ADHD is not generally diagnosed in adulthood. When adults display lack of ability to focus and antisocial behaviour, other diagnoses are generally given. There is a myriad of physical reasons why someone may not be able to focus, such as metallic poisoning, brain injury, early onset dementia and heightened anxiety levels due to hyperthyroidism or adrenal storm.
Adult antisocial behaviour is more likely to gain a diagnosis as extreme stress, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizoid Affective Disorder, emotional derangement, hormonal imbalance, and possible investigation of brain tumours or non-specific psychopathology. It is far rarer for ADHD to be diagnosed in adulthood on the basis of antisocial disorders.
While there are cases where clinicians diagnose ADHD in adults, adults are more difficult to observe than children and clinicians generally only know limited amounts about the patient’s life. By the time someone has reached adulthood, personalities tend to have generally become a well-established set of thought patterns and behaviours. Either this is through early conditioning or lack of a nurturing environment that teaches the children and adolescents social skills.
Generally the key axis of diagnosis from ADHD is both lack of focus and antisocial behaviour. To give an adult amphetamine-type drugs to cure these personality traits is in itself a contradiction. While amphetamine-type drugs such as Ritalin give the impression of lengthening attention span, they also increase antisocial behaviours. The person often becomes so focused that they are unable to see the bigger picture by which they gauge their own social behaviour. Some of the side-effects are agitation, increased anxiety, and further antisocial behaviour.
In treating adults with ADHD-type personality without drugs, the person needs to establish a daily routine, practice repetition and constantly engage in mind training exercises and psychotherapy. There is a need to increase cognitive clarity and change behavioural routines. There needs to be focused therapy over some considerable time. The adult must be committed to therapy on a regular basis without exception.
This therapy must include a lifestyle, nutritional, supplementation and medication review. The body must be free of amphetamine-type medication so that the mind can focus as it starts to forge new neural pathways in the brain to introduce new daily behaviours into the person’s life. These new pathways and behaviours help the person follow through on tasks, to focus and to become more goal directed, and increases social tolerance and better social skills.
Regular hypnosis is a key accelerator in this change along with supporting psychotherapy. Hypnosis helps reduce anxiety levels, increases focus and reprograms the mind to be more habitually proactive in a goal directed way. In doing this, the new neural pathways forged in the brain increase neuro-receptor effectiveness. The brain is like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger and more effective it becomes.
Parents, school teachers, friends, relatives and employers tend to write off people with ADHD behaviour and not challenge them to become more mindful. But becoming more mindful is exactly what can help the person gain greater control of their ability to focus and improve social behaviour, and this change is more effective with the help of hypnosis.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSC, ND is clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, counsellor, medical nutritionist and naturopath. She is the director of the Australian Health and Education Centre in Sydney. Working with patients with an ADHD diagnosis, she uses hypnotically assisted cognitive behaviour therapy, mind training techniques, nutritional and life review to improve cognitive abilities and induce behaviour changes.
For more help with adult attention hyperactivity disorder hypnosis, book an appointment with me at my Sydney clinic by telephoning 02 8021 6429.