The symptoms and issues that accompany ADHD can begin to take a toll on a person's emotional, mental, physical, and social health and wellbeing. As a person struggles to concentrate on the conversation at hand or cannot seem to focus on getting those taxes done correctly, the stress and frustration will begin to take a toll.
Many people dealing with ADHD tend to find themselves procrastinating simple tasks like self-care or finishing a homework assignment. Fortunately, there are effective treatments and coping mechanisms that have been shown to help people struggling with ADHD begin living happier healthier lives.
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
ADHD is a very common mental health disorder in children, although it can affect adults as well. It can cause a person to behave on impulse, struggle with focusing, and act in a hyperactive manner.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD has been estimated to affect a whopping 11% of children and 4.4% of adults as of the year 2011.
ADHD isn't a one-size-fits-all disorder, which is precisely what makes it so hard to diagnose. ADHD can actually take shape in two different forms: inattentive and hyperactive/ impulsive. The inattentive type of ADHD is characterized by a struggle to focus. Those dealing with the inattentive type of ADHD will experience six or more of the following symptoms:
- Finding themselves easily distracted
- An inability to stay focused
- Feeling incapable of paying attention to tasks
- Seemingly unable to listen when others are speaking to them
- Struggling with forgetfulness
- Evades responsibilities that require mental effort
- Can be unreliable in following through on tasks or responsibilities
- Loses their things often
Hyperactive ADHD is characterized by a more active inability to concentrate. In the hyperactive/impulsive type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, symptoms include six or more of the following:
- Can be overly talkative
- Can be fidgety or restless
- An inability to sit still for a long length of time
- Acts impulsively
- Continually moving
- Tends to interrupt others when they are speaking
- Struggles to wait for their turn
Coping with ADHD
ADHD can be a difficult mental health issue to deal with. The good news is, there are effective treatments available and ways a person can cope when they are having difficulties with the disorder in order to improve their quality of life.
· Getting organized can be a life-changing step for many people struggling with ADHD. However, when your disorder is preventing you from concentrating on getting organized, it can be difficult to begin. The key to successfully beginning your organization's journey is to pursue one small step at a time. Write a list full of small things you need to do in order to get your life organized. You don't have to make a list long. Planning out three small steps toward organization per day will get you on track to getting more organized. Make sure your list is full of small, quick tasks. Now, you can get started and check every little task off the to-do list as you go.
· Creating structure will help you manage your time more effectively, get the important tasks done first, and stay on track toward feeling more organized and less cluttered. To-do lists aren't the only way you can build structure in your life, though. You can build structure by developing daily routines and rituals, planning out your entire day through time blocking, creating lists of things you need, tasks you need to get done, and whatever else is cluttering your mind, and setting reminders for the things that absolutely need to get done. The more structured your day is, the more organized your thoughts will be, helping you stay focused on the task at hand.
- Clean up your space. Wherever you spend the most time, whether that be in your room, the kitchen, your office, or even on your phone, should be as clutter-free as possible. Clutter in your environment will turn into clutter in your mind, which will only worsen your ADHD symptoms.
- Stop multitasking. Try focusing on slowing down and getting one thing done at a time. It may sound boring or like you will be working on that task forever, but multitasking will prevent you from getting anything done efficiently.
- Practice mindfulness techniques. Research has shown that specific mindfulness techniques can improve attention span and help ease other symptoms associated with ADHD. Mindfulness meditation works by activating the areas of your brain that are associated with attention. The longer you practice mindfulness, the more aware you will become of the times you are feeling distracted, overwhelmed, or distressed. You may then have the tools to work on calming yourself, as mindfulness meditation is also a great relaxation technique.
- Journal. When your mind is feeling messy, and you just need somewhere to get your thoughts organized, grab a notepad and scribble every word as it crosses your mind. This act is known as stream of consciousness journaling and can be extremely helpful to getting your thoughts organized. Plus, being able to have a visual representation of your ideas and thoughts is a great memory you can look back on one of these days.
Attention deficit disorder can really begin to take a toll on a person. Whether you are dealing with hyperactive ADHD or inattentive ADHD, know that you do not have to suffer through the noise alone. There are effective treatments available to you, including medications and therapy, that have been proven to alleviate many symptoms associated with the disorder.
Pairing the treatment prescribed by your doctor with getting organized, decluttering your space, and practicing mindfulness meditation may be just what you need to begin living a higher-quality, better-focused life.