In this article:
- What is adult ADHD?
- Symptoms of adult ADHD
- What causes it?
- 10 effective ways of managing adult ADHD
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April 23, 2021 9 min read
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is just a term to some. To others, it is a reality that is often hard to accept and cope with on a daily basis. ADHD affects every single area of a person’s life, and even the simplest of tasks can become challenging. This disorder takes a toll on one’s overall quality of life, social relationships and attitude toward self, significantly impacting mood andproductivity. To make matters worse, those who haven’t gone down this road may find it hard to fully grasp the complexity of this issue, which is exactly why people with ADHD often experience a lack of sympathy and understanding from others.
And if dealing with ADHD wasn’t hard enough… add a global pandemic to the equation. A vast majority of people have been faced with a 180° switch in their work routine and environment, being forced to work from home due to Covid. On top of the pressure ofstaying productive at home, the pandemic also brought to the surface issues such as anxiety, stress, and an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. Even people with no attention disorder have reported difficulty staying focused due tobrain fog and inattention, as well as a lack of motivation and structure.
However, we’re here to offer solutions, not delve into further problems! The vicious cycle of adult ADHD can be broken with simple techniques that require practice, but have been shown to work. We won’t waste our time on quick fixes and shortcuts, as we’re far more interested in long-term progress and habits that can truly make a difference. Mind you, the change won’t happen overnight, but with these practices, you’ll definitely feel like you took over the wheel!
By definition, ADHD is amental health disorder and is essentially a mix of recurring cognitive issues, including hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and difficulty focusing. Just by stating the common symptoms, we can readily recognize the areas of an individual’s life affected by this disorder: social life, school and work performance, along with self-esteem.In some cases, these problems are deeply rooted in a person’s childhood, but that isn’t a general rule. Many people develop this disorder later in life, without ever having experienced these issues before. Nevertheless, ADHD is much easier to diagnose in children than it is in adults, which makes adult ADHD that much more complex.
There are many symptoms of ADHD and their severity is quite individual. One of the main consequences of this disorder is alack of focus; being easily distracted, overlooking details, and having a hard time completing a project. On the other hand, a person with ADHD may also experiencehyperfocus, which basically means getting too caught up in something to pay attention to anything else around you. ADHD also makes it really challenging to have any type ofstructure in your daily routine, whether it be time management or overall organizational skills.
Procrastination and forgetfulness also go hand-in-hand with adult ADHD, which is a particularly significant setback when it comes to professional achievements. However, what may impact your education, career, and even social relationships the most is ADHD-relatedimpulsiveness, which is often manifested through irrational, rushed decisions, lack of consideration for consequences, and even being socially inappropriate.
This lack of control can also result inrestlessness and anxiety,lack of motivation, and even anegative self-image. Living with ADHD and having to endure its consequences daily often leads to self-criticism, overthinking, and a serious decline in confidence. Unfortunately, adult ADHD has also been associated with other mental health issues such as substance abuse.
Often exact causes or triggers of adult ADHD are hard to pinpoint. Regardless, we can still discuss some of the potential risks or proven causes of this disorder.
Unsurprisingly, one of the leading causes of adult ADHD is actually something we have no control over -genetics. Statistically, children or siblings of people diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to develop it themselves.Therefore, it is safe to say that there is a greater chance of having ADHD if it runs in the family, even though it may not always be the determining factor.
According to research, there are certain“risk” groups that have been labeled as sensitive when it comes to ADHD. People diagnosed with epilepsy, born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy) or with low birth weight, and those who have suffered brain damage (in the womb or later in life) run a higher risk of developing adult ADHD.
Finally, the most controversial factor when it comes to causes of ADHD isbrain structure. While some studies have brought up the possibility of differences in the brain structure of a healthy person and a person with ADHD, others argue that there is not enough evidence backing up these claims. Aside from brain structure, some scientists have also discussed the imbalance in certain neurotransmitters and their function as one of the potential core issues in ADHD.
As we’ve said, there are no shortcuts, and real change cannot happen overnight, but you can certainly change your life one step at a time. It is the little things, like developing better organizational skills, or setting clear boundaries and priorities, that will allow you to truly be in charge of your life. Let’s talk about the 10 ways of managing adult ADHD!
While it is certainly fun and tempting not to have every step of the way planned, it is recommended to add a bit of structure to your daily life - especially when it comes to work.
A bit of planning goes a long way, and it is a great technique that can help in avoiding chaos. Your planning can be daily, weekly, or monthly - but we advise easing into this habit by not planning too far ahead. This way, you’ll be in more control of your time since it’s less likely there’ll be any bigger changes in your schedule (as opposed to, say, yearly plans).
This step goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, and it could be considered one of the best ways of adding structure to your life. It is no surprise that people who suffer from ADHD often have an inaccurate concept of time, which is why it is important for them to always have a clock nearby. By paying attention to the time it takes to complete a certain task, you’ll be able to make a much more accurate, reliable plan. However, try not to get too caught up on strict time limits for certain tasks, as your focus won’t be at the same level every day.
A big factor in time management is also setting up reminders for important meetings, events, and other time-sensitive obligations, including basic tasks as well. Reminders will not only help you stay punctual and organized, but they’ll take a great load off your psyche and minimize stress.
Mindfulness basically means being present in the moment and in tune with your inner self. In order to achieve this state, one must cancel out both the outside noise and their own hectic thoughts in order to focus on the moment at hand. One of the best ways of achieving mindfulness and getting better at it each and every day is by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to work on your focus, learn to ignore distractions, manage impulsivity, and understand and control your emotions more effectively.
If you’re a beginner, you should definitely start with shorter sessions and work your way up. While there are numerous YouTube guides on meditation for beginners, beginner-friendly apps such asInsight Timer,Smiling Mind, andMyLife Meditation may be a more appealing option.
All the healthy habits we’ve talked about, and all the rest we will discuss later, mean nothing if your sleep schedule is messed up. Unfortunately, sleep issues and disorders includinginsomnia are common among people struggling with ADHD. And let’s be frank, no one can expect a sleep-deprived person to be on top of their game! Lack of sleep has been known to worsen the symptoms of ADHD, making it nearly impossible for the person to function normally.
One of the most effective methods for you to overcome sleep deprivation is to create a sleep-wake schedule that you will stick to even on the weekends.Also, it is essential to create a relaxing, stress-free bedtime routine. For instance, try reading a book or even meditating before bed instead of scrolling through social media, asblue light has been shown to induce restlessness.
ADHD medication is a topic we won’t touch upon today, as it is something to be discussed with your doctor, and your doctor only. However, what we can recommend are natural supplements to help you manage the exhausting ADHD symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our well-being, but unfortunately, they also belong to the group ofessential nutrients - meaning that our body doesn’t produce them. Not only do they protect brain structure, but omega-3s have been found topromote overall cognitive performance; sharpening memory, focus, and concentration.
Glutathione, commonly referred to as themaster antioxidant,is one of the main factors in a healthy brain and optimal cognitive functions. Glutathione has been found to protect the brain against free radicals,promoting numerous brain functions, including memory, learning ability, and focus.
As someone who struggles with focus, you may find yourself jumping from one task to another, and getting to a point of exhaustion without completing either of them. In addition to sticking to your daily plan, it is important to set daily priorities so that they don’t get lost in a sea of secondary commitments. This way you’ll make sure not only to complete your most important/urgent tasks first, but to distribute your energy and determination accordingly.
Exercise has been scientifically proven to put us in a better mood by releasing neurotransmitters such as endorphins. Exercise has particularly been associated with a boost in serotonin levels, which is known to promote a good mood, improve sleep cycles, and appetite.
There’s nothing wrong with being a homebody, but too much time inside may contribute to anxiety, overthinking, and lack of productivity. Spending time in nature, or outdoors in general, has a great impact on mood levels, especially since exposure to sunshine promotes the release of serotonin (the “happy” hormone) and melatonin (the “sleep” hormone).
In addition to the natural supplements we’ve mentioned, it is crucial to optimize your nutrition, as certain dietary choices may trigger symptoms. For instance, excessive sugar consumption has been linked to higher anxiety levels, sleep issues, and increased hyperactivity.On the other hand, foods that have been found to promote brain function include fatty fish (if you’re not a fan, there’s always theomega-3 supplementation we mentioned),coffee (but not before bedtime), blueberries, turmeric, broccoli,dark chocolate, and nuts.
Easier said than done, right? Often we struggle with saying no, and not only to loved ones, but to acquaintances, colleagues, and even toxic people who drain our energy. Dealing with ADHD means having a lot on your plate each and every day, so it is crucial to protect your time and well-being by setting clear boundaries. If you’re having a hard time mastering this skill or managing ADHD in general, perhaps you should consider therapy or support groups, which are some of the best ways of dealing with problems and experiencing growth.
Unfortunately, the pandemic we’ve been in for over a year now is a textbook setting for the development of ADHD. If you’ve found yourself nodding your head at the majority of symptoms of ADHD, you should consult with a healthcare professional, as only a professional can give a diagnosis of ADHD. However, keep in mind that a temporary state known as brain fog can be very similar to ADHD, and the two differ not only in duration, but severity, as well. If you’re looking for more non-GMO, all-natural supplements, head over to ouronline store.
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