday” or “vacation” for two days, a week, or even for the summer. For those that do take a break from their ADHD medication many report that they want a break from the side effects, others may feel that they want an option to be “control free” where they choose to stop taking their prescriptions at various times during the year. Still others may take a med vacation wanting to see if it is the medications that have made a positive difference in their life or if their ADHD has resolved or become a non-issue.

When ADHD Becomes Symptom Free

Adults with ADHD who are taking prescription medication for the disorder may begin to notice that their old symptoms have significantly decreased or find they have been symptom free for several months. The decision to not only take a holiday from the medications but to discontinue their prescribed med regime is a common road that thousands will travel down every day. Of the thousands with adult ADHD who do decide to “just stop” their daily dosage, the majority do so without the help and guidance of an experienced ADHD psychiatrist or mental health practitioner.

Management of Drug-Free ADHD with Doctor 

While taking a break or “holiday” from ADHD drugs can be fine for most, it is important to work with your psychiatrist for follow-up appointments and good management of any symptoms or problems that may occur by discontinuing the ADHD medications. What may work could be a medication reduction without totally discontinuing your routine meds. Keeping your ADHD doctor in the loop is a crucial component to properly managing your behaviors, personality changes, or annoying symptoms.

Potential Risks of Stopping ADHD Drugs

Taking a vacation from ADHD medications does not typically turn into a dangerous situation, but there are some potential risks that need to be considered. Some of the most common risks are:

  • Side effects from stopping and then restarting medications too quickly without the guidance of a qualified practitioner
  • Development of problems at work or school
  • Problems cropping up that affect relationships, friends, or family
  • Social alienation
  • Reckless or impulsive behaviors start to occur

ADHD Benefits with Consistent Use

Numerous studies have shown evidence that adults with ADHD who take their medication regularly build and improve their executive functions and higher level cognitive processing as well as performing better socially than those with ADHD who do not take medication. In addition the ADHD drugs deliver improved attention, focus, and the ability to self-control hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.

Make the call to Dr. Hege to discuss your situation and determine the treatment plan that fits your lifestyle the best.