How to Deal with ADHD

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will review coping skills for adults who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Tips and techniques for adults who know someone with ADHD will also be discussed.

What is ADHD?

After years of phone calls from the assistant principal's office and frustrated teachers, Teresa's 8-year-old son was eventually diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. She didn't understand much about the diagnosis then, but she's learned a lot since. ADHD is a mental disorder often diagnosed in children that can persist into adulthood. It is characterized by three primary symptoms:

  • Impulsivity. Speaking out of turn, acting before thinking, and the inability to wait one's turn are characteristic of impulsivity.
  • Hyperactivity. The inability to sit still, running instead of walking, and fidgeting are examples of hyperactivity.
  • Inability to maintain attention. Forgetfulness, disorganization, and losing things indicate an inability to maintain attention or focus.

Coping with ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD can often be misunderstood by others as defiance, disinterest, and a general sense of aloofness and forgetfulness. It is important that both children and adults diagnosed with ADHD learn appropriate coping skills in order to manage the symptoms. Equally important is that individuals who live and work with people diagnosed with this disorder learn some coping strategies as well.

How to Manage ADHD

In order to effectively manage symptoms of ADHD, it is important for individuals to first accept that they have the disorder. Although it is a mental health disorder, it can be effectively managed and treated. The ten tips below are helpful for people who are trying to deal with this disorder:

  1. Pay attention to personal care. People with ADHD tend to feel like they are always on the go. It is important for them to pay attention to personal hygiene to ensure that is not neglected.
  2. Get sleep. Not getting enough sleep can make symptoms worse.
  3. Medication. Medical professionals can prescribe effective medications that can significantly help people with ADHD.
  4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In addition to medications, cognitive behavioral therapy can also help individuals with this disorder manage their symptoms.
  5. Use planners and calendars. Forgetfulness is one of the symptoms of ADHD, stemming from the inability to maintain attention. By writing things down people with this disorder can organize their lives and stay on task.
  6. Clean house. Getting rid of unneeded items and clutter will help individuals with ADHD stay organized and reduce the feeling of becoming overwhelmed by messy living conditions.
  7. Use timers and alarms. Setting alarms can help individuals with ADHD in being on time by serving as important reminders.
  8. Resist impulsive behavior. It's easy for people with this disorder to engage in risky, impulsive behaviors unless they actively practice resistance to this.
  9. Practice positive addictions. People with ADHD have a higher incidence of addiction. It is important to recognize this and turn attention to positive habits, such as exercise.
  10. Break down tasks. Large tasks can seem overwhelming for people with ADHD. Breaking them down helps them become more manageable.

How to Manage Living with Others Who Have ADHD

When you have a relationship with someone who has ADHD, life is not always easy. The effects of ADHD in others can leave you feeling alone, overwhelmed, and uncared for. The following tips can help in dealing with the symptoms of ADHD in those close to you:

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