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ADHD in Adults: Behavioral Strategies - Topic Overview

If you are an adult who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you will most likely see an improvement in your symptoms when you take medicine for the condition. Behavioral interventions are not meant to treat inattention, overactivity, or impulsivity. But they can help you be more organized and have healthy interpersonal relationships. The following are some suggestions:

  • Get organized. Most likely you have difficulty with organizational skills. Find a daily organizer or planner that fits your needs. Write notes in your organizer about your appointments and other things you need to remember.
  • Decrease distractions. The environment can be an important part of being organized. Set up your work environment so that there are fewer distractions. You may find using headphones or a "white noise" machine helpful. College students can arrange a quiet living situation, such as a single dormitory room.
  • Stop and think. If you are impulsive, train yourself to stop and think before you act. If you are prone to blurting out statements that you later regret, train yourself to write down the statement and think about whether it should be said out loud. If you have a problem with your temper, use the "stop and think" method. If this does not work, talk with a health professional.
  • Work on relationships. Social skills training can help an adult who has ADHD relate to family, friends, and coworkers. Also, marital counseling or family therapy can significantly improve relationships and overall family function.
  • Find substitute behaviors for hyperactivity. Anticipate situations where you think you may feel restless, and plan ways to keep yourself moving without affecting others. For example, take notes during meetings instead of fidgeting.
  • Seek help. Learn as much as you can about ADHD and how its symptoms affect your life. Explore the Internet to find websites of national organizations for helpful information about the condition. Ask a doctor about local resources or books that may be helpful.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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