Reviewed by Heather Cashell, LCSW
If you struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the tasks you face daily may feel like a struggle. And while you may be familiar with the term ADHD, you may not know what it is or what type of ADHD help and treatment options are available. The good news is that there are a lot of options when it comes to ADHD help. The trick is learning which ones will work the best for you.
A Little About Adult ADHD
Many people are familiar with the ADHD diagnosis in children; however, they are not as familiar with adult ADHD. The American Psychiatric Association has found that around 2.5% of adults also have the disorder. While it's often identified in childhood, people can carry it through into adulthood. And some people are not diagnosed with the disorder until they are already over 18. It's generally believed that these people struggled with ADHD as a child, but the symptoms were not identified, diagnosed, or treated at that time.
While many of the symptoms look the same between children and adults with ADHD, there can be some differences. Adults may have learned how to control some of the impulsive reactions, extreme emotions, or other symptoms that can be a part of ADHD. Even if they may have learned how to slightly adjust their behavior over time to what they think is acceptable in certain situations, it's not addressing the real symptoms and underlying cause of their behavior. In these cases, it would help adults with ADHD to seek treatment options.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults:
- Difficulty focusing or being hyper-focused
- Lack of organization
- Struggling with time management skills
- Being forgetful
- Acting impulsively
- Difficulty with emotions
- Lack of self-confidence
- Poor motivation
- Development of anxiety disorders or depression
- Trouble in relationships
- Substance use disorders
It's important to understand that people with ADHD do not need to experience all of these symptoms. If you're wondering if you are struggling with some of these areas due to ADHD, this online ADHD test can help you gain more clarity. It's also important to consult with your doctor or a mental health professional for diagnosis and to begin exploring your treatment options.
Here are some of the ADHD help options that may be able to help.
There are different kinds of medication available that can help treat ADHD symptoms. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.
While medication is one of the most common forms of treatment that people are familiar with for ADHD, it's not the only solution. People can experience the best results when using multiple forms of treatment together. In fact, many people find that their ADHD medication is more effective when also using other treatment options.
Exercise is effective at addressing different mental health challenges, including mental disorders. This is also true of ADHD. Exercising and doing physical activity can help you use up some of the extra energy you have. This can help you to act less impulsively. In turn, this can help you to have more focus on your work.
You want to find the types of exercise that work the best for you. You may experience an improvement in your symptoms by simply going on regular walks each day. Or you may benefit from participating in different types of sports. For example, some children with ADHD benefit from sports such as hockey and football, which allows them to be even more physically active.
If you think that this activity could be beneficial for you, you may want to try something like boxing or obstacle course racing. Look for things that can let you use multiple parts of your body and that you can have fun while you're doing it. It can also be helpful to do an activity that you can enjoy with others, such as a team sport. This allows you to include social activity along with your exercise.
Being more physically active can also help you in other areas of your life. For example, you may find that you can create a better sleep routine because you're using up more of your energy during the day. And you may find that you experience fewer mood swings because exercise is known for boosting the chemicals in your brain that are related to happiness
Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
Sleep is important for being physically and mentally healthy. However, it's common for people who are diagnosed with ADHD to experience sleep problems. They may have trouble falling asleep at night, toss and turn all night long, or struggle to wake up in the morning. Not getting enough sleep or quality sleep can make other things in life more difficult to deal with. You may struggle to feel like you have the energy you need to get through the day, or you may struggle with having the patience that you need to interact with others.
A few things that you can do to improve your sleep habits include:
- Create a sleep schedule. Do your best to stick to the same bedtime each night and wake up close to the same time each day. Many people get in the habit of adjusting their sleep schedule based on work-nights vs. weekend nights, but when creating a sleep schedule, it's helpful to keep it as close to the same times as possible. This helps train your body when it should be ready to sleep and wake up.
- Create the right environment. Make sure your room is dark when you sleep. If you work hours that require you to sleep during daylight hours, get curtains that block out the sun. It can also be helpful to keep the room on the cooler side. Some people also benefit from white noise, such as running a fan, while they sleep. This can help block out other noises, such as creaking and cracking in the house, that could otherwise wake you up.
- Limit your screen time before bed. Our devices put out blue light, which can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Before laying down to fall asleep, you want your body to start shifting into sleep mode. Exposing yourself to blue light by scrolling through social media before falling asleep can lead to sleep trouble.
- Cut back on caffeine late in the day. If you're struggling to sleep well at night, try reducing your caffeine consumption throughout the day. You may want to try cutting it out completely, or you may just want to avoid having any in the afternoon and evening.
Be Intentional About What You Eat
While it's a good idea for everyone to make wise food choices, there are extra advantages for people who struggle with ADHD symptoms. While science is limited, many believe that they experience improvement in their ADHD symptoms by limiting certain foods and adding certain vitamins and/or supplements.
Along with cutting back on caffeine, as mentioned above, you may benefit from cutting back on the amount of sugar that you consume. Some people find that this helps them maintain more consistent energy levels instead of experiencing energy crashes at certain points of the day.
Some experts believe that certain additives and food dyes can negatively impact those who have ADHD symptoms. Cutting these out of your diet may help.
Some people also find that adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diet can help improve their mental focus. This can be found through tuna and salmon or in fortified products like milk and eggs.
Mindfulness is often connected with meditation, but it doesn't have to be. Mindfulness is all about learning how to control your thoughts instead of letting your thoughts control your emotions and responses. Learning how to be aware of your thoughts and feelings helps you learn how to control and handle the way you respond.
Mindfulness can also help gain confidence and self-esteem. Some people with ADHD also struggle with anxiety disorders or depression. Mindfulness can help you learn to recognize when negative self-talk has started, so you can replace it by intentionally choosing more positive things to focus on.
If you're not familiar with mindfulness, there are several apps that you can use to help you get started.
Talk To A Mental Health Professional
It's also important to remember that if you're struggling with ADHD, there are many ways that a mental health professional can help. They can assist you in learning strategies to overcome the symptoms that he may experience. And they can also help with other mental health challenges that you may face in addition to ADHD.
Don't hesitate to reach out to your physician or a mental professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist to explore the treatment options available for you.