When one struggles with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they may feel trapped in a cycle of unproductiveness with no escape. Symptoms can be intense and relentless – making it all the more difficult to follow a treatment regimen. However, there are ways to relieve ADHD symptoms and get yourself to a healthier, happier place where you are productive, working towards goals, and creating a more rounded lifestyle.
The most important thing to understand about ADHD is that it is not a reflection on you or your ability to get things done. It’s a classified disorder that hinders one’s ability to focus and effects follow through. Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss how to relieve ADHD symptoms and develop the proper coping mechanisms. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a mental health condition in which a person has difficulty concentrating for long periods of times, racing thoughts, and usually exhibit an overabundance of activity that they can’t control. Most often the disorder will appear during childhood, developing through adolescence and can become a chronic lifelong condition throughout adulthood. ¹
ADHD complicates one’s ability to get work done either in school or in a work setting. The inability to concentrate and control one’s own thoughts and impulses can hinder someone’s personal life as well, with complications arising in day-to-day activities and maintaining relationships with others.
ADHD Statistics in Adults
When one starts to pour over the data of how ADHD affects adults, the results can be pretty enlightening. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, an estimated 4.4% of US adults deal with ADHD. With more males than females being affected by the disorder according to the breakdown of that percentage. ²
ADHD was also found to be more common in Caucasian and African American males than in any other racial or gender backdrop, with a noted over 8% of those in the study finding that they have been dealing with ADHD their entire lives. ³ On average, males are three times more likely than females to have and be diagnosed with ADHD or related attention deficit disorders.
How to Relieve ADHD
Those with ADHD oftentimes feel that medication might be their only pathway to relief. Unfortunately, medication alone doesn’t always do the job. While there is no miracle cure or magic pill for ADHD, there are methods, practices, and habits that can help cement healthy and positive ways to cope. This is especially true alongside other treatment options, such as therapy.
Most of the ways to remedy ADHD and calm the raging mind are behavioral based – involving one to assess their own daily complications and how ADHD might be hindering them. Through this recalling, patients are able find solutions that best work for them. We’re going to highlight some of the more common techniques that many have found success with.
Staying Organized and Controlling the Clutter
One of the ways in which those that suffer from ADHD find relief is by creating and maintaining an organized lifestyle. And when we say organized, we don’t just mean organizing the stuff that seems to clutter your surroundings. We also mean finding ways to declutter your mind and find relief from the anxiety.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a national nonprofit organization that gives resources to those that have ADHD or have a loved one facing ADHD. Besides utilizing medication and talk therapy to try and combat ADHD, they also recommend organizational and self-help methods to ease more serious symptoms of ADHD. Of their recommendations, time and organization has been the key way in which those that are suffering find relief and those organization methods fall into several key categories: ⁴
- Time management
- Spacial Organization
- Financial Organization
- Stabilizing Productivity
- Self Help Methods for Mood & Stress Management
Maintaining a Schedule
When it comes to time management, creating and keeping a schedule is one effective way to ensure that meetings, events, personal time, and time with family and friends are all organized. Life can be hectic and unpredictable, but when one puts the time and energy into maintaining a schedule, surprise situations and events are less of a worry.
Making and maintaining a schedule also creates a routine (or a regular pattern) of events that becomes easier to manage and control over time. Those with ADHD find that sticking to a regular routine allows them to get more tasks done throughout the day, eases their internal anxiety, and helps them find items that would usually get misplaced.
Those with ADHD commonly find their homes, workspaces, and personal areas are messy, disorganized, and woefully mismanaged. Organizing your space is key to maintaining a schedule or routine as key items, paperwork, clothing, cell phones, and work bags should all have a proper and easy-to-find place.
Spacial organization doesn’t just apply to putting things in their proper places. It also means trying to maintain clean areas. Clutter can really pile up and living day-to-day with clutter can complicate everyday tasks as well as burden one’s own anxiety and stress. It is suggested that those living with ADHD take time out of their schedule or routine to address their overall living state, find and fix areas where things have a tendency to pile up and create a system to organize important items and paperwork.
Control Your Finances
Although a sensitive subject for anyone, finances can be a common issue with those struggling with ADHD, especially in early adulthood. Like with everything else, procrastination and disorganization can complicate the financial life of someone living with ADHD. However, one major thing that can really sidetrack an ADHD patient with their finances is impulsivity.
Those with ADHD are more impulsive than others and find that they will often do things that they know are harmful in the long run for the temporary reward of having that one thing they want in the moment. This kind of impulsivity can spell danger for their financial security. ⁵ That’s why it is suggested that for those dealing with ADHD and financial impulsivity to have and maintain a budget.
Creating a budget, keeping tabs on saving, and spending patterns and understanding debts and paying them on time all contribute towards a healthy and secure financial future. There are apps and spreadsheets that can help one manage, track, and control their finances. Apps like Mint and Albert can help with bill paying and budgeting, while other apps like Wally and Qapital can help with saving money and creating and adhering to long-term money management goals. ⁶
Keeping Focused and Productive
The most obvious symptom of ADHD is a lack of control over one’s own concentration and consideration towards goal and work management. The issue of follow-through is a common complication that not only affects the work life of someone living with ADHD but it can also spill into personal affairs and maintaining relationships with others.
Checklists & Achieving Goals
One key way that those who suffer with ADHD keep themselves focused is by creaitng a checklsit of things that they need to get done and following it to the letter. It may sound simple but that’s because it is. It’s the easiest way to get back on track and there’s a feeling of accomplishment that is obtained when one completes tasks on the list.
Sticking to a list and following through on it can lead to a lifestyle approach called persistent starting, which is when one pushes through a task or a project without stopping. The concept of persistent starting has been used by psychologists and behavioral coaches to try to get their patients and clients through difficult or seemingly insurmountable tasks.
Persistent starting was one of the tools that best selling psychologist, Neil Fiore illustrated in his book, The Now Habit, in which he discusses ways in which to avoid procrastination and achieve goals. He said of persistent starting, “…essentially, all large tasks are completed in a series of starts… Keep on starting, and finishing will take care of itself.” Persistent starting helps reduce stress, overcome consistent procrastination, and overcome difficult challenges. ⁷
Managing Stress and Helping Your Mood
Another common issue that those with ADHD face is having a perceived inability to change their mood or regulate stress. However, all of those things can be managed with a set of self-soothing techniques that will not only regulate mood but also ease stress. Self-soothing and coping skills are things that can be done on one’s own reconnaissance.
One of the more common ways that mental health professionals go about trying to alleviate the suffering of those with ADHD is to have them go through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In behavior therapy, an ADHD patient can learn ways to implement healthy and effective coping techniques which will alter the their impulsive behaviors that had once been in the way of their own treatment.
CBT will for instance teach an ADHD patient different skills and try and develop those skills over time and through follow-through and consistency the patient is able to see how they can change their own behaviors, control compulsions and have a more rounded way of living with their ADHD diagnosis.
In fact, in recent years there have been programs specifically designed to implement CBT training for those adults struggling with ADHD. These programs provide benefit for the patient, allowing them to have control over their actions, and thoughts and find ways to cope effectively, managing their stress, and reigning in their mood. ⁸
ADHD is a chronic lifelong condition but it doesn’t have to define someone. While it’s not easy to try and juggle all the things life throws at you, establishing consistent healthy coping techniques and self-help methods can help ease the more severe symptoms of ADHD and make life a little easier to handle.
Symptoms can be managed and relief can be found in different ways and through unique means. With the right balance of therapy, medication, and self coping techniques like creating a schedule, getting organized, and staying productive, anyone can live a fulfilling life with ADHD.
Still have questions concerning how to relieve ADHD?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge on the topic – whether personal or professional – we’d also like to hear from you.
¹ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – The Basics
² National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): ADHD Stats – Prevalence in Adults
³ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in African American children
⁴ Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): Organizing the Home and Office Space
⁵ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Impulsivity and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
⁶Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): More Month than Money? Apps to Help with Money Management
⁷ LifeOptimizer: How to Achieve Goals Through Persistent Starting
⁸ Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy