A Combined Approach to ADHD Treatment: Medication and Coaching

Dr Lalitaa Suglani and Dr Shyamal Mashru

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of individuals across the globe. With a myriad of symptoms that can disrupt daily life, the quest for effective treatment strategies is ongoing. In recent years, a consensus has emerged amongst professionals that a combined approach to ADHD treatment, encompassing both medication and coaching, is often the most effective. The ADHD Health Clinic’s consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Shyamal Mashru, explores the multi-faceted nature of ADHD treatment.

How To Get An ADHD Diagnosis: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating the complexities of ADHD can be challenging, especially when it comes to obtaining a formal diagnosis. Recognising the signs and taking the necessary steps toward a diagnosis are essential for understanding oneself and exploring treatment options.

Trauma and ADHD: The Intricate Interplay

The relationship between trauma and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a subject of intense debate and research in the field of mental health. With insight from Dr Shyamal Mashru, we consider the complex interplay between trauma and ADHD, exploring whether ADHD is inherent or if trauma can induce or exacerbate its symptoms.

ADHD can present a challenging paradox for both individuals and healthcare professionals due to its diverse manifestations. The treatment of ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all scenario; it is “horses for courses,” meaning that treatment must be tailored to the individual.

Medication is often considered a frontline treatment for ADHD, renowned for its effectiveness in managing core symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Dr. Mashru underscores the importance of mentioning medication due to its proven efficacy but also emphasises that medication should not be the sole focus of treatment.

The adage “pills don’t create skills” highlights a critical aspect of ADHD treatment. While medication can significantly improve concentration and reduce impulsivity, it does not inherently teach the skills needed to navigate life with ADHD. This gap is where ADHD coaching comes into play.

ADHD coaching is a collaborative, supportive engagement aimed at helping individuals understand and manage their symptoms while also teaching them strategies to cope with the daily challenges posed by ADHD. Coaching focuses on building skills and strategies that medication alone cannot provide, such as organisation, time management, and social skills.

Each person with ADHD is unique, and so too should be their treatment plan. Some may opt for medication initially and add coaching later, while others might choose to start with coaching to develop coping strategies and only consider medication if necessary. This decision is deeply personal and often rooted in an individual’s history with and attitudes toward medication. For those who have never been on medication, starting with that can be daunting. Thus, the willingness to explore and learn new, healthy coping skills through coaching before introducing medication is a valid and often preferred route for many.

In the journey of managing ADHD, developing coping skills is paramount. These skills are the tools individuals use to navigate the challenges posed by their symptoms. Dr. Mashru stresses the importance of replacing unhealthy coping mechanisms — like substance use or overworking — with healthy strategies learned through coaching. Such strategies are not only about managing symptoms but also about enhancing overall well-being and functionality.

Receiving an ADHD diagnosis is merely the first step in a longer journey of self-discovery and management. It’s not just about labelling oneself as having ADHD; it’s about exploring further into understanding how it affects one’s life on a daily basis. This understanding is necessary for developing personalised strategies that go beyond symptom management and help individuals thrive.

Part of the combined treatment approach includes education on ADHD and its impacts. Self-awareness allows individuals to recognise their patterns, identify their strengths and challenges, and understand their responses to both successes and setbacks.

Treating ADHD effectively requires a holistic approach that includes medication, coaching, education, and self-awareness. The goal is to empower individuals with ADHD to lead fulfilling lives, equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate their world. As the field of ADHD treatment evolves, so does our understanding of the need for comprehensive, personalised care that addresses the full spectrum of living with ADHD.

By embracing a combined treatment strategy, we open the door to a life of greater control, satisfaction, and achievement for those with ADHD.

Understanding ADHD Symptoms

Symptoms often manifest differently in individuals and can have a significant impact on various aspects of life.

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Seeking Diagnosis and Support?

ADHD Health Clinic specialises in assessments and personalised treatment plans to empower individuals managing their ADHD symptoms.

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