Are you out of focus? Tips to cope with ADHD

Some adults continue to live life under the dark shadow of ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] is largely considered a problem that children and adolescents need to tackle. Whether ADHD persists into adulthood is a relatively newer area of research and has gained recognition over the past few years.

Research has shown that sometimes children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, and those who have been on treatment in the past for the same, can carry forth the symptoms of ADHD into adulthood.

The manner in which it manifests changes as one moves into adulthood. In particular, it varies with the lifestyle of the individual. The impact of the condition also tends to be multidimensional, affecting relationships, work, and daily activities.

A number of adults with ADHD find it difficult to control the first response that comes to mind. There is an impulsivity associated with behaviours, which can manifest in the form of gambling, using substances or shopping, to name a few.

At the same time, in everyday life, these adults tend to respond quickly, find it difficult to wait for their turn or have verbal outbursts. Such instances take place despite the individuals knowing that they feel bad about them later.

Associated with impulsivity is hyperactivity. Such individuals are typically restless and cannot sit still. They are fidgety—always playing or touching things around them or moving things around in a purposeless manner.

They tend to cram their day with many things to do. This results from their need to engage in varied activities as well as their ability to go on as though they are on wheels.

Adults with ADHD get easily distracted by things around them or by the thoughts that come to their mind and hence take longer to complete tasks.

They also get bored of the tasks entrusted to them quickly and find it difficult to pay sufficient attention, making mistakes that are avoidable.

Adult ADHD also affects a person’s ability to plan, organise and schedule tasks. Structuring activities tends to be a difficult requirement, which they are unable to meet. As a result, they often skip appointments or miss deadlines.

They also experience difficulties initiating or terminating projects or tasks, may procrastinate, leaving things to be completed till the last minute, be late for scheduled meetings, or frequently lose or misplace things.

These symptoms have a significant impact upon their emotional and psychological functioning. Despite being intellectually capable and skilled, such individuals experience significant difficulties at work and even lack of success in relationships.

This gives them a sense of underachievement, which affects their moods, making them more irritable. They are unable to cope with the sense of frustration, which manifests as further difficulty in staying motivated.

7 tips to deal with ADHD

1. Maintain a routine

It will help you stay on track with the basic things you need to accomplish in the day.

2. Develop realistic targets

Resist the urge to fit in too many things into your day. You may think that you can accomplish a lot, but may not be able to do so. And this will affect you. Developing realistic targets and goals helps reduce the pressure you put on yourself.

3. Prioritise

This is an important aspect of managing the things you need to do. Start working on tasks that need to be completed at the earliest and organise all your activities around this understanding.

4. Communicate effectively

If you make mistakes like interrupting too much or impulsively responding to people, work on these aspects.

5. Build a supportive work environment

Identify the mistakes you make at work and try and rectify them. Talk to those around you and work on building a support structure you can rely on.

6. Work on relationships

Relationships are important and cannot be compromised. Work on strengthening your bond with friends and family members.

7. Seek professional help

It will help you cope with the effects of your condition. Through the use of pharmacological and psychological methods, the detrimental impact of ADHD can be controlled.

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Dr Samir Parikh is chief psychiatrist, department of Mental Health & Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare, New Delhi.


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