Adult ADD (ADHD) Challenges and How to Reduce Them
Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.
ADD (ADHD) lasts a lifetime. In adults ADD (ADHD) can result
in economic loss, career failure, marital and family dysfunction,
increased psychiatric problems, emotional distress, and health
problems. And ADD (ADHD) is an "equal opportunity"
disability that affects men and women, people of all races
and ethnic groups, and people from all social classes. As
many as 6 % of all adults struggle with ADD (ADHD).
ADD (ADHD) may affect all aspects of life for many adults, typically
leading to significant problems in daily functioning. Adults
with ADD (ADHD) often struggle with issues such as:
Poor time management and chronic lateness
Difficulty with planning and prioritizing
Difficulty with paperwork and record-keeping
All of these patterns can contribute to many daily difficulties
that combine to create a chronic high stress level for many
adults with ADD (ADHD).
In addition to problems in daily life management, there
are many more serious risks that have been associated with
ADD (ADHD), including:
Poor Driving Record
Sexually transmitted diseases
Other psychiatric conditions
Reading through the list of risks and problems associated
with ADD (ADHD) is daunting, even discouraging. But it's important
to understand that only some people with ADD (ADHD) experience
the most difficult risks associated with ADD (ADHD). Those
with severe ADD (ADHD) which is untreated, and who have little
support in dealing with their ADD (ADHD) are most likely to
struggle with more severe ADD (ADHD)-related problems. The
good news is that ADD (ADHD) is a highly treatable disorder.
By getting the treatment and support that you need, and by
making wise life choices, you can greatly reduce the number
and severity of challenges associated with ADD (ADHD).
In fact, many people with ADD (ADHD) lead lives that look
normal, even very successful to the outside observer although
ADD (ADHD) takes a great toll of them due to increased chronic
stress and the greater effort that is required for an adult
with ADD (ADHD) to manage their lives.
Ten Steps to becoming an ADD (ADHD) "Success Story":
Get rid of your can't-do attitude - to
understand that you are not doomed to frustration and
lack of success because you have ADD (ADHD).
Develop a can-do attitude. It may be important
to work with a therapist who specializes in working with
adults with ADD (ADHD) - someone who can help you understand
your ADD (ADHD) and how to take charge of it by developing coping
skills and ways to compensate for ADD (ADHD) challenges.
Develop realistic expectations of medication. Stimulant
medication is very helpful for the majority of adults
with ADD (ADHD), however, it is essential to understand that
the stimulants are not magic pills that take away all
of your ADD (ADHD) issues. Stimulant medication can be very
helpful - making it easier for you to make changes in
Develop realistic goals. Many adults set too
many goals at once, or set goals that will be impossible
to meet - setting up a pattern of failure that only leads
Get the support you need. Support from others
is essential when you're trying to make many life changes.
You can build support among family and friends by bringing
them into the process. Educate them about ADD (ADHD) as you
educate yourself. You can also find support through Adult
ADD (ADHD) Support Groups - which exist in many communities
today. Such support groups can be located through the
web sites of the two major national organizations for
individuals with ADD (ADHD): Children
and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder and the
Deficit Disorder Association.
- Get the treatment you need. Medication alone is
rarely enough. Most adults benefit from working closely
with a therapist who specializes in treating adults with
ADD (ADHD). There are also specialized ADD (ADHD) coaches and Professional
Organizers who have experience in helping adults with ADD (ADHD).
Be sure to get treatment for any co-existing conditions
that you may have. Treatment won't be successful if you
only focus on treating your ADD (ADHD) if you also suffer from
anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse
or any of a number of other disorders that can be associated
with ADD (ADHD).
Develop Life Management Skills. There are many
ways to learn and develop the skills you need. Tackle
one issue at a time and don't try to do it all on your
own. You'll be more successful if you get the support
you need. ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life (see
below) and Adventures in Fast Forward (see below)
both by Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. are both filled with tools,
tips, and ADD-friendly strategies to take charge of ADD
Improve Workplace Functioning. Many, if not most
adults with ADD (ADHD) experience significant challenges in
the workplace. Some adults may need to consider a change
of career, while others simply need to make adjustments
within their current job. ADD in the Workplace
by Kathleen Nadeau (see below) provides a blueprint for
pinpointing ADD (ADHD) difficulties on the job as well as offering
a wealth of strategies to function better on the job.
Improve your marital and family relationships.
ADD (ADHD) issues such as forgetfulness, impatience, anger outbursts
and inconsistency can create challenges in marriages and
in other family relationships. ADD (ADHD) challenges are best
met when they are tackled by the whole family. Every family
member, whether they have ADD (ADHD) or not, is affected by
ADD (ADHD). It's important to talk openly about issues and working
as a family to find solutions.
Improve your social skills. Good social skills
are a key factor in success as an adult - whether in the
workplace or in your personal life. If you experience
interpersonal problems, it's important to understand how
your ADD (ADHD) may impact the relationships in your life and
to develop better patterns of relating to others.
As you can see, there is much you can do to reduce the negative
impact that ADD (ADHD) has in your life - much to learn and many
people who can support you or provide treatment. The most
important thing is to get started! Now that you know you have
ADD (ADHD), don't ignore it - get the help that you need to change
Resources for Adults with ADD (ADHD):
Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen
Nadeau, Ph.D. was written especially for adults with ADD (ADHD),
providing numerous ADD-friendly approaches to organizing your
home, your office, your paperwork and your time.
ADD in the
Workplace by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. guides young adults
and older adults in making career choices, job changes, and
in meeting the challenges of ADD (ADHD) on the job.
in Fast Forward by Dr. Kathleen Nadeau contains chapters
on marriage, parenting and family issues.
ADD and Romance
by Jonathan Halverstadt focuses on ADD (ADHD) issues related to
dating, marriage, and sexuality.
everybody else know that I don't? by Michelle Novotni,
Ph.D. is a highly readable book offering insights into the
relationship challenges of many adults with ADD (ADHD) and provides
helpful suggestions for improving your social skills.