Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly found neurodevelopmental disorders in adults.
Adult ADHD features on the spectrum of mental health disorders. Persistent problems can include impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and an inability to pay attention. An individual with ADHD may struggle to have relationships and perform tasks at work or college. They may also suffer from low self-esteem and other mental health disorders.
Although it is called adult ADHD, the individual will probably have displayed all the symptoms early, possibly throughout their childhood. Symptoms are not as apparent in adulthood as they are in children. Hyperactivity in adults may subside, but the inability to concentrate and impulsive behavior may continue or get worse without suitable mental illness treatment.
Why ADHD should be diagnosed and treated
An adult who displays all of the symptoms of ADHD may struggle with most aspects of life. An official diagnosis, while possibly devastating, will give the individual an opportunity to become effective in their day-to-day life, have a better quality of life, and achieve happiness.
An ADHD diagnosis opens up the potential for effective ADHD treatment. Without a diagnosis, there remain unanswered questions about the individual’s behavior, and their condition may worsen by their inability to ‘conform’ to society’s expectations. Other mental health disorders may develop as a result, for example, depression.
A diagnosis will introduce the individual to a variety of treatments and strategies which address ADHD. Consequently, other mental health disorders may subside.
Treatments prescribed for ADHD include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. Once diagnosed, individuals are advised to educate themselves about ADHD. This will put their struggles into perspective and enable them to view themselves in a better light.
The sooner an accurate diagnosis is given, old strategies which were not working can make way for professionally prescribed targeted strategies and help for ADHD for managing symptoms.
Living a fulfilled and productive life with ADHD
No two adults with ADHD have the exact same needs and routines. Their approach to daily life is different, and they can adopt specific strategies to make life easier.
The makeup of an ADHD brain is such that staying focused is an immense challenge. Some easy to access tools offer help for ADHD and make it easier to keep focused on tasks:
- Keep a daily diary, planner, or notebook
- Time management and organizational tools
- Some apps assist with task management
- A time-management system such as Google Calendar
- Work in block apps of, for example, Pomodoro, which sets 25-minute sessions with 5-minute breaks
Consistency will help productivity, so it is wise to stay with one productivity tool for a while.
Set reminders to take medication as prescribed
If medication is required (note: not all ADHD treatments require medication), it’s useful to set an alarm to remind the person when to take their medication. Eventually setting an alarm and taking the medication at the same time every day will become second nature.
Ensure that the medication is kept in a visible location. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated.
Make a game of a To-Do list
A long list of tasks will be daunting to someone with ADHD. There are organizational tools available where boring lists transform into strategies with time challenges, check-offs, and rewards.
Ticking off tasks on a list is extremely rewarding and gives a sense of accomplishment, a good feeling for someone with adult ADHD.
Give tasks meaning
Motivation to complete a task may be lacking in someone with ADHD. By assigning a task meaning, a person may become engaged and possibly even excited to do it. Changing the perception of why the task needs doing and the benefit derived from doing it could motivate a person into doing it.
For example, a task may become more exciting if the reward is a vacation, a night out, or a shopping trip. By focusing on the prize, the task becomes meaningful and more likely to be accomplished.
A person with ADHD struggles to keep focused on one task, let alone many at the same time. Distractions are eliminated by working with an organizer or diary planner.
A tip to help focus on one task is to clear away anything unrelated to the task at hand, avoiding distractions.
Cell phones are a big distraction. These should be put in another room and only retrieved during breaks.
Staring at a screen for long periods will make a person lose track of time and focus on tasks. Some apps offer help for ADHD and can restrict screen time. Set a stopwatch for 15 minutes as a prompt to move from social media to another task.
Learn to say NO
A person with ADHD can be impulsive. They may agree to do many tasks without recognizing they are overloading themselves. Likewise, they may accept too many social invitations.
An overloaded schedule will lead to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and compromised work quality, causing anxiety or depression.
Learning to say NO is critical for a person with ADHD. It will lead to a healthier and happier person who can perform at a higher level.
Learning to say they need to check their diary before committing is an effective way to manage the impulse to say yes.
Tips for budgeting and bills
All adults need to budget, plan and organize their finances. Someone with ADHD will find this challenging. The systems used by healthy individuals requiring attention to detail, discipline, and time are not suitable for those with ADHD.
A simple system or app (many banks offer budgeting apps) will ensure controlled spending, payment of bills, and the avoidance of penalties and make the individual feel in control.
Today, numerous resources are available to help adults with ADHD live an everyday, happy, productive life.
Getting Professional Help
Once diagnosed, if ADHD continues to impair your life, consult your doctor to see what additional treatments are available.
A variety of health care experts can supervise ADHD treatment. Look for a practitioner with experience and training in caring for adults with ADHD and related mental health disorders, and remember compassionate and caring healthcare is always available.
At Psyclarity Health, we have the expertise and care needed to treat adult ADHD and any other mental health disorder. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you.