How Does Living With Untreated Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Affect My Life?

Some cultures do not accept mental health problems as real. They may teach people to bury their problems, or a person is too embarrassed, so they ignore the symptoms. Whatever the reason, it is possible to miss the symptoms of a disorder. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a commonly missed disorder, especially in women. Ignoring symptoms of a psychological disorder can have adverse effects on a person’s health. However, you can receive diagnosis and treatment at Alter Behavioral Health for ADHD.

Exploring ADHD

More than a person’s ability to pay attention is affected by ADHD. Someone with ADHD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Inattention: Someone struggles to stay on task, sustain focus, or maintain organization
  • Hyperactivity: Someone may not be able to stay in one place, such as experiencing restlessness or talking too much
  • Impulsivity: Someone may act without thinking or struggle with self-control

People often assume incorrect facts about someone with ADHD because of how it presents itself. Such as they are lazy or that only men develop ADHD. Some people also think that ADHD needs constant medication to manage the symptoms. Another myth is that ADHD is a learning disability and that children with the disorder need to try harder.

All of those are incorrect myths. While men are 13% more likely to develop it, women often get overlooked or not assessed for ADHD, so research only estimates six percent of women have the disorder. ADHD does not mean that a child needs to try harder. In fact, it means that the child needs more support. ADHD is its own disorder and affects people differently. No one should assume they understand what it is like living with the disorder unless they have it.

How Untreated ADHD Can Become Harmful

Some people have their ADHD diagnosed incorrectly as a behavioral disorder. Others may not know they have a disorder, as people can brush off symptoms, claiming a person is inattentive or “ditzy.” However, untreated ADHD, while not life-threatening, can still have negative outcomes on a person’s mental health or relationships.

In addition to misdiagnosing, someone with ADHD, especially children, may get overmedicated to manage the symptoms. This can create substance use problems or changes to the brain during development. ADHD symptoms can also cause friction in relationships. Inattention, talking too much, or self-control issues may exasperate loved ones. Losing the support of a friend or family member can be disheartening or make someone think they do not deserve attention and support.

ADHD can also cause mental health professionals to overlook other psychological disorders, thinking the symptoms are due to impulsivity or inattention. That can be dangerous, as with behavioral disorders, there is a  persistent and severe feeling of anger or defiance. This can create further problems in school or work or with friends and family.

Symptoms of ADHD

A psychological disorder needs to be evaluated and diagnosed by a mental health professional. However, knowing the symptoms can help you identify if you need to be evaluated for another disorder or if you need ADHD-specified treatment. Symptoms are not limited to but include:

  • Seemingly carelessness towards activities, conversations, tasks, or work
  • Not seeming to listen when being directly talked to
  • Finding it hard to follow through on tasks, schoolwork, or work
  • Difficulty with organization or doing things in a sequence
  • Fidgeting, tapping, or restlessness
  • Unable to do tasks quietly
  • Constant motion
  • Excessive talking
  • Disrupting conversations or questions
  • Losing objects or supplies
  • Being easily distracted

Treatment at Alter Behavioral Health

Co-occurring disorders are when someone has substance use disorder (SUD) and a mental health disorder. This can be a combination of any mental health disorder, such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few. An estimated 20% of adults with SUD also live with ADHD.

Not only do ADHD symptoms pose a threat to a person’s life and health, but they can cause other disorders to develop that pose an additional threat. Alter Behavioral Health offers different levels of care to support whatever healing needs a person has, including the ability to tailor treatment to focus on ADHD.

Therapy and Pharmacotherapy

One of the top ways to treat any psychological disorder is with talk therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a top therapy modality used to treat ADHD and other disorders. “CBT involves identifying patterns of thinking and false beliefs to change behaviors.” When connections between thoughts and emotions are made, a person is able to recognize how it affects their behavior. This leads to being able to change it, like learning copings skill to not interrupt others.

Psychological disorders can change the neurons in the brain. Altered brain chemistry can cause mood or behavioral problems. When that is the case, a therapist may prescribe pharmaceutical treatment or medication. With the aid of medication, a person can get help regulating their brain chemistry to improve symptoms of the disorder. For example, someone with ADHD may have a low tolerance for stress. Medications can help decrease the production of cortisol, the chemical that causes stress. That way, you do not feel angry or frustrated easily and can manage feelings or thoughts around the situation.

Treatment Programs

Alter Behavioral Health offers residential and outpatient treatment. This way, whatever the psychological needs or personal responsibilities, a person can receive help. With residential treatment, you live and stay in the treatment program. This helps when someone cannot manage their disorder symptoms on their own. Staff and peers provide accountability and support throughout the day and night.

Outpatient treatment is different in that a person lives at home and attends treatment only a few hours a week, like when children go to school and return home in the evening. This provides support while someone works or goes to school, and they can still learn how to manage their ADHD or other disorders.

Has your behavior become increasingly inconsistent? Having an untreated mental health disorder can cause harm to your health and life. Alter Behavioral Health provides you with the diagnosis and treatment you may be missing. With a combination of therapy, group therapy, medication management, and holistic healing, you get to the root of your emotions and trauma to understand your behavior. Learn how to not only cope with your disorder but how to cope with the stress that comes with day-to-day life. Our staff is there to support you throughout your healing journey through residential, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. Contact us at (866) 691-4386 to hear more about healing with us.