Dr. Namdari recently sat down and shared with us several answers to important questions regarding ADD/ADHD and why treatment is often delayed.
Question #1: Dr. Namdari, in this recent study, results showed that many people with ADD/ADHD never seek treatment and people that do seek treatment lot of times delay their treatment efforts. What reasons do you think people delay or avoid treatment all together?
Answer: #1: Most mental health disorders like (depression and anxiety) are episodic and the person with the disorder can notice within themselves when they are “ill” and when they are “healthy.” On the other hand, ADHD is pervasive and without episodes of “being healthy.” An individual with ADHD cannot tell that there is something wrong within themselves since they do not have an internal state of “well” to compare to. Consequently, individuals with ADHD delay treatment until an astute observer notices that they are “different” or when a difficult life event (like a relationship ending or a job loss) creates awareness that they are different from others. For many, this is delayed or never happens leading to unnecessarily prolonged periods between onset of symptoms and treatment.
Question #2: Since it is common that most adults do not seek treatment or even know there is a problem, what signs can family members, friends or even the untreated look for?
Answer: #2 Common signs of ADD/ADHD include: driving fast, having difficulties waiting your turn, interrupting others while they talk, being chronically late, underestimating the time it takes to complete a task, an internal feeling of being driven by a motor, having a difficult time staying seated for a prolonged period of time, and being easily distracted. These warning signs typically show up during early childhood but can be missed if someone is functioning well despite their symptoms.
Question #3: It’s been said that women are more vulnerable, meaning their treatment is even more delayed then men? Why is that so?
Answer #3: I believe that both sexes are vulnerable to treatment delays. Hyperactive and impulsive symptoms are often attributed to “normal male” stereotypes while inattentiveness symptoms are often attributed to “normal female” stereotypes. Unfortunately for women, they are less likely to be brought in for treatment because their “unwanted behaviors” are less likely to be disruptive and less likely to be noticed.
Question #4 When should a person seek help or an evaluation for ADD/ADHD?
Answer #4: A person should seek an evaluation for ADD/ADHD as soon as any signs are noticed. Early intervention (whether it is with therapy, couching, or medications) has the highest yield in producing optimized life functioning. ADD/ADHD symptoms impair development of effective life skills which can lead to underperformance and failures. Underperformance and failures can then lead to lower self esteem, motivation, depression, and anxiety.
Question: #5 What treatment options are available for an ADD/ADHD patient?
Answer: #5: Currently, there are several options available. Of course there are medications available for ADD/ADHD which include stimulants (in the near future this will need to be highly regulated) (methylphenidate and amphetamine products) as well as non-stimulant options. All of these options have shown superior efficacy over placebo in reducing ADD/ADHD symptoms. There are also treatment options that DO NOT include medication and these include, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT (this is where a patient and doctor work together tand focus on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, other treatments are focusing on mindfulness therapy, and coaching. Non-medicated treatment options are helpful because they help you learn more effective life skills and recreate new healthier patterns of living.
Question #6: How can our society better identify these symptoms in order to get people the treatment they need ADD/ADHD faster?
Answer #6: ADD/ADHD is best identified when comparing an individual to their peers and this is easiest when people are in a group setting. Consequently, educating teachers, coaches, camp counselors and other group supervisors of the signs of ADHD could be the most effective initial intervention. These leaders could then report to the individual (or parents) when there are noticeable differences and suggest an evaluation. At the very least each doctor should have a list of questions that are asked at each wellness/sickness visis for both kid and adults. This may at least help identify more. The sad truth is that this effects marriage leading to divorce, it leads to folks losing jobs or not receiving promotions and again a feeling of failure and loss. If you suspect you or someone you love has ADD/ADHD I highly recommend you invest in the right testing with the right professionals. Again, here is the list of symptoms:
SIGNS YOU SHOULD GET SCREENED FOR ADD/ADHD
- They make careless mistakes
- They have functionally declined in school, home, and extracurricular activities
- They have trouble sustaining attention
- They have trouble listening
- They can’t follow multi-step tasks
- They lack organization
- They lose things
- They are easily distracted
- They fidget or squirm
- They need to move around when not appropriate
- They talk excessively
- They interrupt others
- They have trouble waiting their turn
- They need to be “on the go”
Thank you and please feel free to reach out with questions at 919-636-5240.
My specialty is ADD/ADHD and I am even available during the evening and weekend.
Be Well, Dr. Beyrouz Namdari