Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Much of the early research concentrated on young boys, who were thought to be the only people with these problems. Now people of all ages are being identified as having ADHD and are treated with drugs.

It is well known in Psychology that people react to mental emotional distress with hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsive action. In other words people are distracted and excessively active to avoid emotional and psychological stress. Medication may not always be the best approach for these types of struggles, particularly if there is a risk for substance abuse. Sometimes medication is the best choice, particularly if a person cannot find improvement in these symptoms with psychotherapy. Sometimes medication helps people make better use of psychotherapy, so the two treatments are used in conjunction.

ADHD type behavior is often an automatic, response to internal and external stressors. In this sense the behavior is a way of protecting oneself from being overwhelmed. This phenomenon was extensively studied and written about by prominent psychoanalysts in the 1930’s, and remains an important concept in psychoanalytic therapy today.

Addressing ADHD Through Therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy can help people with ADHD type behavior find healthier ways to deal with their mental and emotional distress. Understanding how and why a person becomes inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive can bring immediate and lasting symptom relief. In therapy adults and children can learn to protect themselves from being overwhelmed and develop abilities to improve attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity.

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