10 Tips for Managing Adult ADHD

10 Tips for Managing Adult ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can present challenges across all areas of an adult’s life, from getting organized at home to reaching your full capability at work. Individuals may experience direct effects on their health, as well as personal relationships. Procrastination, impulsive behavior, and difficulty managing your time can be the result of one’s symptoms. In addition to this, one can often feel frustrated as others may not understand what you are dealing with.

Fortunately, it has been shown that there are a number of resources, techniques, and skills individuals can utilize to aid in the management of symptoms. Most people with ADHD respond quite well to medication; however, it has been found that the most effective method is implementing a variety of techniques. For the most part, individuals are recommended to start with treatments that professionals know are effective and then perhaps try alternatives to see if they have additional benefits.

Below are ten behavioral interventions and lifestyle changes that won’t necessarily eliminate ADHD but most certainly can help an individual feel more in control of their symptoms.

1. Medication

Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvanse, and Adderall are the most widely prescribed ADHD medications. These medications have a direct effect on key brain chemicals in which individuals experience a calmer and focused state.

2. Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be especially helpful in controlling ADHD symptoms. The focus of therapy is on thinking and the way thoughts and long-term beliefs about oneself and the world may influence how an individual feels or acts. More specifically, individuals develop tools for becoming more organized, staying focused, and improving one’s ability to control emotions.

3. Educate yourself

The more you learn about ADHD the more you will become conscious of your symptoms and the more information you will have to cope with them. Educating yourself can also help reduce feelings of shame or blame as you come to learn that treating ADHD is not as simple as paying more attention or caring more about your work.

4. Nurture relationships

Just as you may have questions regarding your symptoms, family members, close friends, and romantic partners also may. In order for those closest to us to gain an understanding of our symptoms or possible techniques to help us it’s important to share with them the knowledge we gain about ADHD.

5. Get organized

As those of us with ADHD may feel especially forgetful or scatterbrained at times it can be helpful to write daily reminders, keep a planner, or make specific tactics for frequently misplaced things.

6. Limit distractions

In a world with so many distractions, it sometimes may seem impossible to keep up on tasks. Turning off the television, working in quiet places, or leaving your cell phone in another room are a few of the many ways one can improve their focus. By limiting the distractions around us we allow ourselves greater odds of success.

7. Gain insight into impulses

It has been found that many individuals with ADHD tend to struggle with impulsivity within speech as well as actions. By becoming more aware of your tendencies you can teach yourself to think before you speak or act. A common theme is individuals with ADHD having difficulty saying no, often finding themselves agreeing to too many projects. Individuals can begin this process by journaling their immediate reactions to situations.

8. Plan ahead

Make specific plans for situations in which you know your patience is likely to be tested. For example, long meetings may make you feel on edge; therefore, keeping yourself busy throughout by taking notes or moving around a bit may help.

9. Practice effective time management

Those with ADHD may have different perceptions of how time passes, oftentimes running late or behind. Individuals can improve this by becoming more aware of their time; for example, utilizing timers or wearing a watch. In addition, it may be helpful to always give yourself more time than you may need.

10. Exercise

Get yourself moving! It has been found that exercise turns on the attention system as it elevates dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels, which directly affect one’s focus and attention.


Author: Stephanie Ballard, CADC, LPC

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