Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, is a psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to focus on a task. If and when it is distinguished from ADHD, the primary difference is the lack of a significant hyperactive component, marking ADD as the “predominantly inattentive” side of the condition.
ADD cannot be cured, but many of those diagnosed with the disorder as children learn how to manage the symptoms by the time they reach adulthood. Among medical professionals, some controversy exists as to how to diagnose and treat ADD, with many arguing that a diagnosis of ADD is only appropriate in cases of extreme difficulties with focus and attention.
Signs and Symptoms of ADD
Because inattentiveness and lack of impulse control is—to some level—a developmental issue common even to average children, when considering symptoms of ADD it is important to note that it is not enough that a child demonstrate that symptom, but that they do so to a degree that can be considered “maladaptive.”
Children with ADD have difficulty focusing and staying on task, are unorganized, appear not to listen, have problems with schoolwork, have a tendency to lose things (homework, books, assignments, etc.), often do not finish assignments or even follow instructions, and are easily distracted and can be forgetful about scheduled activities. Those with ADD (as opposed to ADHD) will lack the hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and may even be quiet and introspective in nature (e.g. “daydreamers”).
ADD often co-occurs with other disorders, including substance abuse. Prescription stimulants (which can be very addictive in their own right) are sometimes prescribed in the treatment of ADD, but many doctors prefer to focus on counseling and coping techniques, leaving medication as a last resort for more difficult cases.
When ADD Co-Occurs with a Dependency
Individuals who suffer from ADD are more vulnerable to substance abuse problems, perhaps due to differences in brain chemistry. Unfortunately, when seeking treatment for addiction or dependency, it is common for the treatment center to ignore ADD and focus solely on the addiction, inhibiting the chances of effective recovery.
At Northbound Treatment Services, we specialize in dual diagnoses and create an individualized treatment plan that takes into account the clients’ specific needs and history—including management of ADD.
Our experienced clinical staff relies on proven treatment methods, including counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interventions for social skills and life skills. We place great emphasis on experiential therapy and activities that help those in recovery have fun and enjoy a drug-free lifestyle. For those with co-occurring ADD, our full spectrum of therapeutic techniques keeps clients stimulated and involved in the recovery process.
Although medication is sometimes used in the treatment of ADD, we strive to avoid the use of drugs whenever possible. However, when medication is determined to be necessary for the client to effectively participate in his or her recovery, it is dispensed under the care of a licensed psychiatrist who is experienced in the treatment of addiction and mental health issues.
If you or someone you love is struggling with ADD and addiction or alcoholism, we can help. Contact Northbound’s ADD/ADHD and addiction treatment in Orange County — our counselors are on call twenty-four hours a day to answer your questions and begin the intake process. Our clinical staff understands the interaction between ADD and addiction and provides a customized treatment plan that provides the best chance for a new, healthy, and sober life.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a psychiatric disorder characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and an inability to focus or pay attention. Affecting 6-7% of children, ADHD is the subject of some controversy in the medical community as to how it is diagnosed and treated.
Though it is not curable, most people with ADHD learn coping mechanisms for managing the disorder, and it is possible for the symptoms of ADHD to fade in adulthood. Approximately 30-50% of those diagnosed with ADHD as children continue to experience symptoms as adults.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
Individuals diagnosed with ADHD are categorized as predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive or a combination of the two. It should be stressed that the impulsivity and inattention that define ADHD should be viewed within the context of the age of the child. Moreover, it must be determined that the hyperactivity and attention difficulties are significantly worse than can be observed in the child’s peers.
Those who suffer from ADHD are often fidgety and impatient, impulsive, and experience great difficulty with maintaining focus on a task. They may talk incessantly, are easily distracted, seem to be constantly in motion, and are very impatient, constantly interrupting others or acting without consideration of the consequences. Children with ADHD often have difficulties in the development of social skills and may also be delayed in language skills or motor development. ADHD commonly co-occurs with other disorders, including learning disabilities, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and sleep disorders. In addition, those with ADHD are especially vulnerable to substance abuse problems, especially cannabis or alcohol. (Moreover, some stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD are addictive in their own right, making some doctors hesitant to prescribe medication for any but the most extreme cases.)
When ADHD co-occurs with an addiction, the first response is often to treat the dependency, as it seems more “urgent” and more easily cured. However, effective recovery requires treating both conditions, and creating a treatment program that can respond to both.
At Northbound Treatment Services, we specialize in dual diagnoses, and create an individualized treatment plan that addresses the ADHD along with the dependency and any other co-occurring disorder. Though medication is sometimes indicated in the treatment of ADHD, we prefer to avoid the use of drugs to the extent possible.
However, in cases where medication is necessary for effective participation in the recovery process, prescriptions are dispensed only under the care of a licensed psychiatrist who is experienced in addiction treatment and mental health issues.
Counseling and the teaching of coping strategies have proven to be successful in the treatment of ADHD, and Northbound’s experienced clinical staff is very familiar with the methodologies that have borne the best results in treating ADHD co-occurring with substance abuse.
We use a holistic approach to treatment that embraces cognitive behavioral therapy, training in social skills, family therapy, and other techniques that have demonstrated their effectiveness over time.
Get Treatment for ADD or ADHD at Northbound
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction or dependency problem, further complicated by existing ADD or ADHD, Northbound’s ADD treatment center in Orange County can help. Don’t wait. Contact Northbound Treatment Services today.