Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is challenging and there are often hidden symptoms that people aren’t aware of. There are three types of ADHD: The inattentive, the hyperactive and the combined - a mix of both. It is crucial for those with ADHD to understand their symptoms and have the tools and techniques needed to manage their ADHD symptoms effectively, for a better quality of life and wellbeing.
Having knowledge and an understanding of ADHD is the first step towards managing it effectively.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that create different challenges in daily functioning.
In a new diagnosis, ADD is now a part of ADHD that is categorized into three subtypes:
Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Difficulty paying attention, following through on tasks, following direction, and disorganization.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: Exhibiting hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and impatience.
Combined Presentation: A combination of inattention category and the hyperactive-impulsivity category - inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive.
Onset: Symptoms often appear in childhood and can persist into adulthood. However, ADHD can be diagnosed in adulthood. Some symptoms present differently in girls than in boys. As an example, boys present their symptoms with hyperactivity, loss of focus, disorganization, fidgeting, impulsivity. Girls present their symptoms with heightened emotions and sensitivity, loss of focus, disorganization, distraction, low self-esteem.
*This is subjective to each person.
Causes: The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors.
Co-morbidity Conditions: Many individuals with ADHD have coexisting conditions, such as anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities.
Lifelong Condition: ADHD is a lifelong condition, but it's a condition that can be managed effectively with the right tools and medication.
Positive Traits: People with ADHD are often creative, highly energetic, have the ability to think outside the box, and are great with coming up with new ideas.
2. Create a Routine:
Routines and schedules are recommended as they provide help with time management, organization, impulsivity, and forgetfulness. As for kids, children thrive off of structure and routine as it helps them feel secure, consistent, and they can know what to expect which helps greatly with ADHD symptoms.
Establish a daily routine that includes specific times for work, relaxation, exercise, and sleep.
Use +/- times
Keep consistent with your routine and adjust when needed
3. Use Time Management Techniques:
Have breaks between tasks and use a timer to stick to them
Use +/- times and be mindful to give yourself more time
Set time reminders for activities, meetings or tasks
4. Create Reminders:
Put sticky notes around the house
Set phone reminders
Set the reminder straight away as you think of the task
Pin WhatsApp chats as reminders
5. Stay Organized:
Use tools like calendars and digital apps to keep your tasks and priorities organized.
Create to do lists and tick them off
Keep things in set areas at home to stay organized - keep it consistent to create a habit
De-clutter and keep areas simple and clear - set time or reminder in order to do it consistently and to create a habit of it
6. Mindfulness and Meditation:
Incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine to enhance focus and reduce stress
Use grounding techniques like your 5 senses
Use breathing techniques, x4 seconds
Use meditation and mindful apps
7. CBT ADHD Technique:
Use the 3 priority level technique
Divide your tasks and chores between three levels: high priority, mid priority, low priority
Complete and tick off your high priority tasks first and move on to the mid and then low
8. Use the buddy system
Do specific tasks with a buddy or your child to help with concentration, time management, and organization
Give specific tasks to a friend, partner, colleague, etc for efficiency
9. Work WITH your ADHD
Working WITH your ADHD will help you to be less frustrated and down.
Working with it can help you with being more compassionate and understanding of yourself and the challenges associated.
Working with your ADHD helps you to better manage and implement the techniques effectively and consistently.
Living with ADHD doesn't have to be overwhelming. By understanding your condition and implementing these strategies consistently, you can lead a fulfilling and productive life.
Remember, managing ADHD is a journey and you will find what works best for you overtime. Stay patient and be open to trying new approaches to find what suits you best, and remember to work with it.