Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), also known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a developmental disorder which affects an estimated eight million adults in the United States, and many more worldwide. But you probably already knew that, even if you didn’t realize how many people had it.
If you have it, you are not alone. And you are not helpless. There are dozens of strategies for managing ADHD, from little tips and tricks like keeping a container for your meds with each day labeled, to big sweeping ideas… like the ones below.
One of the most common treatments for ADHD is through medications like adderall or vyvanse. These change how your body and brain work, compensating for the causes of your symptoms. These drugs are effective and well tested, but they do come with some side effects.
Both those side effects and the reliance on medication can discourage people from using them. Additionally, they do not do the whole job all by themselves. Other management methods are necessary to get the maximum improvement, so do not neglect these other strategies.
A simple and effective technique for being in control of ADHD is educating yourself about it. Medical research continues on it and keeping an eye out for new treatments, new theories, and new strategies can give immense benefits. Even digging through the research available right now will give you much deeper insight into common behaviors and ways you can manage them.
You’ve heard all the clichés. Knowledge is Power. Knowing is half the battle. The more you know. The thing to remember is these are all true. Education is the key to understanding. And understanding gives you more power over your condition.
This is a catch all category for any training or assistance with ways of thinking. This can be as simple as having a coach or as complex as cognitive behavioral therapy. There are many goals for these kinds of therapies. Some teach coping skills and tactics for dealing with specific behaviors. Others deal with the emotional distress involved with ADHD and breaking out of self-blame cycles and anxiety. Having a coach can assist you in setting goals and holding yourself accountable for working toward them.
Each of these styles has its own advantages. Coaching is great for overcoming specific problems but doesn’t emphasize teaching problem solving skills like cognitive behavioral therapy does. Some variations specialize in enhancing mindfulness, reducing distress, improving self-esteem, or controlling your emotions. All have value and you are not limited to using only one or two.
A more practical tactic is to compensate for difficulties created by having ADHD by creating structure in your life that keeps you on track. Many people with ADHD have trouble scheduling their time and keeping appointments. Use a day planner to assist with this. Some have trouble with losing items, like misplacing keys or wallets. Work around this by making a specific place where you will always put these and creating a specific set of actions that will make that happen.
For example, if you decide you will always put your keys in a small dish on a table next to your front door you now have to plan out how that will happen every time. Do you unlock and open the door, then immediately drop the keys in the dish, or do you shut the door first? Having fixed and specific structures allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your life and stop worrying about these trivial problems.
ADHD makes people much more susceptible to distractions. Find ways to reduce these. One simple one for work environments is to wear headphones. Good noise cancelling headphones are very affordable and calming classical music, or one of the many white noise types, can prevent other people’s phone calls, conversations, or general office noise from distracting you from your work.
Keeping a clean and organized desk, and home, can prevent visual distractions. Requesting to be seated in a low traffic part of the office can help even more, as can having a room where you can be alone at home, be it office, den, or library. Allowing your mind to stay focused by reducing distractions can reduce the amount of time lost to ADHD symptoms.
Of course, there are many other strategies, big and small, to help you keep your ADHD under control, instead of letting it control you. And each of the ones listed here have a number of more focused topics you could investigate. Stay organized, break them down into small items that interest you and educate yourself about them. Avoid distractions and teach yourself new ways of thinking about ADHD, and new patterns for dealing with it. Talk to your doctor about appropriate medications. And always remember, you are in charge. You can manage your life.
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