How To Manage ADHD As An Adult

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Children who are diagnosed with ADHD are often given a clear treatment plan. They are referred to a good Newport Beach child psychiatrist who analyzes their condition, gives them behavioral modification tips, works with their parents or guardians, and determines if any medication is necessary. This will allow them to live normal, productive lives. By the time they reach adulthood, they’ve often learned to manage their condition very well.

But what about adult-onset ADHD, or the adults that have always had ADHD but were never shown how to manage it? They may go through college or navigate the job field constantly running late, easily distracted and interrupting others without realizing why. They, too, need assessment from a Newport Beach psychiatrist in determining the severity of their condition. After that, it’s up to them to be their own advocates and manage their lives appropriately.

Here are the most common symptoms and signs of ADHD in adults:

  • Trouble getting organized. This goes way beyond the standard person’s pile of paperwork or laundry pile that never seems to get folded. People with ADHD have extreme trouble managing their lives, often forgetting simple tasks like paying bills and grocery shopping.
  • Being extremely easily distracted. ADHD is an attention issue, so adult ADHD makes it hard to succeed in today’s fast-paced world. Adults with ADHD might be so distracted by simple noise in offices, unexpected emails or calls that they have trouble finishing their tasks.
  • Reckless driving and frequent traffic accidents or near misses. Adults with ADHD find it difficult to focus, even while on the road.
  • Poor listening skills. If you always zone out during meetings at work, during long conversations with a friend or forget things your spouse just told you, you might have ADHD.
  • Marital and relationship problems. While relationship issues alone certainly aren’t cause for concern over ADHD, but adults who have ADHD are more likely to have strained marriages. Usually the affected person’s poor listening skills and failure to honor certain commitments can come across as a lack of consideration, causing the partner to become frustrated. Communication issues are common.
  • Chronic lateness. Adults with ADHD are often distracted while getting ready work for or an event. They may realize at the last minute that their car is low on gas. They also tend to underestimate how long getting ready will take them. This all adds up to frequent lateness.
  • Trouble prioritizing tasks. Normally, an adult can look at a to-do list and determine which tasks are most important and which can wait. For someone with ADHD, this is very difficult. They can start with less important tasks and end up missing deadlines or dropping the ball on important projects.
  • Restlessness and trouble relaxing. Adults with ADHD might find it difficult to relax and disconnect from life and the smart phone. Their minds are always racing and they may even be fidgety all the time.

Do you identify with at least half of these things? Do you suspect you might have adult ADHD? The first step is getting a diagnosis and getting your condition analyzed. But that is only a start. Whether or not you are prescribed medication, you will have to learn some ways of coping with and managing your ADHD. Luckily, this is far from impossible, and improvements can be made quickly as long as you stick with your determination.

Here are five great rules for adults with ADHD to live by:

  1. Accept the past, then vow to move forward. You can’t change anything about your previous choices, but you can decide that from this day forward, you’re going to work to be better. Adults with ADHD have wear nonverbal working memory, which means that they don’t use hindsight to guide their future actions very well. Simply being aware of this will help you rewire your brain. Stop beating yourself up for making the same mistakes repeatedly and instead work on improving the future.
  2. When it comes to tackling big projects, look to the future. Many adults with ADHD are “time blind” and have trouble imagining how it will feel when their task is done. So ask yourself how you’ll feel when your work is done, and then imagine the negative consequences of not getting it done. You’ve probably been there too many times to count, so simply focus on choosing a different outcome.
  3. Break down your big tasks into smaller ones. Of course, this is much easier said than done. But if you can learn how to break each thing into hour-long chunks of work, you’ll have a much better chance of meeting your deadline. To double your success rate, make yourself accountable to another person. This can be a supervisor, a supportive co-worker, a spouse or a friend.
  4. Do these two positive things after you do complete a task or make a goal: congratulate yourself and take a short mental break to allow yourself a little fun (reading a book, checking your personal email, reading an online article). Just make sure to set a timer so you know when it’s time to get back to work, and stick to it.
  5. Learn to accept feedback from others. This can be challenging for people with ADHD since they are notoriously poor listeners. Listen to all feedback and let it sink in. Then you can decide if it’s positive and beneficial or something that you can let go… you’ll receive all kinds of feedback and advice, and while not all of it will be helpful, much of it will be useful.

And remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep a sense of humor throughout the process of learning to live with your adult ADHD. Own your mistakes, explain why they happen, but don’t make excuses. Keep things light. This will allow you to keep your self-esteem (and your friends) while you work on self-improvement.