Life Management Skills for Adult ADHD
It can be difficult for adults with ADHD to juggle family, work, relationships, and daily responsibilities. Here are some ways to manage.
By Alyson McNutt English
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurMental Health & Mood DisordersNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
From forgetting to pay bills on time to missing dates with friends, the consequences of unmanaged attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be life-altering. But how can an adult who struggles with attention-deficit difficulties move past these roadblocks to enjoy a fuller, less anxiety ridden life?
ADHD at the Office
Creating to-do lists with deadlines can be a big help to people with ADHD, says Kirk Martin, executive director of Celebrate!ADHD, an organization that coaches schools, families, and companies on ways to productively address the social and behavioral differences in those with ADD and ADHD.
And while it may seem counterintuitive, Martin says controlled external "distractions" can actually help those with adult ADHD concentrate better. "The brain of an adult with ADHD works better when stimulated," he says. "Moving, chewing, listening to music, and other activities can help the brain focus and work smarter."
People with adult ADHD are messy by nature, says Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and ADHD specialist in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This not only looks bad but also can affect productivity. "Create a system you can stick with that will help you reduce clutter so you can find things when you need them," he says.
ADHD at Home
People with adult ADHD tend to crave new experiences and often act impulsively, according to Lara Honos-Webb, PhD, a clinical psychologist in San Francisco and author of The Gift of Adult ADD. Dr. Honos-Webb says it's important for those with adult ADHD to explain their behavior to their partners and for couples to work together.
For example, if you have ADHD and tend to tune out when your partner is talking, Honos-Webb suggests focusing on the conversation for five minutes, then verbally summarizing what you heard your partner say. "This strategy can really help a partner because you'reshowingthem you've listened," she says.
ADHD and Coaching
To become more productive at home and at work, people with adult ADHD can work with an ADHD coach to learn organizational skills and time-management strategies, says Dr. Tuckman. "Someone with adult ADHD will say, 'I'm going to spend two hours working on this report,' but then the phone rings and some e-mails come in and a half hour goes by," Tuckman says. "A coach can help you implement strategies to manage your ADHD."
Other ADHD Coping Strategies
While some people believe that chemicals in food coloring or preservatives can make ADHD worse, no studies substantiate the claim. But diet can affect mood and behavior, Tuckman says. "People feel better when they eat a healthy diet," he says. "And you should avoid foods you have a negative reaction to."
Exercise can also be helpful. Olympian Michael Phelps and his mother, Debbie, have been open about his ADHD and how swimming helped him manage his condition. Studies show that, in children at least, exercise can help control the symptoms of ADHD.
Living With ADHD
For those who've gone untreated their whole lives, beginning to understand that they can make adjustments and changes to improve their quality of life is a huge step.
"Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, keep you focused, and offer encouragement," Martin says. "Being open and honest, establishing clear boundaries and routines, and working with a team — therapist, coach, mentor — are all helpful."
Medication is the first step in treating adult ADHD but not the only one; the condition requires a whole-life approach, says Tuckman.
Video: Tips for Managing Adult ADHD/ADD
All the Facts About Ulcerative Colitis in Children
I Went Too Far’: Brendan Cole Admits He’s Had To Change His Outspoken Ways Since Joining Strictly Come Dancing
8 Insider Secrets You Didnt Know About Dollar Stores, Revealed by a Manager
4 Surprisingly Simple Self-Defense Moves Every Woman Needs to Know
Wearing retinol during the day is actually perfectly safe
The Waters Not Fine: U.S. Pool-Linked Infection Doubles in 2 Years
Toys R Us clearance sales delayed, chaos ensues
How to Calculate a Coupon Payment
Try These 7 Quick Tips to Boost Your Metabolism
How to Make Homemade Organic Buckwheat Pillows
My Birth Story: I Had A Vaginal C-Section
Liz Hurley Prince Charles’s organic food line
How to Prepare Metal Cleaner
15 Christmas Horror Movies to Ruin Your Holidays
Im All For A Quick And Cheap Divorce, But Im Not Going To be Stupid About This