26 Aug 12 Best Tips for Coping with ADHD
By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms can easily disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, there are many ways you can successfully manage your symptoms.
Below, experts — some of whom have ADHD — share their best strategies.
1. Accept your diagnosis. ADHD is not a death sentence, said Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “It is simply a way the brain is wired.”
Accepting your diagnosis is key because it paves the way to positive action, such as learning about ADHD and finding strategies that work for you. As he said, “Acceptance does not mean that you love every aspect of something. It means that you recognize that it is what it is.”
2. Practice good self-care. “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, according to Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, a psychotherapist and author of 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD.
She suggested checking in with yourself throughout the day. “See if you are thirsty, hungry, tired or have a full bladder.” Be sure you’re also prepared. For instance, if you tend to forget to eat and suddenly feel ravenous, carry snacks with you, Sarkis said.
Exercise also is key for ADHD. Sarkis exercises every day because it helps her focus and get a good night’s rest.
Taking care of your health makes it easier to manage everything else. “If self-care comes first, our ability to cope with our ADHD by establishing new habits and creating more structure in our daily lives will go smoother,” said ADHD coach Sandy Maynard, MS.
3. Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. For instance, being tired affects your attention span, memory and complex problem-solving, said Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and author of Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The ADHD Executive Functions Workbook.
Also, when you haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep, it’s hard to determine whether your medication is working, Maynard said.
Unfortunately, people with ADHD tend to have sleep problems or sleep disorders, Olivardia said. Fortunately, sleep issues are treatable. Sometimes, all you need is to adjust your habits. (Here’s more on sleep problems and insomnia.)
4. Use pill containers. People with ADHD either tend to forget to take their medication or take it twice, Sarkis said. She suggested buying three weekly pill containers and filling them up at the same time. Not only does this keep you organized, but it also lets you know when you’re running out of medication, she added.
5. Control your impulses. According to Olivardia, people with ADHD “are at higher risk for various addictions.” He suggested “Know[ing] where your vulnerabilities lie” and “Seek[ing] forms of healthy stimulation to keep your mind’s arousal high, such as music, exercise, laughter and puzzles.”
To read full article, visit PsychCentral.