Manage Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Life for people living with ADHD is different than folks with normal functioning attention. It is far more difficult to sit through long classes and meetings, struggling to focus on the topic. People with ADHD often say they wonder how others “have it together” as they struggle to keep basic things organized. Time seems to melt away, leaving people often running late from one appointment to the next. With all these struggles, high anxiety is common as well. In a fast-paced world, how does a person manage with ADHD? Here are a few suggestions:
If your psychiatrist prescribes you a medication, it is because they have determined that your mind is under-focused and requires a measure of stimulation to reach a focus point similar to other people. Use medications as prescribed. Usually, doctors recommend stopping medication use for two to three weeks each year to reset your tolerance levels to prevent needing excessive dosing in the long run.
Keep a routine:
People with ADHD who don’t develop a routine often struggle to keep up with life demands. Routines give us a place to emotionally center during the course of a day. I also highly recommend keeping a calendar. Ironically, I find that people with ADHD say they dislike calendars more than people without ADHD, but the extra work of writing appointments down, forces them to focus a little more.
Take a deep breath:
As much as we need structure, people managing ADHD also need to actively slow their minds. Researchers recognize that a fast-paced lifestyle with high expectations can already be overtaxing. Add ADHD with impulsivity, and this sets us up to be unhappy and possibly miserable. Engage in activities that promote the brain to slow down such as daily walks, yoga, woodworking, or hobbies that require active focus (not video games). These activities allow us to listen to our mind and learn how our brain works emotionally. Learn more about mindfulness.
Diet and exercise:
What we put in our body has a huge impact on how effectively our brains work. If we eat poorly, our minds will under perform. Likewise, if we are inactive, our minds will slow down. I’m not suggesting we need to be extreme with these. Just eating an apple instead of a brownie or going for a short walk in the evening can make a difference. Learn more about diet.
Much of the activities to manage ADHD involve lifestyle. These are many of the skills I develop with my clients struggling with the disorder. If you would like to learn more about managing ADHD, call a therapist and set up an appointment.