Misinformation and myths about ADHD abound. We want you to give you access to the best information that science and our years of experience can provide.
You don’t want to be rushed into an ADHD diagnosis and handed a prescription. Focus is a medical practice that was designed to allow doctors plenty of time to listen. Before a physician joins the team we make sure he or she is qualified to make the diagnosis and has the bedside manner that allows patients to relax and tell their story.
After diagnosis, you want a doctor that provides regular follow up to avoid the horror stories and continue to refine your treatment. Guess what? That is EXACTLY what the medical literature says you need. Instead of rushed office visit after sitting in the waiting room of a doctor bogged down with an overbooked schedule of sick patients, Focus offers you a doctor dedicated to your needs and regular office follow up to optimize your care. And when you do have problems, your doctor is available by email and phone. If the problem warrants an office visit, we’ll be glad to see you.
As much as you want a thorough evaluation, you don’t want to get bogged down in hours of testing that gives you a lot of information, often to questions you weren’t asking. Psychological/educational testing isn’t needed to make a diagnosis of ADHD in most cases and it is expensive and time consuming. At Focus we take a different approach—first we listen and second we test for ADHD symptoms, instead of ruling out everything but ADHD and then backing into an ADHD diagnosis. We have corrected misdiagnosis in both directions and have finally given patients with ADHD the diagnosis that eluded them as well as telling patients that they didn’t have ADHD and stopping their medication.
Better, Not Optimal
You may already have a diagnosis. Maybe you have had problems with medication and stopped taking it due to lack of effectiveness or side effects. Or you may still be taking medication and it helps—but you know you aren’t there’ with the right dose or duration of medication effect. At Focus, we look for dose optimization and strive to achieve this over weeks or months, not years. We are always looking for ways to help you manage your ADHD better.
Parents and even adults fear the diagnosis, knowing that there is still some stigma to ADHD diagnosis. Though this stigma seems to be fading, it is hard to put years of concern about this away. The truth is that patients with ADHD are ALREADY labeled or more accurately mislabeled. Younger kids may be labeled as having behavior problems while teenagers get tagged with being lazy or underachieving as though they were choosing to underperform. Adults are often labeled unreliable or underperforming.
A big fear of any parent considering ADHD diagnosis and treatment is medication. Visions of zombiefied robots are hard to shake. No parent wants to lose their child’s personality and vitality in a fog of medication. Sadly, most parents assume that there isn’t an option—they assume medication treatment means trading your kid for a blank, staring robot. IT DOESN’T! The goal of Focus is careful medication management that allows patients to be THEMSELVES but with better self control in sustaining attention, managing impulsivity and motor regulation. We work with each patient to take control away from ADHD and give control to the patient, not medication.
Many adults have other significant medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and thyroid disorders. We review these medical problems and the medications with each patient and formulate a plan of treatment for each individual.
But, I’ve Tried Everything…
‘But we’ve tried everything’ — this is the white flag of defeat raised by parents and patients frustrated by a broken system that too often starts with unproven therapies and uses medication as a last resort. Those who have tried medication have rarely done so in a systematic way that is supported by the medical evidence. Unfortunately ADHD is commonly managed by well meaning professionals of all types who recommend a variety of remedies that have little or no value. Sadly, physicians don’t get much training in ADHD management and those that are trying to bring a new modern medical approach to diagnosis and treatment are in short supply and isolated. But Focus brings a network of providers to change all that. Our physicians are Board Certified doctors who have been given extra training in ADHD diagnosis and treatment and they are connected to a network of physicians determined to improve your outcome.
You worry about side effects. Most parents think and many have even been told by doctors that side effects come with the territory when ADHD medication is used. Side effects are common with ADHD medication treatment—it’s true. But it is also true that they can be eliminated or significantly reduced by doctors who understand the medications and how to use them in a systematic way. Almost all side effects get better with time, change in type of medication or dose of medication.
Long-Term Side Effects
You worry that the mediation isn’t safe over the long term. Doctors have contributed to this fear because years ago we told families that we weren’t sure about the long term safety of stimulant medication. But we DO KNOW now and there is really good news! The medications have almost no long term side effects and are among the safest long term medications in use. Long term studies have significantly decreased or eliminated concerns about heart issues, chemical dependence/addiction and growth problems.
Long Term Effectiveness
How long will he/she have to take medication, forever? Medication doesn’t cure ADHD. It provides relief of symptoms. When the medication is stopped, the symptoms return. Parents and adult patients alike worry that medication won’t be helpful in the long term. Again, until recently we couldn’t say for sure. Multiple long term studies have demonstrated that careful medication management is successful in the long term. Not all patients who start medication will stay on it throughout life. ADHD should be treated as a medical condition in what doctors call the ‘chronic disease model’. That means we can control it and we follow the patient very carefully to limit the effect of the disorder on their lives.