ADHD Management Options for Adults
If you are an adult with a recently diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you have one critical advantage over children who have the condition. You have an adult awareness and understanding of your illness that can help you to self manage and compensate for the effects of ADHD.
Life may be full of the frustrations of being late, disorganised, and feeling that you are always making mistakes. However, because you can understand your condition, you can take far greater responsibility for your treatment.
Medication, Diet and TherapyAs an ADHD adult you may need medication, psychosocial therapy and counselling which can help you to address problems with depression, relationships and self-esteem. However, understanding your condition and helping yourself is the most powerful treatment available to you. Behavioural therapies can help you to improve your social skills, and how you react to situations and you should accept any offers of behavioural therapies. Following an ADHD diet can help you to manage symptoms.
Self HelpThere are a large number of simple practices you can follow to help yourself manage your condition.
Educate YourselfThe first step to beating the adverse effects of ADHD is to learn all you can about your condition. You need to forgive yourself for many of your behaviours.
The second step is to educate friends, family and your work colleagues about your condition so that they can help you as you learn new living habits.
It will take effort to bring structure and organisation into your life, with a need for a great deal of scheduling and self discipline. It will not always be easy, but with a diagnosis you will learn new ways to manage your stress, handle situations, and will be able to design schedules and structures to bring order and success into your life.
Organisers and DiariesMake use of an electronic organiser to plan your time; even mobile phones now contain these functions as standard.
Take time to plan your day and week down to the finest details. Include reminders about paying bills, making phone calls, keeping appointments or writing letters.
When an arrangement is made, enter it immediately into your organiser. Schedules can be reviewed each morning to remind you of what must be done that day. Most organisers will generate a daily to do list, but it will be up to you to prioritise these. List your most important tasks first.
Have a dictaphone, voice recorder or notebook to jot down any thoughts as they occur to you. These can be reviewed each night for transfer into your organiser. Leave yourself visual reminders or notes on message boards to remind you of these important tasks each day and night.
Time Management Hints and TipsWhen adding an entry into your organiser:
- Estimate how long any task will take you, and block out the time needed to complete it
- Add 10 minutes to the length of time you believe each task will take you. People with ADHD always underestimate how long any task will take
- Advance schedule and programme routine tasks like shopping, ironing, and housework
- Programme your organiser to give you an audible warning fifteen minutes before you need to leave for an appointment
- When an alarm sounds, immediately stop what you are doing, and get yourself ready.
Task Management Tips
- Programme reminders and deadlines for decisions
- Start work on your most enjoyable tasks to give you a sense of achievement when they are completed
- Programme regular breaks in your day, with gaps between meetings so you can gather your thoughts
- Break down tasks into manageable 30 minute chunks so that you can maintain your focus. Spread out long or boring tasks over the day.
Controlling FinancesManaging money is one of the greatest areas of weakness in an ADHD adult. To regain control, record every aspect of spending so that you can see where the money goes. A considerable amount will be wasted on impulse purchases and eating out. By creating a strict plan and sticking it to it, problems can be rapidly brought under control. Planning your money needs each day; leaving credit cards and excess money at home can help control your spending.
Improving Work PerformanceYou will already be aware of how and when you work best. Try and arrange your working environment so that you can work to your strengths and focus on the things you do well. Complete your least draining tasks early in the day. When you make a decision, take a note of it and return to it the next day. If you still think it is a good decision, act on it.
Life with ADHD is not all bad; you are likely to be more creative and imaginative than ordinary people. Controlling your ADHD symptoms can help you to start to achieve your potential.