ADHD is a lifelong disorder. As many as 60 percent of individuals diagnosed as children still cope with the disorder as adults—that’s 4 percent of the adult population in the U.S. Many more were never diagnosed as children, particularly those born before the late 1960s.
Adults with ADHD often don't have the same hyperactivity problems they did as children and adolescents. Some have simply outgrown the disorder. Others have developed skills to compensate for it. But some adults still struggle with ADHD symptoms, such as:
· Lack of focus
· Emotional problems
· Poor self-image
· Lack of motivation
They may also struggle with anxiety, health problems and troubled relationships.
If you think you may have undiagnosed ADHD, talk to your health care provider. Adults with diagnosed ADHD are usually treated both medically and with behavioral therapy. The combination can be very effective—and worthwhile.
Living with ADHD is a challenge, but there are many things that you can do, on your own, to make life less hectic and overwhelming. Some of them require positive habit changes. But others can be as easy as using a smartphone app or keeping a palm-sized pad of paper and a pen in your pocket or purse.
Organization is probably the toughest task for anyone with ADHD. Here are some ideas to make it easier:
· Use a calendar. It can be a smartphone app, a calendar program on your computer, a day-planner or the paper kind you hang on the wall or keep on your desk—just use it. Make note of or write down appointments, important dates and deadlines on your calendar and glance at it frequently.
· Make lists. It may seem self-defeating—after all, you’ll probably lose the list, right?—but in reality, the act of writing things down can actually help you remember them. Keep your lists where you’ll be sure to see them several times a day, and cross items off as you do them. Make lists of tasks, of projects, and of chores. Keep a running grocery list handy in the kitchen and write items down as you use them up. Later, when you go grocery shopping, stick to the list.
· “A place for everything … and everything in its place.” That’s an oldie-but-goody. If you have ADHD, you’re intimately acquainted with clutter and disorganization—and both do nothing but make it easier to forget or lose things. Instead, decide what you need to have out where you can see it and either find a place for everything else or get rid of it. Put things that you use every day, like your car keys, in the same place all the time.
· Take care of stuff now. Instead of procrastinating, do tasks as they come up. Clean up immediately instead of waiting, and return that phone call now instead of later. If you can do a task in two minutes, then do it. If it will take longer, then write it down on that to-do list we talked about earlier.
These are just a few ideas for living more easily with ADHD. For more information about that or other medical questions, click here.
Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer. Under the pen-name “Wren,” she also writes a blog about living well with rheumatoid arthritis called RheumaBlog (www.rheumablog.wordpress.com). In her spare time, Vandever enjoys cooking, reading and working on the Great American Novel.
· Adult ADD/ADHD Self-Help: Managing Symptoms and Getting Focused. Helpguide.org. Retrieved on January 30, 2014 from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_strategies.htm
· Lange, K.W., Reich, S., and Tucha, O. The History of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (2010, Dec.) PubMed Central. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on January 30, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000907/#!po=0.675676
· Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. (2014, Jan. 17) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on January 30, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html