Tips for Adults with ADHD

News stories, think pieces, and recent studies on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often approach the subject as it relates to children and their lifestyles, education, and development.  Adults with ADHD often fall by the wayside, though they can experience many limitations on a daily basis as a result of their diagnosis.  Indeed, adults with ADHD can show signs of impulsive behavior, difficulty focusing, struggles with work or school, unstable relationships, hyperactivity, and/or low self-esteem.  But many resources offer tips on how to deal with these struggles, especially hyperactivity and disorganization.

Managing Hyperactivity

It is important for adults with ADHD to find ways to manage their hyperactivity symptoms.  In 2012, Psych Central released a guide for adults struggling with their ADHD symptoms called “12 Best Tips for Coping with ADHD” by Margarita Tartakovsky, which approaches the subject of hyperactivity quite successfully.  Therein Tartakovsky compiles a comprehensive list of tips for dealing with the daily struggles of ADHD which she collected from experts, many of whom suffered from the disorder themselves.  One of the experts, a psychotherapist and author of 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD, Stephanie Sarkis, explains that “people with ADHD tend to become hyper-focused on tasks they really enjoy, and can forget to eat, rest, and even go to the bathroom.”  So hyperactivity, while not necessarily a struggle on its own, can result in individuals with ADHD experience a limited ability to then focus on their everyday needs.

Practicing good self-care, then, is a key step toward overcoming hyperactivity.  Along with eating and using the restroom, that also involves getting adequate sleep.  Ari Tuckman, PsyD, author of Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook, explains that tiredness affects memory, attention span, and problem-solving.  While a lack of sleep will negatively affect all people, those with ADHD may already experience limitations in the areas of memory, attention span, and problem-solving, so a lack of sleep may only make matters worse.

Another list created by Dr. Hallowell, author and ADHD expert, called “Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management,” also address many elements of self-care which directly benefit individuals with ADHD.  Because individuals with hyperactivity find themselves focused on a few specific tasks urgently, they may find that their ability to focus also on their emotional and social well-being can be compromised.  Dr. Hallowell’s comprehensive list is a great resource for those seeking to manage these specific types of ADHD symptoms. For example, the list suggests very simple ways of dealing with emotional struggles, like scheduling time with friends, giving oneself a “time out” in overwhelming situations, and getting enough exercise.

Avoiding Disorganization

The aforementioned list of tips compiled by Tartakovsky focuses a great deal on tackling daily difficulties with disorganization.  For instance, further down the list, Sarkis advises that adults with ADHD use pill containers for their medications.  This will ensure that the difficulties with staying organized do not affect the fulfilment of the very significant task of tending to their health.  Another tip on the list of tips for adults with ADHD is to keep a master list, or as Sarkis describes, a list of things that pop into your head throughout the day.  This way, if the individual has limitations with remembering specific thoughts or ideas, they will be able to find them written down in a convenient place.  

Two other tips on the list address the tendency of those with adult ADHD to become disorganized, and suggest that they keep a planner and limit clutter as much as possible.  Tuckman offers details in these areas.  He advises scheduling activities which are “time non-specific” so that more general tasks get done throughout the week, and solving the issue of losing track of one’s belongings by generally having fewer of them, because, “if you can’t find it, then there’s not much point in having it.”

Uniquely, a HelpGuide list approaches the struggle that adults with ADHD have with organization in the area of finances.  The tips on this specific list advise adults with ADHD to choose online banking because the organization of payments is done for the individual, instead of requiring them to keep a running list of purchases.  Further, the HelpGuide suggests that adults with ADHD to utilize bill paying reminders so that they can be alerted ahead of time when payments will be taken out.

These different resources offer numerous strategies for overcoming the many restrictions that adults with ADHD face in their daily lives.  For more tips for adults with ADHD, follow the links below.

Additional Resources for Adults with ADHD


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