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Adult ADD (ADHD) Challenges and How to Reduce Them

Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.

 Challenges

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).

Problems with daily life management

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

  • Disorganization

  • Difficulty with planning and prioritizing

  • Difficulty with paperwork and record-keeping

  • Forgetfulness

  • Inconsistency

  • Impulsive decision-making

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).

Other problems associated 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:

  • Substance Abuse

  • Divorce

  • Child Abuse

  • Family Conflicts

  • Under-employment/unemployment

  • Smoking

  • Obesity/Eating Disorders

  • Poor Driving Record

  • Unplanned pregnancy

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Other psychiatric conditions

  • Sleep disorders

  • Learning disabilities

Will I develop these problems if I have ADD (ADHD)?

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":

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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 your life.

  4. 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 to demoralization.

  5. 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 Attention Deficit Disorder Association.

  6. 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).

  7. 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 (ADHD).

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 your life.

Resources for Adults with ADD (ADHD):

ADD-friendly 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.

Adventures 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.

What does 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.

 

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Add-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

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Adventures in Fast Forward

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