ADHD Therapy Chicago

ADHD Therapy Chicago

ADHD therapy

ADHD therapy is a type of counseling available to aid in the management of ADHD. ADHD therapy will typically involve multiple sessions of active interaction between a licensed clinical mental health provider and the client. The nature of the sessions varies depending on the type of therapy and the goal of the treatment, but combining ADHD therapy with medication will almost always yield the most effective results. ADHD therapy techniques usually include strategies from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and play therapy (for kids).

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that impacts daily functioning and/or development. A person can have predominantly inattentive traits, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive traits, or a combination of these. 

Inattention relates to a person’s inability to stay on task, sustain focus, and get organized. 

Hyperactivity relates to a person’s extreme restlessness and inability to sit still, which can occur in the form of excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talking. 

Impulsivity relates to a person’s difficulty with self-control, which can look like acting without thinking, a desire for immediate gratification, and/or the ability to delay gratification. 

The causes of ADHD remain unknown, but research has identified some potential risk factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Exposure to environmental risks (i.e., lead) 
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Child health conditions, including head injuries
  • Parental mental health 
  • Familial environment

What is living with ADHD like?


ADHD may be considered a brain disorder from a diagnostic lens, but that does not mean there is something wrong with the way your brain works. In fact, an ADHD brain is often more creative, curious, and passionate compared to a neurotypical one. But living with ADHD can feel challenging and exhausting when the world is built for those with neurotypical presentations. Although there are many commonly shared symptoms of ADHD, no two people will report the same perspective, symptom presentation, hardships, and/or life experiences. ADHD symptoms can appear as early as 3yo and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. And further, ADHD symptomatology can and often does change over time. For instance, in younger children it is more common to see hyperactivity/impulsivity more than inattention, but the opposite can be true in adulthood.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Difficulty controlling impulses
  • Impatience
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Excessive fidgeting/tapping/talking
  • Difficulty paying attention/staying on task
  • Easily distracted
  • Overlooking details 
  • Forgetfulness
  • Procrastination
  • Perfectionism
  • Poor time management
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Difficulty prioritizing follow through on tasks/plans
  • Interrupting others
  • Having trouble with conversation etiquette or waiting in line

How can ADHD therapy help?

Although ADHD can’t be prevented or cured, ADHD therapy has been shown to improve daily functioning and quality of life for individuals with ADHD and their families. ADHD therapy is there to provide psychoeducation, tools, and resources for symptom management that would not otherwise be accessible. 

ADHD therapy exists in multiple formats and should be explored with a licensed mental health professional who specializes in ADHD therapy and can effectively rule out other diagnoses. Effective treatment for ADHD often includes several approaches and may include:

Psychotherapy:

  • Behavioral therapy 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

Additional Treatment Options:

  • Family and marital therapy 
  • Skills trainings for parents 
  • Stress management groups 
  • ADHD support groups  
  • ADHD coaching
  • Medication 

Can testing help with an ADHD diagnosis?

It can be difficult to obtain a proper diagnosis of ADHD because stress, sleep, mood disorders, and other physical conditions/illnesses can mirror symptoms of ADHD. Therefore it is recommended that you seek out formal neuropsychological testing conducted by a trained psychologist to assess for an ADHD diagnosis. Neuropsychological testing is a process that evaluates a person’s cognitive abilities in relation to attention, memory, and problem solving. Psychologists use a variety of standardized tests and assessments to make an ADHD diagnosis. 

Should I take medication if I have ADHD?

For many people, medication is a necessary addition to psychotherapy for the management of their ADHD symptoms. ADHD medications can help to reduce hyperactivity/impulsivity, increase attention span, and assist in the management of executive function. 

It is common to try several medications and/or dosages before finding the “right” fit, as medication is not one-size-fits-all. Additionally, it is fairly common to experience unpleasant side effects as a result of ADHD medication. To find the best medication, dosage, and medication combination, and to effectively navigate the related side effects, close monitoring by the prescribing physician is recommended. 

The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • stomach upset
  • nervousness
  • irritability
  • weight loss
  • dry mouth

The most commonly prescribed ADHD medications include: 

Stimulants

Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD and they help to improve focus and reduce impulsiveness by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Non-Stimulants

Non-Stimulants often take longer to start working compared to stimulants, but also help to improve focus and reduce impulsiveness. Oftentimes non-stimulants are prescribed when stimulants do not work or the side effects are too bothersome. 

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD alone, however, they are often prescribed in combination with a stimulant to treat ADHD. 

ADHD Therapy Resources

  1. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) https://chadd.org/ 
  2. American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/ADHD_Resource_Center/Home.aspx
  3. Attention Deficit Disorder Association https://add.org/ 
  4. American Psychological Association http://apa.org/ 
  5. American Psychiatric Association https://www.psychiatry.org/ 

*Please note that most national and local ADHD

organizations have social media accounts with additional

resources and support options.

ADHD Blogs:

  1. Totally ADD: https://totallyadd.com/adhd-blog/
  2. ADHD in Adults: https://adhdinadults.com/blog/  
  3. CHADD: https://chadd.org/the-adhd-blog/ 
  4. Impact ADHD: https://impactparents.com/blog/adhd/  
ADHD Therapists in Chicago

if you’re looking for an ADHD therapist in Chicago, cityscape counseling would love to work with you.

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