Category Archives: Adults

Against the Wind – How it Feels to be a Woman with ADHD

You are not lazy, unmotivated, or self-centered.By Elizabeth Lewis

 

For most neurotypical people,  ADHD is hard to understand. (1) It seems like we are forgetful or careless. Sometimes we come off as self-centered or even lazy. Believe me, I totally understand why other people perceive us this way.

But you are not lazy or unmotivated. And you are not self-centered. I have spent hours thinking about and talking to other women with ADHD. After a while, some patterns emerged.

Like anything else, ADHD is individual. We all experience varying degrees and types of symptoms. If you have ADHD over the course of your lifetime, which most of us do, the symptoms actually change with your age and your circumstances.

What all women with ADHD need to remember is that they are not alone.

 

WANT TO KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO HAVE ADHD?

 

FRUSTRATING

 

Everyone has felt frustrated with themselves at some point. But for us, the frustration is aimed at ourselves. This is an insidious type of frustration that makes you doubt yourself at every turn.

We spend a lot of time with negative thoughts running on replay through our heads. Unfortunately, we also have trouble stopping these thoughts and managing them. Long term this causes all types of psychological symptoms ranging from anxiety to major depression.

Imagine being mad at yourself all the time. We are our own toughest critic.

 

RACING THOUGHTS

 

Having ADHD means your thoughts go so fast that you barely have time to acknowledge them before you are on to the next thing.

In the course of 60 seconds, I think about this website, my son, my dog, the work in front of me and the noise coming from my neighbor’s garage. None of these thoughts actually reach fruition… they just flit through my brain before I get to completely process them. Usually, I cannot even remember what I was trying to think about.

You know how sometimes you will walk into a room and forget why you are there? It’s like that – but with everything.

Often, I cannot remember what I sat down to write about. Sometimes I forget that I already started writing about a certain topic. I end up with 3 different word documents all started on different days about the same subject. It is infuriating.

But I can only concentrate on being furious for a few seconds until my brain moves on to the next thing.  At least I don’t hold grudges?

 

MENTAL EXHAUSTION 

 

Every so often I have a meltdown. Usually, this is a result of total and complete mental exhaustion brought on by parenting, work…life. Apparently, I am not alone in this.

So many women with ADHD report feeling chronically mentally fatigued. Initially, I thought this might be due to the fast-paced activity that is happening in our brains. (See racing thoughts above.)

But then I started to think about how many of us seek comfort through food or other behaviors. Since ADHD involves brain chemicals, it makes sense that we might feel a bit fatigued since we lack the normal amount of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical most often associated with pleasure or rewards, but it is not the only neurotransmitter implicated in ADHD.  (2)

The best remedy to control the how our brains use dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in our brains is to take our meds as prescribed.  (2)  Add exercise and eat a healthy, nutrient dense diet. Oh and get plenty of sleep and relaxation time. Coaching or therapy can also help you develop self-awareness and to develop other coping strategies. Organization and time management skills should be implemented gradually, addressing the areas that cause you the most difficulty first. It will take effort, but over time, you will feel more in control of your life.

Other than those options, I have no good advice. I am struggling with cognitive fatigue as I write this.

 

IRRITABILITY

 

Along with a tendency to feel tired, many women with ADHD also report feeling a bit cranky.

Imagine spending all day feeling frustrated with yourself, unable to concentrate, racing thoughts and fatigue…and then you come home and your family says, “What’s for dinner?”

Yeah, that is a recipe for trouble. (Or at least a lot of slamming cupboard doors and swearing under your breath.)

Irritability tends to be a symptom of anxiety and/or depression for many of us. It’s tough to live like this and hold it together.  I once referred to having ADHD as, “trying to hold about 100 corks under water all at the same time.”

In order to feel less irritable, you probably have to address the chemical issues in your brain. So think about getting diagnosed and medicated. ADHD meds may not be enough, so you will need to try some other coping mechanisms. Think mindfulnessjournaling or maybe cognitive behavioral therapy.  (Links go to Liz’s articles)

ADHD is frustrating and infuriating. A lifetime of criticism, from our self and others, really takes its toll.  Some of us cannot even share our diagnosis with the people in our lives for fear of denial, disbelief, and stigma.

ADHD symptoms are individual so it is tough to describe all of them. The feelings mentioned here are ones that are commonly reported in my Private Coaching Group and my public Facebook Group. Hopefully, with enough awareness and community support, we can support as many women and mothers living with ADHD as possible.

Finally, always remember you are not alone!

 

 

Note from the author: I hope that this writing was enlightening for anyone trying to understand what it feels like to be a woman with ADHD. If I wanted to go on I could, but that would be overkill.

 

About the author:  Elizabeth Lewis is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and self-appointed CEO of her home. Liz founded A Dose of Healthy Distraction, a website and a private Facebook group to provide a realistic yet positive face to living with ADHD.  She also runs the ADHD Coaching Corner, a low-cost online support and coaching group.

Contact Liz at HealthyADHD@gmail.com or liz@adoseofhealthydistraction.com

 

This article was originally published as Want to Know How it Feels to have ADHD? Reprinted and edited with permission from the author. http://adoseofhealthydistraction.com/want-know-feels-like-have-adhd/

  1. Neurotypical – Definition from The Urban Dictionary – Neurotypical is a word used to describe a person who has a typical brain. This not only includes non-autistic people but also people without mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities or any other neurological illness or disorder such as ADHD, epilepsy or brain tumors. It is the opposite of neurodivergent.  – Harvested 7/14/2017 urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Neurotypical
  2. What Does Dopamine Actually Do? By Steven Fleming, Ph.D. – Harvested 7/14/2017https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-hidden-mind/201212/what-does-dopamine-actually-do
  3. Neurochemicals Involved in ADHD by Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch – Harvested 7/14/2017 https://psychcentral.com/lib/neurotransmitters-involved-in-adhd/ Link works

 

“Image courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net”

 

 

 

 

ADHD Life July 2017 Newsletter

ADHD overwhelm is real. To survive, we think we must tackle the most visible of our symptoms, the disorganization, forgetfulness, and unfinished tasks first.  But it helps to start at the beginning with basic self-care.  Many of us neglect basic needs for supporting ourselves physically and mentally.   We don’t even realize that they may be part of the problem and increase impairment from ADHD symptoms. Yet, a poor diet, disturbed sleep, a lack of exercise, and not taking time for breaks are common problems for children and adults with ADHD. We don’t make time to rejuvenate, to refresh our mind and bodies.

 

ADHD isn’t easy, but if you take it step by step, you CAN get a handle on it. Our natural inclination is to rush in and try “Fix” everything at once, but we have a lifetime of poor habits and emotional fallout to deal with first.

 

We MUST Eat, Sleep, Move, and Rest, but so often these don’t make it onto our daily to-do list. (If we even have such a list.) But ignoring these needs exacts a heavy toll on out physical and mental health.  In The Best Advice Ever,   Katherine McGaver addresses this topic.  “If you have ADHD,” she writes, “you need to be in your best possible shape every day to manage this powerful, free-spirited brain.” “Because if you don’t manage an ADHD brain, it will manage you. For people who have ADHD, proper eating, exercise, and sleep are mandatory. They provide the energy, strength, clarity, and staying power that is needed hour by hour, day by day, every day, to stay in charge.”

 

At work, home and in school, we still struggle with getting things done. So often we focus on what we HAVEN’T  done and don’t reward ourselves for those things that we HAVE accomplished.  Rest, Self-Expression and Connection are perfect ways to be refreshed and get ready to tackle the day again.   To help keep balance in your life, see this article, Self-care Activities you Actually Have Time For by Meagan of Page Flutter.  She also created a Printable of Self-care and rewards to help you create balance in your life.

 

See our Pinterest Board, Basic Self-care for ADHD for many more ideas on how to care for yourself or your loved ones. If you’re not on Pinterest, you can access the boards through ADD freeSources on Facebook.  Look for the Pinterest section on the menu.

 

 

Of course what’s probably driving you crazy is your messy house or desk at work. You don’t have to ignore these but approach them gradually. Start with Simple Steps to Staying Organized, an article with a Free Printable from Andrea Dekker.  By taking them one step at a time, each task takes just a minute or two. If you attend to them every day, big jobs become manageable.

 

Original content from AndreaDekker.com: http://andreadekker.com/simple-tips-to-stay-organized/#ixzz4l1VLo39l
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alik

 

I’m lucky to have two lovely articles on dealing with ADHD in the family. Keeping our relationships vital, loving, and supportive can make all the difference for yourself and other family members.

Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.The first is On ADHD: Parent to Parent. It’s an overview of three articles that offer down-to-earth and practical approaches that honor your child’s individuality while acknowledging the very real challenges in your family life.

 

"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."

Duane and Linda Walker

We also have How I Fixed my ADHD Husband. Coach Linda Walker writes, “I think of us as a family with ADHD.  We could only solve this problem working together, and so this was as much my journey as theirs.”    

I realized that I wasn’t the only one suffering in the family.  I know Duane had it worse than me – he was living it 24/7. “

 

But IS ADHD  REALLY 24/7? Dr. Charles Parker maintains that it is NOT. He claims that ADHD is situational. It only shows sometimes in certain contexts.  As he says, “One of the hallmarks of ADHD is cognitive abundance, not a cognitive deficiency.” Too many thoughts mean too many choices and too many options to handle well. According to Dr. Parker, “ADHD symptoms flourish when there are too many variables, a lack of structure and an absence of focus.”

 

Limiting the variables within a defined platform is the answer to getting things done.” Being interested in the process, involved with the outcome, or working to a deadline also helps. Watch Dr. Parker’s video ADHD Medication Rule 2- Reality Denied.

 

My symptoms disappear when I’m working on Pinterest or Facebook. Those social sites are tailor-made for my natural inclinations collecting and sharing information with the aim of encouraging people to get help for ADHD. Writing about ADHD is a different animal that requires strategic thinking to make it possible. When I’m struggling with a task like getting out this newsletter, I make it more manageable by breaking it down, defining its scope, and getting inspired or making it a challenge. I call it “putting a box around it.” I love to share the “treasures” I’ve found but I have way too much information! This time I limited myself to three outside sources, 2 articles from my website and a video or two. They had to be personal favorites, cover basic information, be encouraging and easy to understand.  I set a July 1st deadline and committed to working on it every day for at least fifteen minutes. I also participated in a Body-doubling session with my coaching group to keep me on track for the final push. This gave me both a time-limit AND provided accountability.

 

Finally, I have something for the kids to watch – a 2-minute clip that brings research interviews with children to (animated) life. ADHD: What it’s Like to Have ADHD Find the film ADHD and Me, the research results, and more short clips on ADHD Voices. It’s about time we asked Kids how they experience ADHD in their lives.

 

 

Don’t forget, for solid information on  ADHD and the many ways it impacts lives, check out Laurie Dupar’s  FREESucceed with ADHD Telesummit, “ July  17th to the 24th  – 20 one-half hour presentations with 24 hours to listen to replays.  http://succeedwithadhdtelesummit.com/ Sign up now. 

 

By Joan Jager – Founder of ADD freeSources

 

 

 

Photo credits:

ADHD Life – “Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Modified on Canva.com

Self-care Printable by Meagan of Page Flutter.com

Simple Steps to Stay Organized – Original content from AndreaDekker.com: http://andreadekker.com/simple-tips-to-stay-organized/#ixzz4l1VLo39l
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

From On ADHD: Parent to Parent – “Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” – Modified on Canva

From How I Fixed my Husband – Linda Walker with her husband, the current president of ADDA, Duane Gordon.

 

20 Momentum Strategies to Combat Procrastination

Lack motivation? Okay. What you need is movement.By ADHD Coach and Organizer, Sue West

Procrastinating or just have no motivation today? Here’s a quick list of 20 strategies to get yourself moving, so you can catch a bit of momentum. As you gain momentum, often you’ll just keep going. You may or may not “find” motivation, but momentum is what’s needed. Not every task you work on “needs” motivation. That’s a feeling, right? What you need is movement.

The Practical Momentum Strategies

1. What’s the most interesting part of the project? Start there.

2. What part of the project will you be best at? Start there.

3. Play first. Get it out of your system. (Set a timer to stop the play though.)

4. Do the difficult first, with “play” as the reward.

5. Set a timer and stop at the end of 5-15 minutes, just enough to get you started.

6. Write or draw out your list of steps and take just the first small step. Just one.

7. Change your environment. Go to someone else’s office, a coffee shop, a library and use the change in environment to wake up your mind.

8. Listen to music (instrumental), TED talks, a book, or a class while you work. Yes, the choice is important, of what you listen to and what you choose to work on. It takes some thought.

9. Work on the tedious tasks while someone else comes to your office or home (e.g., bookkeeper, cleaning service, assistant). Use their presence to focus you on your own task. Or while your children do their homework.

10. Talk through your project with someone else first.

11. Read about how others have handled this project – the experts.

12. Hire it out.

13. Can you work in a team for support on at least one piece? Connections can give you momentum to keep going.

Lack motivation? That’s Okay. What you need is movement.The Psychological, Emotional, and Self-Talk Strategies

1. Ask yourself: Why am I not starting? What am I afraid of?

2. Say something like: I know how to do this. I know I can start it, just dip my toe into the water and see what’s there.

3. Ask yourself: Have I already made some decision? Do I need to let this go?

4. Ask yourself: What is the best and worst that could happen? What are the benefits of starting now versus waiting?

5. Break up the work so you can set small, interim deadlines before the big, looming one.

6. Self-care: Sometimes it’s the rest of your life which is draining your mental energy. Focus on self-care first.

7. Have you ever had this happen before on a similar task? Think about what you did to get started.

A psychologist once told me that you can either start with the practical to get traction, or you can start with the psychological. Either way, both are key elements. So start at one end and work towards the middle and you’ll get what you need.

 

 Guest post by Sue West – Certified ADHD coach, Certified Coach Organizer, Master Trainer in chronic disorganization.  President of the Institute for Challenging  Disorganization – 2015 to present.   For more about Sue and contact information, see: CoachSueWest.com 

Original source

 

Photos created on Canva 

I want to change my ADHD life. What can I do?

ADHD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world. You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.A series of short guest posts by Sarah Jane Keyser.

ADHD has strengths as well as weaknesses; like heads and tails, you can’t have one without the other.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not an illness (in spite of the name) and there is no “cure”. ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world.

You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.

There are many ways to train your brain. Usually, a combination of medication, ADHD coaching strategies, and exercise is most effective. Each individual needs to discover what combination works best for him or her.

Here are some ways that you can change your life:

Life Styles for ADHD – You can do many things for yourself. A good program includes exercise, what to eat, how to breathe, how to get to sleep and how to enjoy.

Maintaining the ADHD Brain – If your car runs on two cylinders you take it to the garage. If your brain sputters take it to a doctor for a checkup.

ADHD Coaching Strategies – A coach is a partner who guides you to new ways of seeing yourself and the world. An ADD coach who knows how ADD feels and understands the ADHD brain can help you value your strengths and structure your life.

Celebrating ADHD – Learn to appreciate the passion and sparkle which are the gift of ADHD.

 

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Learn more about ADHD at Coaching Key to ADHD

 

*** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy, the Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. Sarah Jane is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone.

“Image courtesy of mrpuen–FreeDigitalPhoto.net”   Modified on Canva

If you’re not on Pinterest, you can access 50 of ADD freeSources’ Boards on Facebook. Look for the Pinterest tab on the left.

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Basic Self-Care – Building Routines and Habits on Pinterest.Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD on Pinterest.

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board ADHD Coaching Strategies on Pinterest.Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’s board What’s getting in your way? Psychological help. on Pinterest.

6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD in Adults

This proposed version of the World Health Organization ADHD Self-Report Screening Scale is a short questionnaire designed to help people easily assess the possibility that they might have ADHD. (Researchers have revised the scale to fit the new criteria for evaluating ADHD introduced by the DSM-5 and to reflect how ADHD  presents differently in adults than in children.) FREE Printable

It’s important to keep in mind that this new questionnaire isn’t an absolute measure of whether someone has ADHD. But it can be a useful tool for assessing whether a further look is in order.

The official screener hasn’t been published yet. At this time,  “scores” would be best guesses based on the following information.

The choice of answers range from never, to rarely, sometimes, often and very often. Never is always zero, but the higher frequency answers are assigned varying points.

  1. How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people are saying to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
  2. How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
  3. How often do you have difficulty unwinding or relaxing when you have time to yourself?
  4. When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?
  5. How often do you put things off until the last minute?
  6. How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?

Points are given to each question according to the relative importance of the question is to diagnostic criteria. The highest score if Questions 1,2, and 3 are answered very often is 5 points. The 4th question’s top score is 2. The 5th’s highest is 4, while the final question is 3. That makes 24 points in total, with 14 points being the point at which additional evaluation is recommended.

We’ve created a FREE Printable of what we think the scale will look like based on the previous information.

 

The development of the new ADHD Screener from a 2017 APSARD conference promotional video – 13-minutes

Sources:

6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD by Neil Patterson – https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-millennial/2017/04/6-questions-for-recognizing-adhd/ (Link works)

The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 

Authors: Berk Ustun, MS1; Lenard A. Adler, MD2,3; Cynthia Rudin, PhD4,5; et al

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2616166

Brief Screening Tool for Adult ADHD Released

Copy and Paste: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878810?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=150032AY#vp_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHO ADHD Adult Self-Report Scale

Proposed World Health organization (WHO)

ADHD Adult Self-Report Scale

     6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD in Adults    Never    Rarely     Seldom         Often     Very

   Often

   1. How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people are saying to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?        0         1           2         4        5
    2. How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?        0          1            2          4        5
    3. How often do you have difficulty unwinding or relaxing when you have time to yourself?        0           1            2          4        5
   4. When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?        0           1            1           2       2
    5. How often do you put things off until the last minute?        0           1            2           3        4
    6. How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?        0           1            1            2         3

 The total number of available points is 24.

Recommend further testing with screening scores of 14 and above.   

For further information see:

6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD in Adults

Source:  

The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 

Authors: Berk Ustun, MS1; Lenard A. Adler, MD2,3; Cynthia Rudin, PhD4,5; et al

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2616166

Brief Screening Tool for Adult ADHD Released

Copy and Paste: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878810?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=150032AY#vp_2

 

The ADD Journey

Living successfully with ADHD. Help for the road ahead.by Cynthia Hammer, M.S.W.

Stage I: “The Journey Begins” (Discovery and Diagnosis)

Relief: “Finally, an explanation!

For many adults, discovering they have ADD, usually by reading an article, a book or seeing something on television, is a very emotional moment. People at this point in time are usually very excited. They want to talk. They want to tell their story. They want to be understood now that they are starting to understand themselves. Most want to immediately seek a professional diagnosis so they can move forward with treatment.

Stage II: “Wandering in the Wilderness” (Increasing Awareness)

This stage is marked by a variety of feelings and questions.

  • Denial: “How do I know this is a valid disorder?”
  • Flickering Optimism: “Maybe there is hope.”
  • Fear, anxiety, and more anxiety: “What if I follow through with treatment, but nothing changes? All that effort and for what?” Another failure?” “Is medication safe? If I use it, will I have to take it for the rest of my life?”
  • Grief, Anger, and Resentment: “Why wasn’t this diagnosed and treated sooner?”

Stage III: “Up and Over the Mountain Top” (Restructuring)

At this stage, the ADDult no longer puts his energy into “What might have been ….” She moves forward with her life, focusing on what works and minimizing the impact of what does not. Some ADDults go to bed in Stage II and wake up in Stage III. It is hard to predict when or why the transition occurs, but it does, and it feels good! In Stage III, ADDults feel less shame about their disorder. They feel more empowered and more comfortable with telling others about their condition. Stage III involves:

  • Accepting: “I’m ready to let go of the past. I want to get on with my life.”
  • Delegating; Using Strategies and Accommodations: “Could some else more easily do this task?” “What strategies can I use, what accommodations can I request to accomplish my goals?”

Stage IV: “Enjoying the Peaceful Valley”(Self-Acceptance)

Along your journey you have enjoyed the occasional oasis…the moments when you recognize and praise yourself for new behaviors, small accomplishments, and completed tasks. You note where you started and how far you have come. The journey has been difficult, (and often you wanted to quit or turn back), but you realized you were making progress toward your destination. By noting the oases along the way, you confirm for yourself that you are traveling in the right direction, on the right road and keep you nourished for continued travel.

Eventually, you reach a point in your journey when you are traveling light. You no longer carry baggage from your past. You are a seasoned traveler, good at figuring out how to pass through this rough landscape. You are confident in your abilities and strong in your knowledge of having survived. You know your journey will get easier–that you will even start to enjoy it. You continue to journey, but now you travel without needing guides and fellow travelers. You journey down the open road of life, sometimes skipping, sometimes trudging, sometimes limping, but now there is usually a song in your heart, a twinkle in your eye, and a smile on your face. It is good to notice another oasis just ahead. Your journey of life has become the adventure you have always looked for.

Everyone on an ADD JOURNEY needs guides and fellow travelers to show the way and provide support when we weaken and falter. Our guides and fellow travelers provide the six essentials of multi-modal ADD treatment.

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Education
  3. Support
  4. Medication
  5. Counseling
  6. Coaching

Just as the wise backpacker carries the ten essentials when out trekking, the journeying ADDult needs to have the ADD treatment essentials at hand. Whether or not all treatments get used during the journey depends on the traveler. Some need to employ all treatments; others, only a few. Below is a chart showing which Guide or Fellow Traveler is most suitable for each stage of the journey

TREATMENT GUIDE/FELLOW TRAVELER STAGE
Diagnosis Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counselor or Primary Care Physician I
Education and Support Education and Support Groups Self-education Self-Help Groups Friends and Family I and II,
I and II,
II and III
Medication (and/or Alternative Treatments) Psychiatrist, Primary Care Physician (and/or Alternative Health Care Providers) II, III, and IV
Counseling (and Therapy Groups) Counselor, Psychologist or
Psychiatrist
II and III
Coaching Professional Coach or Coaching Partner III

WHO ARE YOUR GUIDES FOR STAGES I AND II?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in helping people with mental health problems. Their training includes medical school and usually a three-year postgraduate residency. One advantage of their training is that it enables them to understand, use, and prescribe medications. With respect to ADHD, this is a definite advantage, since ADD treatment usually includes medication. In addition to psychiatrists, other medical doctors along with physician assistants and some nurse practitioners have prescriptive authority. However, none of them do psychological testing.

Sometimes psychological testing is recommended–not to make the ADD diagnosis–but to gain other information on the person’s functioning. Only psychologists do this kind of testing. So, at times, an adult seeking an ADD diagnosis may see several different professionals. Some adults see several experts for another reason. They cannot find a knowledgeable helper. Sadly, many mental health professionals are not knowledgeable about adult ADD. They may look at it as either a “made up” or an over-diagnosed problem. Since mental health professionals are not used to working with adult ADD patients, it is likely that they may believe another problem is dominant.

Professionals in any field tend to “see” only what they know. If they don’t know or understand something, they can’t see or treat it. For example, the psychologist may see your problem mainly as depression or anxiety (especially if you are a woman), not recognizing the ADD as the underlying concern. How you feel about your life because of your untreated ADD may cause you to be depressed or anxious. ADD may be your primary problem, but other problems may need treatment as well.

In evaluating a mental health professional’s knowledge about ADD in adults, many of the following questions could be asked. Most of these questions could also be asked of ADD counselors and ADD coaches.

  1. Do you accept my insurance? Do you diagnose ADD/ADHD?
  2. How long have you been diagnosing this disorder in adults?
  3. How many ADD/ADHD adults have you diagnosed in the past five years. What percent of your practice has a primary diagnosis of ADD/ ADHD?
  4. How familiar are you with the day to day tribulations of having ADD? (You’re trying to learn if they or someone they are close to has this condition. How intimate is their understanding of ADD on a daily basis?)
  5. What is your treatment philosophy? (Will the clinician work with you and be open to suggestions or will he/she call all the shots. Is their treatment of ADD the same for everyone or is it individually tailored?)
  6. In a subtle way, learn what they do to keep current in their knowledge about adult ADD and its treatment protocols.
  7. How do you make a diagnosis? How many visits will it take and how much will it cost?
  8. How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
  9. Ask psychologists how they handle the medication part of treatment.
  10. Ask physicians (and other medical personnel with prescriptive authority) what medicines they use to treat ADD/ADHD.

YOUR GUIDES FOR STAGES II AND III – Therapists and Coaches

Counselors/Therapists: Often, after being diagnosed with ADD, it is a good idea to find a therapist with you whom you can work. Many times adults with ADD have become so mired in negative feelings about themselves that the first thing they need to do is to face these feelings directly and learn how to let them go. Besides dealing with the ADD symptoms themselves, there may be depression, anxiety, or other problems that need to be addressed.

A good therapist can help you develop practical ways to deal with your daily life based on your own problems and circumstances. You will develop insights into how your ADD symptoms have interacted throughout your life, which is likely to help you understand why your life has taken a certain direction. It is our belief that a good therapist will educate you thoroughly about ADD.

Individual therapy is the most likely choice because most people prefer the privacy of a one-to-one relationship with a mental health professional. In individual therapy you and your therapist talk about your particular problems and develop ways in which you can deal with them more effectively. You will probably see your therapist once each week, although the schedule may later change. Visits usually last about forty-five to fifty minutes. After the initial screening is completed, you and the therapist will spend your visits talking about specific challenges, developing coping strategies, sharing new insights, and whatever concerns are on your mind.

The therapy will vary according to the therapist’s orientation. For example, one therapist may help you listen to your negative thoughts and get you to actively challenge them. This method is central to cognitive therapy. Another therapist may help you develop strategies for actively confronting and, hopefully, overcoming the ADD symptoms that make your life less than optimal. Often you will gain insight as therapy proceeds. You may have misunderstood your ADD and thought that you were just “lazy, crazy, and stupid.” You may have many misconceptions that you built up over the years that you can now interpret in the light of your new understanding of ADD.

This does not in any way release you from doing the necessary work to get your life in order. Yes, you will develop insights. But you will also need to work at developing skills you have never had before.

A good therapist will teach the ADD adult to acknowledge the importance of small steps in making progress. Often people don’t continue along the road of self-improvement because they don’t acknowledge their small steps of Progress. The person with ADD often expects a difficult problem to be solved rapidly. “I want it yesterday.” If it can’t be solved soon, the person gets frustrated and gives up. The adult with ADD who learns the value of taking small but positive steps toward a goal learns a very valuable lesson. The good therapist keeps the client on track and helps the client maintain a positive perspective.

Coaches can be therapists, although coaching is not therapy. Coaches can also be another ADD adult, a friend or someone in your family. ADD coaching focuses on practical issues confronting the ADD adult, such as organization, managing time and setting and reaching goals. Coaching could help ADD adults to develop routines and daily habits which will simplify and make their lives more manageable. Some coaches are very forceful and offer lots of suggestions while others prefer coaches who mostly listen and then offer ideas.

A coaching relationship could last any length of time, but a typical relationship lasts at least six months. Sometimes coaching is done in person, one hour a week. It can be done over the phone, 10-15 minutes a day, or even done through e-mail. Hiring a trained person to be your coach is called professional coaching while getting someone else to work with you is called peer or partner coaching.

A coach works with you to improve your results and your successes. A coach will:

  1. help you set better goals and then reach those goals
  2. ask you to do more than you would have done on your own
  3. get you to focus your efforts better to produce results more quickly
  4. provide you with the tools, support, and structure to accomplish more

How does coaching differ from consulting? …therapy? ….sports coaching? …Having a best friend?

Coaching is a form of consulting as coaches provide advice and expertise in achieving personal change and excellence. However, unlike the consultant who offers advice and leaves, a coach stays to help implement the recommended changes, making sure they really happen and ensuring that the client reaches his goals in a lasting way.

In most therapies, patients or clients work on “issues,” reflect on their past experiences and try to understand the psychodynamic causes of their behaviors. Coaching focuses only on the here and now, looking at the problems in the present needing solutions. In this way, it is like solution-focuses therapy. Coaches work with their clients to gain something, such as new skills, not to lose something, such as unhealthy thought patterns. The focus is on achieving personal and professional goals that give clients the lives they want.

Professional coaching includes several principles from sports coaching, like teamwork, going for the goal, and being your best. Unlike sports coaching, professional coaching is non-competitive. You develop your own way to achieve your goals. There is not one best way to do it. It is not focused on outdoing someone else. It is focused on strengthening the client’s skills, such as a trainer might do.

Having a best friend is always wonderful, but you might not trust your best friend to advise you on the most important aspects of your life and/or business. A best friend might not be able or willing to provide the consistency in monitoring and feedback that coaching demands. The relationship with your coach has some elements of a good friendship in that a close relationship evolves. The coach knows when to be tender or tough with you, is willing to tell you the truth, and keeps your best interests foremost in the relationship.

“A coach is your partner in achieving professional goals, your champion during a turnaround, your trainer in communication and life skills, your sounding board when making choices, your motivator when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit, your mentor in personal development, your co-designer when developing an extraordinary project, your beacon during stormy times, your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly: Your coach is your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally.” —Thomas Leonard, President of Coach University

People hire coaches because they want more to their life; they want to grow as individuals, and they want to make achieving their goals easier. When using a coach, people take themselves and their goals more seriously. They immediately start taking more effective and focused actions. They stop focusing on thoughts and behaviors that drag them down. They create a forward momentum to their lives and they set better goals for themselves than they would have without a coach.

COACH SELECTION RECOMMENDATIONS

Rapport is very important. Your relationship with your coach is important to your professional and personal growth. The effective coaching relationship is an effective model for all your other relationships: inspiring, supporting, challenging and productive. Choose someone you will be able to relate to very well.

Experience in your field is less important, although knowledge of A.D.D. is important. Coaching technology works for a wide variety of people, professions, and situations. A coach with experience in your personal or professional situation may understand you more quickly. However, much of your work with a coach will involve encouraging you to use and develop your personal skills and your expanding network. Therefore, the specific business experience of your coach is not as important as you might think. Coaching technology works independently of the business or professional environment.

Location is normally not important. While some coaches do offer on-site coaching, it is normally not necessary nor efficient. You will get the same or better results with telephone coaching at a fraction of your investment with on-site coaching.

Interview more than one coach before you decide. Most coaches are happy to speak with you for several minutes in order to get to know you and your situation. You can use this time as an opportunity to gather information and an impression about the coach’s style. Compare two or three coaches and select the one who seems most helpful to you. Trust yourself to know what you need.

Ask the prospective coach good questions. Great coaches are willing to answer your questions directly and forthrightly. Consider asking questions about their depth of experience, qualifications, skills, and practice. For example:

  1. “How many clients have you coached, and how many are presently active clients?”
  2. “What is your specialty and how long have you been practicing in that specialty?”
  3. “What is your knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorder? (expand this to be lots of questions–modify those suggested earlier for evaluating a mental health professional’s knowledge of ADD)”
  4. “How many clients have you had with A.D.D.?” What percentage of your clientele has this diagnosis?”
  5. “What qualifies you to coach people in my situation and how many people with my concerns have you coached?”
  6. “How do you typically work with a client?”
  7. “What are the names and numbers of some of your clients so that I may ask about your coaching?”
  8. “How long do clients usually work with you?”
  9. “What are your fees?”

RESOURCES

Find Treatment and Support for ADHD

Find an ADHD coach

The inspiration for this article and some of the information on the journey, its stages, (stage IV is my addition), guides and fellow travelers came from a self-published booklet, “Coaching Partners,” by Lisa F. Poast

Material on therapy and therapists was adapted from  Do You Have Attention Deficit Disorder? by Lawrence Thomas, Ph.D. It is published by Dell Books

Information on coaching was obtained from the International Coaching Federation.

*About the author

0 1 CynthiaHammerEarlyCynthia Hammer, MSW, ACSW, an adult with ADHD and the parent of three sons, two with ADHD. At age 49, she learned that she had ADHD and realized she knew very little about the disorder. Cynthia founded ADD Resources in 1994 and went on to become a nationally recognized advocate for the understanding of ADHD among both those who have it and those who treated it.  Cynthia is now retired and lives in Tacoma with her husband.

Original Source https://web.archive.org/web/20040207085617/http://www.addresources.org/newsletter_sample.php#journey

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva 

Treatment for ADHD and Addiction

New treatments combine medication for ADHD, drug detox and therapy.

by Trey Dyer

About 4.4 percent of American adults — 10 million people — have ADHD. And roughly 8 million children have been diagnosed with the disease, making it one the most commonly occurring mental health disorders in the United States.

 

The rate of co-occurring substance use disorders is high among those with ADHD. Individuals with this diagnosis are 2.5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder. A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that 15 to 25 percent of adults who have a substance use disorder also have ADHD.

 

For co-occurring ADHD and substance abuse disorders, the best treatment programs combine medical treatment for ADHD, drug detox and therapy that addresses both disorders. Additionally, proper ADHD treatment during childhood can prevent further development of the disorder that may lead to a substance use disorder during adulthood.

 

The risk for substance abuse is often higher for people with ADHD. Compared to the general population, people with ADHD are:

  • Three times more likely to develop a nicotine use disorder
  • Two times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder
  • Two times more likely to develop a cocaine use disorder
  • 5 times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder

 

Research shows that those with ADHD may have lower levels of dopamine — the brain chemical responsible for reward-seeking behavior — and turn to substance abuse or other dopamine-releasing behaviors as a result.

 

Despite the increased risks, those with co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders are not doomed to struggle with addiction their entire lives. Many rehab centers offer specialized programs for co-occurring disorders that focus on treating the separate disorders concurrently, giving patients a realistic chance of reaching recovery and living a healthy life.

Treatment for Co-Occurring ADHD and Substance Use Disorder

 

Treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders is most effective when the disorders are treated simultaneously. Addressing them at the same time is preferred to treating them one at a time, which was the generally held practice in the past.
Medication is the most common form of treatment for ADHD, and with proper use, it can greatly benefit those with co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders. Stimulant and nonstimulant medications can be effective in treating individuals with ADHD with or without a co-occurring substance use disorder. The most common types of medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants.

Stimulant Medications

A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital examining the results of six long-term studies found that stimulant treatment for ADHD during youth leads to reduced risk of developing a substance use disorder during adolescence and adulthood.

 

The two most common stimulants used to treat ADHD are methylphenidate and analogs of amphetamine.

 

Amphetamine medications activate the reward pathway and trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, bringing balance to dopamine levels among those with ADHD. This can help alleviate drug cravings.

 

According to researchers at Columbia University, clinical trials of Ritalin (methylphenidate) have also been effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD and substance use disorder when combined with relapse prevention therapy. The drug has a relatively low risk of abuse under proper medical supervision.

 

Methylphenidate has been used for decades to treat ADHD and has shown to be effective for children and adults. Uncontrolled trials of methylphenidate have shown to have a positive impact in reducing symptoms of ADHD and cocaine use disorders, according to researchers at Columbia University.

 

Nonstimulant Medications

 

Some nonstimulant medications can be used to treat ADHD and may present an alternative to stimulants. While stimulants have a higher abuse potential, nonstimulants are often seen as a less effective treatment option.

 

Atomoxetine is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that can be used to treat ADHD. It affects those with ADHD similarly to stimulants, but in a more gradual manner. With no known abuse potential, atomoxetine is an attractive alternative to stimulant medications.
Tricyclic antidepressants have also been used to treat ADHD. However, they are generally less effective than stimulants in treating ADHD.

Problems with Medication Treatment

 

Research from Massachusetts General Hospital shows medications that are effective in treating adult ADHD may be effective for adults with ADHD and co-occurring substance use disorders, but the medical benefits of the medications are hindered if an individual is actively abusing substances.

 

Challenges of treating patients with a substance use disorder include:

 

  • Patients may not take medications reliably.
  • Patients may require higher doses in order for a medication to be effective.
  • The presence of other substances in a patient’s system may make the therapeutic effects of a medication less effective.

Individuals actively engaging in substance abuse are more difficult to treat with medication, with or without a co-occurring disorder.

 

Alcohol and ADHD Medications

 

ADHD medications are associated with high risks when used concurrently with alcohol. Adderall is a medication of particular concern because it is commonly abused by college students who participate in binge drinking culture at parties, bars and nightclubs.

Individuals who abuse Adderall and alcohol together find that the depressant alcohol effects are lessened by the stimulant properties of Adderall, allowing them to drink more for longer periods of time.

Abuse of Adderall or other ADHD medications while drinking may cause people to consume hazardous amounts of alcohol. ADHD medications that block the depressant effects of alcohol may cause individuals to ignore signals from their bodies that they have had enough to drink, which can lead to dangerous health concerns such as alcohol poisoning.

It is crucial for people to consult their doctor about alcohol use while taking any type of ADHD medication.

 

About the Author: Trey Dyer is a writer for DrugRehab.com. Trey is passionate about breaking the stigma associated with drug addiction in the United States. When Trey is not writing, he can be found fly fishing, playing soccer or cooking BBQ.

 

Sources:

 

Adler, L. et al. (2005, March). Long-term, open-label study of the safety and efficacy of atomoxetine in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: an interim analysis. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15766294

Columbia University. (n.d.). Adderall: Health risks when combined with alcohol? Retrieved from http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/adderall-health-risks-when-combined-alcohol

Levin, F. et al. (1998, June). Methylphenidate treatment for cocaine abusers with adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a pilot study. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9671342

Mariani, J. & Levin, F. (2007). Treatment Strategies for Co-Occurring ADHD and Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676785/

Michelson, D. et al. (2003, January 15). Atomoxetine in adults with ADHD: two randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12547466

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrcomorbidity.pdf\

Somoza, E. (2004). An open-label pilot study of methylphenidate in the treatment of cocaine dependent patients with adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15077842

Sottile, L. (2015, October 20). The Disturbing Relationship Between Addiction and ADHD. Retrieved from http://www.vice.com/read/the-disturbing-relationship-between-addiction-and-adhd-511

Wilens, T. et al. (2003, January). Does stimulant therapy of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder beget later substance abuse? A meta-analytic review of the literature. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509574

 

“Image courtesy of stock photos/FreeDigtalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

&nbs

8 Techniques to Combat Procrastination When You Have ADHD

 “The key to managing your procrastination is figuring out creative solutions to address the reasons you procrastinate in the first place.”By ADHD Coach Marla Cummins

If you are reading this article, it is because you were enticed by the prospect of learning how to stop procrastinating.

Like many people I work with, you’ve tried seemly everything under the sun to follow through, but to little avail. So, at this point, you may assume that, left to your own devices, you are going to continue this way.

And what you really need is someone to watch over you to make sure you follow through, right? If this is what you are thinking, I think you are wrong, sort of…

Sure, accountability can be an important piece of the puzzle in addressing procrastination. But, when it comes right down to it, adults with ADHD usually don’t want someone standing over them, telling them what to do.

Rather, the key to managing your procrastination is figuring out creative solutions to address the reasons you procrastinate in the first place.

Read on to find out how to counter your particular flavor of procrastination.

Oh, and please remember, procrastination is a really hard nut to crack, especially for Adults with ADHD. You can do it. Just don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself along the way.

Procrastination Fix #1 – Identify Where You Procrastinate

Right now, when you avoid a task, you may pause for a second. And then not give it another thought, at least for a while. Rather, you steer clear of it by getting lost in something else, anything else — another work task, the internet, organizing, etc.

Until the proverbial sh** hits the fan…

Then you knock your head against the wall, figuratively speaking of course, and scream internally, “Why do I do this?!” At this point, you may continue to avoid the task or you may get lost in addressing the fire drill of the moment caused by your procrastination.

While this scenario plays itself out again and again, I know you know this avoidance response isn’t helpful.

But think about it. If you have little clue as to why you are procrastinating on a task and even less of a clue as to what to do about it, it totally makes sense that you are sidestepping it.

Ready to learn how to respond differently?

List the tasks you are avoiding and then read on…

Procrastination Fix #2 – Clear the Decks

The next step is to decide whether all of the tasks on your active task list really belong there. Your immediate response may be, “I’ve already decided. After all, why would I put a task on my list, if I didn’t need to do it?”

Ok, got it. But, if your list is similar to many others I’ve seen, it may function more as a wish list. Because, given your current capacity, you can’t possibly do it all.

So, while you continue to put off tasks you really have no intention of doing, they stay on your list, hanging on for dear life. And you continue to beat yourself up for procrastinating.

But I know, even if you are willing to consider trimming your list, you don’t want to forget your ideas. Because, well, you might want to do them — someday.

Creating a Maybe/Someday List to store projects you’re not ready to kick to the curb forever is a great solution.

Here are a few suggested guidelines to get you started:

  • Have one for personal projects and one for business/professional projects.
  • Review them monthly to decide if you are ready to take action on any of your ideas.
  • Continue to add any task that comes to mind, but just is not ready for prime time — research fish keeping, start to video blog, organize attic, etc.
  • Delete those you decide you really aren’t going to do in the foreseeable future — make own dog food, take pilot lessons, etc.

One of the advantages of maintaining a Maybe/Someday List is you have made a decision not to do a task and are no longer procrastinating. Then you can stop heaping shame and blame on yourself for not doing what you said you would do!

Nice,  right?

 

Procrastination Fix #3 – Address Your Emotions

None of the typical solutions — breaking down your tasks, scheduling them, avoiding distractions, etc. — will help you manage your procrastination until you address the emotions that may be keeping you stuck.

So, that is the next step.

If you are a run of the mill procrastinator, like the rest of us, at some point your emotions— fear of failure, fear of success and resentment — will be the cause of your procrastination.

And, since your thinking is driving your emotions, you can start to manage them by practicing positive self-talk, such as:

  • “I might make mistakes, but that does not make me a failure.”
  • “Even if the worst happens, I’ll be ok.”
  • “This is going to be really uncomfortable, but I don’t want that to stop me.”

But, if you really want to address the emotions that contribute to your procrastination, you will need to dig in a little deeper. Start by checking out ADHD and Avoiding Negative Thinking Traps – Part 1 and ADHD and Avoiding Negative Thinking Traps – Part 2.

If, despite your best efforts, you are unable to make headway, you might need the help of a therapist to help you address the more deep seeded emotions underlying your avoidance behaviors.

Procrastination Fix #4 – Make Sure You Have Clarity

Another reason you may be procrastinating is there is some part of the task you just don’t get. You may not even recognize this is the reason you are stuck! You just continue to dodge it…

Completing the statements below for a task you are avoiding will help you figure out if the reason for your procrastination is lack of clarity:

  • The best place to start is…
  • The very next action is…
  • The process for doing this part is…
  • When I am done with this part / the task it will look like… (If you can’t visualize the end, it will be hard to know what you are supposed to work toward.)
  • I am going to work on this… (If you don’t have a specific date and time, it is easy to keep pushing it off to — sometime.)

If you are not able to complete these statements, then lack of clarity may likely be one of the culprits for your procrastination.

Next, ask yourself, “What do I need in order to get clear where things are a little fuzzy.

Procrastination Fix #5 – Get Rid of Distractions

Once you have a plan and are clear on what you need to do, it is still easy, as an Adult with ADHD, to get derailed by internal and external distractions.

You may even inadvertently be using these distractions to evade a task. Sound familiar?

So, it is super important to be aware of these and figure out how to keep them at bay by asking yourself, “What distractions keep me from doing my work and how can I minimize them.

Here are a few common examples to help you think about your own distractions:

  • Internet – Use a site blocker, like Freedom.
  • Message alert pop-up for new email – Turn it off.
  • Personal Issues – Maybe you need to take care of it so you can move on. Alternatively, maybe you can put it aside by telling yourself, “I’m doing this and not that!”
  • Phone Calls – Turn off the ringer for a short time so you can work.
  • People knocking on your door – If possible, tell them, “I really want to give you my full attention, but I need to do this first. Can I let you know when I am available?”

What are other distractions that keep you from doing what is important to you, and what can you do to manage them?

 

Procrastination Fix #6 – Don’t Wait for Your Mojo

For many with ADHD, one of the most common excuses for putting off work is the questionable idea, “I need inspiration.” This often leads to the unconvincing promise, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” And you know what comes next. Tomorrow becomes — not now.

If you can wait for inspiration, great!

But the problem is — in many instances — you can’t really wait until you feel like doing the task. So, the key is to figure out what will help you to do it even when your mojo is just not there.

Some workarounds are:

  • Find an accountability partner.
  • Delegate the task.
  • Hire someone — another form of delegating.
  • Attempt to do it when you are most likely to be at your best — late at night, early in the morning, etc.
  • Work in an environment that is most conducive for doing that task — at a coffee shop, in a quiet office, with music, etc.

What do you need to do to tackle a task even when you just don’t wanna?

Procrastination Fix #7 – Fill’er Up

Sometimes, when you don’t feel like doing something, it is because you are not taking care of yourself. Yet, self-care is key to managing procrastination.

Use this checklist to figure out if the reason for your procrastination is because you are running on empty or your circuits are overloaded.

  • Do I need to eat?
  • Am I tired and, if possible, do I need to take a power nap?
  • Do I need to take my meds?
  • Do I need to get up and move —exercise — to wake up my brain?
  • Do I need to drink more water?
  • Do I need to slow for a few minutes and do some deep breathing because I am overloaded?

What other strategies do you use when your tank is low?

Procrastination Fix #8 – Use a Procrastination Journal

Now that you know some of the reasons and workarounds for your procrastination, it is time to start the hard work.

And the best way to stop procrastinating is to become more aware in the moment of decision — the moment you are deciding whether to do a task or not.

You can do this by recording your answers to the following statements in a Procrastination Journal:

  • the date and time of the impulse to put off working on a task
  • name of the task
  • what you were thinking and feeling when you thought of doing the task
  • what you were tempted to do instead
  • what you told yourself when you were tempted to something else
  • what you ultimately chose to do

Yes, it takes time, especially in the beginning. But the payoff  can be huge, really.

00 I write because recite

 

Sample Procrastination Journal

Below are a few fictional journal entries based on the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with clients, the journals clients have shared with me — and my own experience, for sure.

March 14, 8:30 am

I just got to the office and wanted to start on the quarterly report first thing because I didn’t want a repeat of last quarter when I got it in late.

Then I looked at the file on my desktop and thought, “This is going to take forever…” I started to feel overwhelmed — my heart was racing and I got this fuzzy sound in my head.

I opened my email, which I promised myself I would not do, and thought, “Maybe I should plow through some of these first.”

Then I remembered the conversation I had with Sheri, my boss, after handing in the report late last time…

And I told myself, “I don’t have to do it all today. When I feel overwhelmed with big projects it helps to break it down and schedule time to do a little at a time.”

So, that is what I did. I finished a little bit today, and felt pretty good!

March 17, 11:30 am

Ally emailed me last week with a question about the program, and I promised her I would give her an answer by tomorrow.

But I just don’t know the answer and I should! This is so pathetic… I’m so embarrassed that I am not pulling my weight.

I’m really hungry. Maybe I should take a walk and eat lunch…

March 17, 12:30 am

Ok, better. I’m feeling a little more clear headed and a bit less stressed now that I took a walk and ate.

What I need is help figuring out how to answer her. Steve is really good at helping me talk through these things when I am stuck. I’ll call him, and see if we can meet this afternoon

In the above cases journaling helped Bob avoid procrastinating.

Of course, you will not necessarily come up with an immediate solution every time you write. But, keeping a procrastination journal will help you become more aware of the thoughtsfeelings, and behaviors involved in your procrastination.

Then you can work on changing them in the long run!

Question for You

I know I gave you a lot of information above.

Where do you want to start?

 

By ADHD coach Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD.

“Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

Notebook photo created on Recite.com

 

 

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Getting Things Done – Productivity and Time Management on Pinterest.

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board What’s getting in your way? Psychological help. on Pinterest.

Employees with ADHD – Job Accommodations

Is ADHD affecting your work? Get help.

What is AD/HD?

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects three to five percent of American children and adults. AD/HD is usually diagnosed in childhood, and the condition can continue into the adult years. Many individuals with AD/HD are undiagnosed until adulthood (NINDS, 2011).

The common characteristics of AD/HD are impulsivity, inattention, and/or over-activity (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and work tasks, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, inability to stay on task, leaving projects, chores and work tasks unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details are the primary symptoms of AD/HD. Although individuals may have both inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, many individuals predominantly display one symptom more than another. Therefore, the DSM-IV-TR identifies three subtypes that can be diagnosed:

  • AD/HD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type:  The major characteristics are fidgeting, talking excessively, interrupting others when talking, and impatience.
  • AD/HD predominantly inattentive type:  The major characteristics are distractibility, organization problems, failure to give close attention to details, difficulty processing information quickly and accurately, and difficulty following through with instructions.
  • AD/HD combined type:  The individual with combined type meets the criteria for both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type.

What causes AD/HD?
Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD (NIMH, 2011).
How is AD/HD treated?
Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Much like children with the disorder, adults with ADHD are treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of treatments (NIMH, 2009).

AD/HD and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Is AD/HD a disability under the ADA?
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC Regulations . . ., 2011). Therefore, some people with AD/HD will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.

A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment (EEOC Regulations . . . , 2011). For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, visit http://AskJAN.org/corner/vol05iss04.htm.

Accommodating Employees with AD/HD

Note: People with AD/HD may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with AD/HD will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations does the employee with AD/HD experience?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine accommodations?
  5. Can the employee provide information on possible accommodation solutions?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, can meetings take place to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations? Can meetings take place to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Would human resources or personnel departments, supervisors, or coworkers benefit from education, training or disability awareness regarding learning disabilities? Can it be provided?

Accommodation Ideas

Time Management: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty managing time, which can affect their ability to mark time as it passes incrementally by minutes and hours. It can also affect their ability to gauge the proper amount of time to set aside for certain tasks. It may be difficult to prepare for, or to remember, work activities that occur later in the week, month, or year.

  • Divide large assignments into several small tasks
  • Set a timer to make an alarm after assigning ample time to complete a task
  • Provide a checklist of assignments
  • Supply an electronic or handheld organizer, and train on how to use effectively
  • Use wall calendar to emphasize due dates
    • Develop a color-coded system (each color represents a task, or event, or level of importance)
    • Allow co-worker or supervisor to add entries on the calendar, or to double-check entries added by the employee with AD/HD

Memory: Individuals with AD/HD may experience memory deficits, which can affect their ability to complete tasks, remember job duties, or recall daily actions or activities.

  • Provide written instructions
  • Allow additional training time for new tasks
  • Offer training refreshers
  • Use a flowchart to indicate steps in a task
  • Provide verbal or pictorial cues
  • Use post-it notes as reminders of important dates or tasks

Concentration:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience decreased concentration, which can be attributed to auditory distractions (that can be heard) and/or visual distractions (that can be seen). People with AD/HD report distractions such as office traffic and employee chatter, opening and closing of elevator doors, and common office noises such as fax tones and photocopying.

  • To reduce auditory distractions:
    • Purchase a noise canceling headset
    • Hang sound absorption panels
    • Provide a white noise machine
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from audible distractions
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize audible distractions
  • To reduce visual distractions:
    • Install space enclosures (cubicle walls)
    • Reduce clutter in the employee’s work environment
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize visual distractions
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from visual distractions

Organization and Prioritization: Individuals with AD/HD may have difficulty getting or staying organized, or have difficulty prioritizing tasks at work.

  • Develop color-code system for files, projects, or activities
  • Use weekly chart to identify daily work activities
  • Use the services of a professional organizer
  • Use a job coach to teach/reinforce organization skills
  • Assign a mentor to help employee
  • Allow supervisor to assign prioritization of tasks
  • Assign new project only when a previous project is complete, when possible
  • Provide a “cheat sheet” of high-priority activities, projects, people, etc.

Social Skills:  Individuals with AD/HD may have limitations in adaptive skills, such as communicating with others, or exhibiting appropriate social skills. This might manifest itself as interrupting others when working or talking, demonstrating poor listening skills, not making eye contact when communicating, or inability to correctly read body language or understand innuendo.

  • Provide a job coach to help understand different social cues
  • Identify areas of improvement for employee in a fair and consistent manner
  • Make attendance at social activities optional
  • Use training videos to demonstrate appropriate behavior in workplace
  • Encourage employees to minimize personal conversation or move personal conversation away from work areas
  • Provide sensitivity training (disability awareness) to all employees
  • Encourage all employees to model appropriate social skills
  • Adjust the supervisory method to better fit the employee’s needs
  • Allow the employee to work from home
  • Adjust method of communication to best suit the employee’s needs
  • Use role-play scenarios to demonstrate appropriate behavior in workplace

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity:  Individuals with AD/HD Hyperactivity-Impulsive type may exhibit over-activity or impulsive behavior. This could be disruptive to the work environment or could inhibit efficient and effective work performance.

  • Provide structured breaks to create an outlet for physical activity
  • Utilize a job coach to teach/reinforce techniques to control impulsivity
  • Allow the employee to work from home
  • Review conduct policy with employee
  • Adjust method of supervision to better prepare employee for feedback, disciplinary action, and other communication about job performance
  • Use services of EAP
  • Provide private workspace where employee will not disturb others by tapping, humming, or fidgeting

Multi-tasking: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty performing many tasks at one time. This difficulty could occur regardless of the similarity of tasks or the frequency of performing the tasks.

  • Separate tasks so that each can be completed one at a time
  • Create a flowchart of tasks that must be performed at the same time, carefully labeling or color-coding each task in sequential or preferential order
  • Provide individualized/specialized training to help employee learn techniques for multi-tasking (e.g., typing on computer while talking on phone)
  • Identify tasks that must be performed simultaneously and tasks that can be performed individually
  • Provide specific feedback to help employee target areas of improvement
  • Remove or reduce distractions from work area
  • Supply ergonomic equipment to facilitate multi-tasking
  • Clearly represent performance standards such as completion time or accuracy rates

Paperwork: Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty completing paperwork efficiently and effectively. This is due in part to workplace distractions and difficulty with time management, disorganization, or prioritization.

  • When possible, automate paperwork by creating electronic files
  • Use speech recognition software to enter text or data into electronic files
  • Save time filling out paper forms by completing information in advance, using pre-filled forms, or adhering pre-printed stickers
  • Use checklists in place of writing text
  • Supply large quantities of regularly-used forms
  • Color-code forms for easy identification
  • Re-design commonly used forms
    • Use large font
    • Double space or triple space
    • Provide adequate space for hand-written response

You’ll find more appropriate accommodations in JAN’s article on Executive Function Deficits. http://askjan.org/media/execfunc.html

Attendance: Individuals may have difficulty getting to work promptly because of the varied activities, processes, and interruptions they may experience while preparing to leave their home and/or during their commute.

  • Allow flexible work environment:
    • Flexible scheduling
    • Modified break schedule
    • Work from home/Flexi-place

Getting to Work on Time: Employers can have time and attendance standards for all employees. Because getting to work on time is the responsibility of the employee, the following ideas are for employees who are having trouble getting to work on time because of executive function deficits:

  • Have a routine of putting and keeping things in their place (keys, phone, glasses)
  • Prepare for the next day’s work the night before
  • Create a checklist for yourself and others
  • Place sticky notes on the door, dashboard, or wherever you will see them
  • Turn off distractions – including cell phones
  • Set a timer or a programmable watch to pace yourself

 

 

Situations and Solutions:

A journalist with AD/HD experienced sensitivity to visual and auditory distractions. The employer provided the individual with a private, high-wall cubicle workspace in a low-traffic area. The employer added an environmental sound machine to mask office noise.

A social worker with AD/HD had difficulty completing handwritten paperwork in a neat and timely fashion. The employer created electronic forms for the employee, which allowed him to type responses. The employer arranged computer files labeled by month to help the employee prioritize open cases. The employer also sent email reminders of deadlines.

An office worker with AD/HD experienced impulsivity and often interrupted co-workers by entering offices without knocking. The employer helped identify appropriate techniques for approaching co-workers, such as keeping a daily list of tasks to discuss with others, then emailing or calling to set aside time to talk about work-related projects.

A retail employee with AD/HD often forgot the closing and cash-out procedures, which resulted in missed printouts of daily sale reports. The employer created a numbered checklist that identified each step for proper closing procedures and identified which reports to run from cash registers. This accommodation benefited all employees.

A delivery person with AD/HD had difficulty with time management. She spent excessive time making deliveries and would forget to return to the warehouse between daily runs. The employer provided a personal organizer watch that could be programmed to beep and display a written message many times throughout the day. This auditory and written prompt helped the employee move quicker from task to task, and helped remind her to return to the warehouse to gather her next load.

A teacher with AD/HD experienced disorganization in her classroom due to clutter from many years of teaching. The employer provided a job coach to help the teacher learn organization techniques, to help separate and store items, and to dispose of previous student work and projects from yesteryear.

 

Information about JAN

Source – Job Accommodation Network – Accommodation and Compliance Series: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,  Retrieved December, 6, 2105 from https://askjan.org/media/adhd.html

The Job Accommodation Network is a service of U.S. DOL’s Office of Disability Employment. Article may be reprinted without copyright infringement.


JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

(800)526-7234 (Voice) 
(877)781-9403 (TTY)
Live Help
Email

JAN’s Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This information provides a starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation. Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee’s individual limitations and accommodation needs.

References

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

EEOC Regulations To Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act, as Amended, 29 C.F.R. § 1630 (2011).

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2009). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Retrieved November 17, 2011, fromhttp://www.nimh.nih.gov

National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2006). NINDS attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder information page. Retrieved November 17, 2011,from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/adhd/adhd.htm

Updated 03/01/13

“Photo courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhoto.net”  Modified on Canva 

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board ADHD and the Workplace on Pinterest.