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Adult ADHD: Tips to Curb Impulsive Speech

Practice 'Two-Way' Conversations

Laugeson recommends that you practice conversation as a way of trading information. This is especially important for people with ADHD who tend to do all the talking.

"Look for common interests," she says. "That should be your goal."

That way, talk moves two ways, with each of you asking and answering questions.

"It makes it a more interesting conversation for both people," she says. "It should not be all about what you want to talk about."

And by keeping the conversation on-topic, you're less likely to blurt out personal information you might later regret sharing.

Rehearse Scenarios

Self-talk is a simple but effective way to curb impulsiveness, says psychiatrist George Keepers, MD.

Like Laugeson's technique, this method involves rehearsing the types of social scenarios you often find yourself in. While rehearsing, ideally with a therapist, say out loud the behavior that best suits the situation. For example, before mentioning your idea at a meeting, say to yourself, "I should write down my idea."

"That will help you remember the habit," says Keepers, who directs the Adult ADHD Clinic at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

With enough practice, you won't need to speak your reminders aloud.

Try Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation offers a lot of benefits for adults with ADHD, Keepers says. The practice involves sitting quietly and calmly clearing your mind as you focus on your breathing. As thoughts enter your mind, you gently push them away.

It can take some time to get used to it. At first, your thoughts may distract you. But with daily practice, you will get the hang of it.

"It helps people to engage and be present, to learn to observe and not be quite so distracted," Keepers says.

Start with a how-to book or take a class, then practice on your own. At first, try just a few minutes at a time and build on that as you become more comfortable.

"If you are doing half an hour a day," Keepers says, "you're doing well."

Also, keep up with your ADHD treatment, which often includes therapy as well as medication. Both can help you manage impulsiveness and other ADHD symptoms. Therapy is especially helpful at building new habits and social skills.

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Reviewed on October 31, 2013

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