If you are suffering from ADHD, or know someone who does, this will be useful for you.
A condition that can debilitate if you let it, and cause a fair bit of stress. It causes you to run around in. circles, both literally and figuratively. As an individual with ADHD, I can fully attest to the evidence provided by research on the internet or in published medical journals.
But what do you do if you find out that you have ADHD, especially if you are an adult? We examine this disorder, its effects and most crucially, how you can manage it if you have the condition.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood disorder that's not unheard of. Adults are not immune to it either. The symptoms of this non-life-threatening but potentially debilitating condition include inattention (not being able to concentrate), hyperactivity (excess movement in conventional settings) and impulsivity (hasty and spontaneous acts that may inconvenience or annoy others).
ADHD troubles roughly 8.4 % of children and 2.5 % of adults. People typically know that they have the disorder as children when their teachers highlight problems with attention or schoolwork. That said, people do come to know that it affects them as adults, typically when they have problems with their work performance. The disorder is more prevalent among boys than girls.
Symptoms of ADHD
1. Lack of Focus
This symptom, by far, is the most telltale sign that a person has the disorder. What you probably wouldn't know so much about is that the lack of concentration goes beyond that. While you may be familiar with hyperactivity, ADHD also means an annoying and sometimes debilitating inability to focus on details or complete tasks on time. According to a 2020 study, people with ADHD may develop Hyperfocus, or the tendency to focus for too long on a task. Problems with concentration may make a person with ADHD feel constantly exhausted or have insomnia.
2. Organization and Time Management
The potential to be distracted brings with it organizational and time management concerns. Adults with ADHD often find it difficult to fulfil obligations or keep to deadlines, causing work concerns. Individuals with ADHD often find it difficult to keep to deadlines and schedules no matter how many sticky notes and organizers they use, in a phenomenon known as "Time Blindness."
3. Poor Working Memory
Individuals with ADHD find themselves forgetting things, but not just anything. While they seldom have issues remembering a family member's birthday or that trip to Japan that took place a decade ago, they will struggle to remember where they put their keys or that they were sweeping the floor when the phone rang.
Short-term tasks such as these involve Working Memory or the equivalent of a computer's RAM. A person with ADHD will struggle to keep track of minor, but essential tasks.
The disorder also makes a person complete tasks with great haste. An ADHD sufferer tends to interrupt conversations as well. A person with the disorder may also come across as restless and anxious about time.
5. Negative Self-Image and Emotional Concerns
The disorder debilitates to the effect that it handicaps a person at work. Many people with the condition have reported that finding and keeping a job is difficult, owing to their tendency to forget deadlines or to be haphazard when completing tasks. That naturally leads to poor self-image and a myriad of emotional concerns. Consequently, they may feel a lack of motivation when doing jobs or completing projects.
6. Relationship Concerns
ADHD can strain a person's relationships, which is hardly surprising. Coping with a partner's impulsivity and forgetfulness is a challenge. A person with the condition also tends to lose his or her temper, which makes life at home or work trying.
Effects of ADHD
If you are an adult who has just received bad news from a psychologist that you have ADHD, chances are that you've been bearing with the condition since childhood. You will probably feel overwhelmed by difficulties organizing tasks or remembering details. Your loved ones or colleagues may have strained relationships with you because of these difficulties, and you may have begun to develop negative self-perceptions. In other words, ADHD can affect and debilitate you if you leave it untreated. These are its effects.
Physical and mental health issues.
ADHD symptoms can lead to a myriad of health problems, that include constant eating, substance abuse, chronic anxiety, excess stress, and poor self-confidence. You may have trouble at work because of forgetting tasks or missing deadlines.
Work and financial difficulties.
Career issues and resulting feelings of inadequacy are common among individuals with ADHD. They often report job losses and the inability to keep to a 9-to-5 routine. Also, many of them highlight difficulties managing finances due to impulsive spending.
As already mentioned, the symptoms of ADHD can put a significant amount of stress on your family relationships. Well-intentioned but unempathetic family members may frustrate you by constantly telling you to get organized. Of course, they will be just as annoyed by what they perceive as your bad habits
As you can tell, the far-reaching effects of ADHD can lead to awkwardness, annoyance, despondency, and a huge loss of self-confidence. You may feel like you’ll never be able to get get a grip on your life.
So, an ADHD diagnosis needn't be a life sentence; it can and should be a source of hope. For what may be the first time, you can move forward, realising that you're not to blame for all these inadequacies. The disorder is responsible for your 'flaws' and not you.
ADHD: Managing the Impact
ADHD is debilitating, but you can take steps to manage it instead of letting it manage you. These are the little steps you can take to control its impact.
1. Get Organized
Create space for yourself. What do you really need? Put things that you don't in containers or storage bins. Since you will be apt to misplace items like your keys or wallet, designate places to put them. I have one rule that helps control clutter; each time I buy something new, I throw away one thing that I don't need.
Use a calendar app or digital planner. A popular one is trello.com, which I use myself. It allows the creation of different boards and lists to help you address all areas of your life. Of course, you should make it a habit actually to REFER to the planner. To speak of habits, the app Habitica is an excellent tool for those with ADHD because it encourages a user to form essential daily habits that you need to give your life a boost. Planners and lists that you form on such organizers will help you keep track of schedules, tasks, and deadlines.
Of course, the best way to help yourself with ADHD is to deal with your tasks on the spot. You are less likely to forget them if you can manage them at once.
2. Go Paperless
Oh, those with ADHD find paper a huge bane. Try to keep as much paperwork as you can digital. Deal with email daily. Set aside a few minutes each day to read it, preferably at the beginning of your workday. Set a time to go through it and make as many of your billing statements electronic so that you won't have to worry about where you kept that annoying yet important bill.
For documents that you must keep as hard paper, set up a filing system. Use coloured dividers so that you can find what you need quickly.
3. Manage your Time and Prioritize
Use a smartwatch to keep track of time, or rely on the timers on your computer. Use an alarm that you can set to go off once the time is up for completing tasks; this controls the tendency to hyperfocus. Give yourself more time than you need and make plans to be early.
Further, set priorities for your tasks. Do what is crucial first and use your planner to arrange them in order of priority.
4. Say No When Necessary
Impulsivity makes the ADHD sufferer make too many social engagements or take on work tasks that he or she will find difficult to manage. However, an over-stuffed To-Do list will cause you to feel overwhelmed. Say no to the commitments that you know you cannot manage.
5. Money management
Individuals with this disorder are notoriously poor money managers. Set aside a budget to avoid overspending.
Then, there is bill management, and this relates to the above pointer about going paperless. Use online banking, as the bank itself will keep track of your account. If necessary, open accounts for different spending needs so that you know where your money goes. Set up automatic payments so that you won't have to worry about your next bill. You can also set up reminders for paying bills if you prefer.
Managing ADHD without Medication
ADHD does not have to be the be-all and end-all for a person who has it. A few management techniques may even turn you into a self-management guru.
Sheth, Servanti, Healthline, June 30 2020 These 3 Lesser-Known ADHD Symptoms Are Important to Recognize
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 13, 2021:
Great article and useful information about ADHD.
You have highlighted some important points, which will help many to understand this medical condition, and deal with it appropriately.
The good thing is that it can be managed.
Good to read an article by you, after a long time. Thank you for sharing.