A diagnosis of ADHD can be confusing. Although many people feel relief after receiving a diagnosis of ADHD, there can also be many questions. Individuals may not know where to turn or what to do once they are diagnosed. Below are ten tips for people recently diagnosed with ADHD:
- Learn all you can about ADHD. Chances are the symptoms of ADHD have interfered with your life in the past, maybe when you were in school or in your daily life as an adult, either at work in your relationship. Most people do not seek medical advice if they are not experiencing any problems. Chances are you have developed a number of coping mechanisms in your life to overcome some of the symptoms of ADHD. Now is the time to learn more about ADHD, as a medical diagnosis, rather than an impediment in your life. Read books or online articles to help you understand exactly what ADHD is and how it can impact your life.2) Find a medical practitioner that specializes in ADHD. You may have one doctor, such as your primary doctor or a psychiatrist, who prescribes medication and one that helps in coping and developing strategies for success, such as a behavioral therapist or counselor. It is important that your medical providers understand adult ADHD. Ask questions to determine how often they have treated someone with adult ADHD. If necessary, interview a number of medical professionals on the phone to find someone that will suit your individual needs.3) Work with your medical professional to set up a treatment plan. ADHD can be different in each person. It is important to base your unique treatment plan on your individual needs, rather than following a generic treatment plan for adults with ADHD. This is where it becomes extremely important that your medical provider understands adult ADHD.4)** Learn about the medications used to treat ADHD. While many people choose to use medications to help in managing symptoms of ADHD, medication is not the right choice for many other people. This is a personal decision and should be made with the help of your doctor and therapist. Understanding the different medications available and what they can do for you can help you make the right decision.5) Develop a daily exercise routine. Exercise has been found to be helpful in reducing some ADHD symptoms. If you do not already exercise on a regular basis, take the time to develop a routine that will work with your lifestyle. It is important to talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.6) Look for a support group. There are many support groups around the country through either CHADD or ADDA. The websites for each of these groups have lists of support groups. If there is no group in your area, or if you prefer an online support group, there are many of those available as well. ADHDCentral also offers people the opportunity to share information and join discussions about ADHD. Sharing experiences can help you to understand ADHD, to not feel alone in your struggles and to find coping strategies to help with your symptoms.7) Talk with friends and family about ADHD. Help those closest to you to understand ADHD and how symptoms may manifest themselves. Help them to understand some of your shortcomings may actually be a result of your ADHD and not from some personality fault. Let them know which symptoms you have the most problems with and enlist their support and understanding.8) Make your home ADHD friendly. Place a basket right inside the front door where you can immediately put your keys, your cell phone and anything else you use on a daily basis. This will help you to spend less time looking for these items and more time enjoying yourself.9) Read about strategies for coping with ADHD symptoms and find those that can easily be implemented into your life. There are many different strategies, from creating daily “things to do” lists to using the alarm on your cell phone for reminders, available. Some items will not work for you and some will. Find those that will and begin to incorporate them into your daily routine. Discard ideas that just don’t work for you.10) Forgive yourself**. If you have been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, chances are you have struggled for many years. Your self-esteem may be low. Accept your life for what it was in the past and look toward the future, let go of things that went wrong in the past and forgive yourself. Choose instead to move forward with more knowledge and the determination that you can succeed.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.