How To Cope & Manage Your Adult ADHD Medication FREE…
There are many ways to treat adult ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder).
The most talked about and controversial treatments for Adult ADD/ADHD are medications such as Adderall and Ritalin. However, the purpose of this blog is not to talk about medications.
Today I want to help you understand that there are 4 very powerful and important steps you can integrate into your daily life that will help you manage your symptoms and the often-chaotic feelings that arise from having ADD/ADHD.
Life Change #1: Sleep: You probably have been told to get 8 hours of sleep each night. However, what is more important is to get on a regular sleep schedule by choosing the same time to go to bed and the same time to get up every morning.
Often adults with ADD/ADHD tend to stay up all night, then are tired all day. Another common problem is staying up late on the weekends and then sleeping later in the morning.
This pattern creates problems for Monday morning when it is time to get up early and then it has a spiraling effect throughout the week.
So, it is very important to create a regular sleep schedule and routine, even on weekends and vacation. This is something I practice with all of my clients and it works very well.
The more you maintain a regular sleep schedule, the better you will feel. You will also avoid the common problems resulting from irregular sleeping patterns and function better during the day.
Life Change #2: Environment: Your environment is also an extremely important factor to managing your ADHD successfully. Many people have chaotic work and home environments, which tend to mirror their chaotic, thought patterns.
There is a great book that talks about this. It’s called, “ADD Friendly Ways To Organize Your Life.” It is an easy to read book which teaches you to structure your environment so you can function optimally.
For example, my patients with ADHD and I have a motto, “Everything has a place and everything in its place.” The keys are a classic example of this. Instead of laying your keys down anywhere, make sure you create a place in your home where the keys ‘always go’ as soon as you walk in the door. It could be a basket, a hook or even a bag.
Creating this sort of structure and routine for your life can have a major impact on your success. It is often the small things which help the most.
Life Change #3: Exercise: Many people with ADHD have an internal restlessness which can show up as constant fidgeting, leg tapping, etc. Creating time for regular exercise can help you burn off that extra Adrenaline/Norepinephrine (a stress hormone), helping you feel more relaxed, calm and clear.
Similar to regular sleep, it is important to create regular exercise routine. That can mean a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood or popping your favorite workout DVD on. It does not mean you have to exercise for hours or go to a fancy gym.
It is less important what and where you exercise; what is most important is the exercise is a regular and consistent part of your daily routine.
Life Change #4: Coaching, Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Group Therapy: In many instances people experiencing ADHD feel negative about themselves. Despite having tried repeatedly to help themselves, they have persistent negative thoughts and feel like they are in a tornado of chaos.
If this happens to you, consider reaching out and finding an ADHD Coach that can help you stay on track, be a support as well as someone to cheer you on when you feel stuck or frustrated.
Another option is Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT. CBT is a type of talk therapy based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are deeply entwined. In other words, if you are habitually thinking negative thoughts about your ADHD or yourself it will continue the vicious cycle of chaotic behavior, negative feelings, and negative thoughts. Consider this: your thoughts lead to your feelings, your feelings lead to your behaviors and your behaviors lead to your results.
Working with a professional and licensed therapist can help you overcome these negative thoughts and ultimately help you take different actions that support a more empowered way of living. This type of therapy can lead to rapid results.
Another option is Group Therapy. Many people find it very comforting and helpful to get involved with a group of people that have the same challenges. They feel supported and this alone can make the difference to living a more healthier, happier and empowered life style.
The take-away message from this blog is to know that there are many ways to treat, cope and manage your ADHD symptoms without taking medications.
Medications can be very helpful and in certain situations are needed; however, there are many non-medication tools to help you with your ADD/ADHD. It is important to understand that what works for one person, may not always work for you. So, find new ways of dealing with your challenges, experiment and reach out for help when you need it.
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Dr. Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill