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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Clinic                

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What is ADD?  |  Diagnostic Assessments  |  Treatment  |  Career Counseling

What is ADD?

Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD), also referred to as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a neurobehavioral disorder, which is estimated to affect 3 - 9 percent of all children in North America.  Recently this “childhood” disease has been recognized to persist into adulthood. 

Characteristic symptoms of ADD may include:

        -  a sense of underachievement
        -  difficulty getting organized or completing tasks
        -  chronic procrastination
        -  impulsively speaking or acting 
        -  becoming bored or impatient easily
        -  unable to sustain attention and easily distracted
        -  a tendency to daydream or “not be there” or to fall asleep
        -  major mood swings and a low frustration tolerance
        -  tendency toward addiction behavior
        -  relationship problems
        -  difficulty being quiet and still for prolonged periods
        -  unstable work history
        -  history of childhood problems

The approach taken is a meticulous and multifaceted evaluation in order to credibly diagnose or rule out the presence of ADD and/or any other contributory conditions.  Apart from diagnosis, an assessment provides a qualitative profile of each client’s specific cognitive strengths and weaknesses in order to aid in more effective coping.

Diagnostic Assessments  [back to top]

Diagnostic assessments include:

Structured clinical interview:  This is conducted by an ADD specialist and is aimed at evaluating symptoms for evidence of ADD and/or the many other conditions which may contribute to ADD-like problems.

Comprehensive self-assessment scales: This includes a series of specialized self-rating scales, which help characterize each individual’s specific symptoms and problems for evaluation and treatment.

Neuropsychological Testing: This is composed of a comprehensive battery of tests administered by a trained neuropsychologist or psychometrist in order to characterize patient’s information processing capacities.  Specialized tests, including the computer-based “T.O.V.A.”, are designed to assess and quantify deficits in sustained attention.

Multidisciplinary Review: The UCSD ADD team includes psychologists and psychiatrists with experience in ADD.  The results of each patient’s assessment is reviewed by this expert team in order to determine diagnoses and formulate recommendations for treatment and/or more effective coping. 

Individual Diagnostic Consultation: Following testing and review, patients will receive individual consultation with an ADD specialist who will review and explain the results of their diagnostic assessment as well as appropriate follow-up and/or treatment options.

A formal written report of your diagnostic assessment and recommendation will be provided

Treatments  [back to top]

The number of effective treatments available is growing and requires special expertise that relatively few clinicians possess.

Medication Management:  Nearly one dozen different medications are currently available for the effective treatment of ADHD/ADD including both stimulant and non-stimulant medications.  Our program offers clients the opportunity to receive pharmacological treatment for ADHD/ADD and associated conditions.

Psychological Services:  We also offer psychotherapy in our out-patient clinic.

Research Opportunities:  The UCSD Adult ADD Program is conducting state of the art research into the neurobiological basis of ADD and new treatments for this disorder. Participation may be available for interested clients.

Career Counseling  [back to top]

Patients with ADHD/ADD often report past inconsistencies, unsatisfactory academic progress, and employment histories.  This can promote a sense of underachievement and low self-esteem. 

This additonal vocational assessment provides a qualitative profile of a client's vocational interests.  An analysis of neurocognitive functioning with an emphasis on areas of relative strength and weakness is also obtained.  This information is interpreted with a recognition of how symptoms of ADD may further impact performance.  Based on this knowledge, recommendations regarding appropriate career choices are provided.

Diagnostic Assessments include: 

Comprehensive self-assessment scales:  This includes a series of specialized self-rating scales that is aimed at evaluating activities of interest, academic pursuits, acquired skills, and occupational interests.

Neuropsychological Testing:  These test evaluate overall intellectual functioning, attention, concentration, learning, memory, organization, psychomotor speed and problem solving abilities. 

Individual Vocational Consultation:  Patients will receive individual consultation with an ADD specialist who will synthesize the test results and provide the client with a comprehensive interest and skill survey.

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