Q: What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

A: It’s very simple. ADHD includes the symptom of physical hyperactivity or excessive restlessness–that’s the “H”. In ADD (or what is called in the diagnostic manual, ADHD, inattentive subtype), the symptom of hyperactivity is absent. Indeed, people with ADD can be calm and serene, not in the least hyperactive or disruptive.

This syndrome is often found in girls and women, but it also occurs in boys and men. It is often missed, because the absence of hyperactivity leads others to assume the child or adult is simply shy, quiet or slow. In fact, they are dynamos in the making!

Q: What are the positive qualities associated with ADD?

A: People with ADD typically are creative, intuitive, original, and full of positive energy. They tend to be independent

thinkers. They are persistent to the point of being stubborn. They usually are quite sensitive, but often cover this over with a kind of bravado. They are big-hearted and generous. They often have charisma or a special something, a twinkle in the eye, a zany sense of humor, or an ability to inspire others. With the right kind of guidance, these people can become hugely successful in their lives.

Q: What are the negative qualities associated with ADD?

A: People with ADD typically have trouble paying attention and focusing, especially when they are not interested. On the other hand they can super-focus at times. They also can be impulsive and sometimes hyperactive and disruptive. They can have trouble getting organized, prioritizing their activities, managing time, and completing tasks. They can be unaware of the impact they have on others, and so they can be socially awkward or inappropriate. They can be forgetful, inconsistent in follow-through, and often late. They have trouble with planning and what mental health professionals call “executive functioning.” The good news is that treatment can ameliorate or correct all of this, so that the positive attributes can carry the day.

Q: What should treatment for ADD include?

A: Treatment should start with education. You need to learn what ADD is and what it isn’t. You need to understand ADD well enough to embrace it, and realize that while it may be holding you back right now, in time, with the right help, it can propel you to the fulfillment of your dreams. You need to understand what a positive attribute ADD can be in your life.
Once you learn about ADD—its positives and its negatives—then you get to work, with a good guide, a therapist of some sort who understands ADD and takes a strength-based approach, to change whatever it is in your life that is causing you problems. Usually you need to work with a coach to get more organized. You need to get on a regular sleep schedule and build exercise into your life. You need to consider the nutritional aspects of treatment. You will want to reconsider your job or school situation in light of ADD. Various structural changes in your life can make a big difference: the right filing system, the right organization scheme, the right daily schedule.
In addition, you will likely want to talk with your therapist about your family life. If you are a child, some family therapy will help. If you are an adult, couples therapy can make a big difference.
Beyond education, coaching, and therapy, it is important to have a plan for developing your talents and interests. This will take time, but it is key. You build a life not on weaknesses you have repaired, but on talents you have developed. Of course, fixing weaknesses can help you in developing your talents, so the two go hand in hand.

Q: What about medication?

A: When medication works, it works as safely and dramatically as eyeglasses. Medication helps about 80% of the time in the treatment of ADD. Make sure you work with a doctor who can explain the issues around medication to you clearly. Most people do not realize how safe and effective stimulant medications truly are, when they are used properly. Make sure you work with a doctor who has plenty of experience with these medications. The stimulants include medications like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, and others. As long as you take them under proper medical supervision, they can help you immensely.

Q: How about alternative treatments for ADD?

A: I have a completely open mind when it comes to alternative treatments. We have a lot to learn. All you have to be careful of is that whatever you try is safe, and that it has been proven beneficial for at least some people. The alternative treatments that I have solid, positive experience with include: LENS, a form of biofeedback; Learning Breakthrough, cerebellar stimulation in the form of physical exercise; Kolbe coaching, which is based on innovative research into a person’s innate style of solving problems; Cogmed, a computer game geared to improving active working memory; My Sensory Solutions, auditory and sensory stimulation via custom iPod and headphones; Reading plus, a computer home-based program to improve tracking and speed required for reading and comprehension; and various nutritional interventions.

Q: What would you say is the single most important element in a successful treatment program?

A: Above all, what matters most is taking a positive approach. Of course, you need to see a professional who is highly knowledgeable and experienced. But you also want to make sure you see a professional you like, a person you feel understands you or your child, and a person you can be open and real with. Treating ADD takes time, often years, so you want to be sure you are in the hands of a person you trust implicitly, a person you feel cares for you and your family, and, perhaps most important, a person who sees a clear way for you or your child to fulfill your dreams.

Q: How will Trifecta Health Medical Center can help with your ADHD?

A: Trifecta Health Medical Center is dedicated to helping professionals working in the Wall Street / Financial Center area to get rapid relief of their ADD/ADHD symptoms. Trifecta Health provides targeted and efficient, powerful psychopharmacological intervention that can fit into any work day, break time, lunch time or before/after normal business hours. Call trifecta Health (212) 233-2830 or contact us via CONTACT FORM

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