Finding a Support Group
Support groups are a coming together of people to share information and offer support to one another. Support groups can offer medical advice, practical advice, provide education about ADHD and allow participants to share experiences. Many people like to be part of a support group for the feeling of belonging, of knowing they can share experiences without being judged or misunderstood and to find out how other people cope with symptoms of ADHD on a daily basis.
When you join a support group, you come together with those that are in a similar situation. Support groups can be general ADHD support groups, or may be specialized, specifically for adults with ADHD, parents of children with ADHD, women (or men) with ADHD or teens with ADHD. The support group you choose to join needs to be based on why you are joining and what you are looking to gain. Preferably, the people in the support group will not only give information but also be able to relate to your situation and what you are going through so you don't feel alone and isolated.
Professionals facilitate some support groups. These groups may be more educational in nature. Other groups are "peer" groups, set up, organized and monitored by people who have probably been diagnosed with ADHD, or are parents of children with ADHD. One type of group is not better than another; it is more of a personal choice.
Some things to take into consideration when looking for a support group:
- Where does the group meet? Is the location convenient for you? Is transportation available in this area?
- How often does the group meet?
- How large or small is the group? Will you be able to receive the emotional support you need from a group this size?
- Does the group have guest speakers who are professionals in ADHD?
- Does the group cover information on your concerns and issues? For example, if you are a woman with ADHD, how many other participants are women? If it is a group for adults, are issues specific to women covered?
Places o find a support group:
- Talk with your doctor or therapist, he or she may know of some groups in your area
- Check listings in your local newspaper, many will carry listings of groups
- Check the CHADD website to see if there is a support group in your area
- In Canada: Canadian ADHD Support Groups
Next week, I'll talk about how you can start your own support group if there isn't any in your area.