Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Physciatric Therapy and ADHD

I have been in a lot of battles in my life, some were life threatening, some were tug of wars with myself for things I simply did not understand and some were just me trying to be confrontational with, well, me, myself and I.

ADHD can suck so bad that nothing else matters, it leads to a life of constant struggle, going nowhere, unless backwards is a place you want to go. When an adult discovers he has ADHD (or she) I think it is natural to want to find treatment to improve the symptoms, to counter them as soon as possible. The quickest way to do that is with medication, the more profound and life enhancing way, I believe, is through professional physciatric therapy to actually go in and take stock of what we are thinking and why. The suddenly new possibilities of living an improved, aware life are the brightest ‘ohh shiny’ of all, but can also be the most damning.

If you’re anything like I was, and I am not saying you are, then negativity from a life of constant challenges, constant failures and constant ‘hopes and dreams going down the toilet’ can get in the way of the bright new ‘ohh shiny’ promise of treating ADHD and getting on with a new, improved life.

Many people write me asking how I have improved and gained a positive outlook on life. I explain how physciatric therapy has helped me overcome my own internal demons and gain a better foothold on life itself. Then, of course, I recommend my book “One Boy’s Struggle: A Memoir” if they want the whole picture and if they want to feel what I felt and go through it with me on my journey. Their questions are a major reason it is in print. However, in short, I do give a brief description of the process that led me forward. Many write back saying they have tried therapy but it was useless because the therapist didn’t seem to be addressing their ADHD issues.

I always recommend seeking a trained professional therapist, because, that’s just not me, I am not a therapist and I can only share my experiences and thoughts about those experiences, so naturally this is just my input from a survivors view.  

The reason I recommend such therapy is not because it will address the symptoms of ADHD right away. No, that’s a common misperception. When diagnosed as an adult with ADHD it is quite common for there to be a whole set of thoughts we have created which are self-defeating in nature. I think it is nearly impossible to treat the symptoms of ADHD first, in this respect.

Many of us just don’t get the ‘denial’ factor many of us deal with internally. If I can just get these symptoms under control, then I will think about myself in a more positive light. Well, maybe, but if we understand why we are thinking the way we are and learn to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and supposed blunders of rational, this provides a more fertile ground for dealing with the symptoms and traits of ADHD. Leading the horse by the cart is what we naturally want to do when dealing with Adult ADHD.

Actually, by taking on the symptoms and traits of ADHD itself first we then are not dealing with the problems that may cause us to regress, if left unattended, and then quite naturally are often blamed on ADHD. That’s the part which most of us find hard to accept, because we want to improve today! Hey, it’s part of ADHD to be impatient, no reason to let that upset us, but if we admit it, the chances for improvement become far more optimistic.

Giving up on therapy, because the therapist seems to not be addressing ADHD symptoms, is usually because one just hasn’t realized yet what therapy is trying to, or needs to, accomplish first or one hasn’t found a therapist that is a good match for him or her. Some therapists explain the process they use first and I think that’s helpful to us ADDers. Many therapists will prescribe medication to help deal with the ADHD symptoms, they realize the eagerness and utmost necessity to get the symptoms and traits under control, but the medication is not the cure and therapy isn’t either; however, therapy provides a balance and way for one to have a clearer understanding of themselves and get past the self-defeating habits and thoughts which are enabling ADHD to have a greater impact than necessary and those self-defeating habits may not be ADHD, but rather a bi-product and those bi-products, if unaddressed, will continue to have power and may be disguised as ADHD themselves. And the circle goes unbroken.

It is not uncommon to feel more depressed or negative once therapy has started going somewhere. Once we start looking into ourselves and realize what has been holding us back in addition to ADHD, it’s quite natural to get disheartened by those discoveries.

Not all therapists are created equal, it is important to know if the therapist is a specialist when dealing with ADHD. It’s also important to feel comfortable with the therapist, once one gets to talking and revealing things the trust and chemistry between patient and therapist become vital for success. If one detects a certain opinionated tone, one might want to consider what that tone is. Doctors and therapists are people too and some lean in certain directions with their personal opinions which sometimes can become obvious. Radical opinions for or against, are not what I would consider ideal or helpful. A cool head that can see both sides of most situations rationally is more of an ideal person I would want to be handling my situation.

As I have written many times before, I think I was lucky that ADHD wasn’t the initial diagnosis and that depression was. Had I been diagnosed with ADHD first, I might have ignored the rest to my own detriment and perhaps even blamed the rest on ADHD, which would be natural and partially correct, but being correct to place blame doesn’t help either. Treatment helps. Not being diagnosed with ADHD first enabled me to not be distracted by it, if that makes sense…

Just my opinions on how therapy may help us and why some may not feel they are being helped by such treatment since it often doesn’t seem to address ADHD symptoms directly and often brings to the surface painful and distressing thoughts and emotions. Talk to your therapist about medication to help deal with the symptoms along with the therapy, that may help, but remember discuss any medication or supplements with your doctor, I am only sharing what has helped me and why I believe it was effective and helped me as much as it has.

You don’t have to think of your ADHD as a gift (more power to you if you do), but it is kind of nice to think of life as a gift, one worth treasuring every day. Sometimes though, we’ve just got to make the best out of what we have and work from there, life’s too short as it is.


PS: This was originally posted on my blog on our ADHD social network and let me point out here, that I visited 4 or 5 therapists before I found one I felt comfortable with! Just as with medication or other treatments, the first or second, even third might not work for you, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one that will help!

Yes, there is a stigma to Physciatric Therapy, there’s a stigma to Medication too, hey, there’s a stigma to ADHD! We are on a roll! I let shame stop me long enough, too long in fact, but thankfully, I got over it – with help.