Psychosocial Treatments for ADHD
As effective as medications can be, they’re not always enough. Psychosocial treatments, such as therapy, can be key for treating ADHD in adults.
- What will I get out of therapy? Psychosocial treatments for adult ADHD tend to focus on improving how you function at work and at home. Often, you'll learn practical skills to change your ADHD behaviors. Your therapist will help you learn ways to better manage your time and organize your life. He or she may also help you cope with the psychological impact of life with ADHD.
- What kind of therapist should I see? Therapists can include psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Many will use a technique called cognitive behavioral therapy, which studies have shown to be effective in treating ADHD. ADHD coaching is another approach. Although coaches aren't necessarily therapists, they help people with adult ADHD learn skills to manage their condition.
- Can I get therapy without medication? Talk to your doctor. Usually therapy is used in combination with medication, not in place of it.
Self-Care Tips for Those With ADHD
While any person with adult ADHD needs the help of experts like doctors and therapists, there's still a lot that you can do on your own. Here are some tips.
- Set aside time for organization. Organization doesn't come naturally to people with ADHD. You'll need to work at it. So take some time each day or week to keep your life running smoothly. Use a daily planner and check it regularly. Use wristwatch or cellphone alarms to jog your memory. While to-do lists are important, people with adult ADHD don't do well with big, open-ended lists. Instead, choose a few things on your list for each day of the week. Then schedule them into your calendar at specific times of the day. You'll be much more likely to get them done.
- Get support. Right now, you need the help of your family and close friends. Explain the condition to them and how it affects you. Then work together. Maybe your spouse can help you make changes around the house that will help you be more productive. Another option is to join a support group for adults with ADHD. Meeting other people grappling with the same problems that you are can be a great relief. You might learn more about your condition, too.
- Go with what works. Keep using any tricks you've developed to cope with your ADHD, even if they seem odd to others. If you need to plaster the bathroom mirror with Post-It notes in order to remember things, that's fine.
- Don't forget the basics. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Get regular exercise. Aim to sleep seven to eight hours a night. While these suggestions may not have any special benefit in people with adult ADHD, they're important for all-around good health.
- Don't be hard on yourself. Some adults with ADHD have low self-esteem. But remember that many of your problems were likely symptoms of a medical condition that's not your fault. The important thing now is not to dwell on the past, but to look toward the future. Don't beat yourself up. Focus on your treatment instead.