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ADHD: How to Ask for the Support You Need

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on March 12, 2021

For at least a third of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the condition continues into adulthood. If you have ADHD, you may tend to try to manage things on your own, or maybe you know that you need help but don’t know where to start. There are plenty of resources to help you ask for and find support.

Where to Start

Nobody is meant to do things entirely on their own. There’s no shame in reaching out for help if and when you need it. Start by checking in with your primary care doctor. Tell them about your specific problems or questions, and ask if they have an idea of who to reach out to or if they suggest that you see a mental health professional. A specialist can help you lessen distractions and find tools to improve your focus.

It’s also important to recognize the people around you who are willing to help. Most likely, your family and friends want to support you but may not know how. Let the people in your life know what’s going on with your ADHD so they understand your symptoms and treatment, which will improve your relationships with them.

Asking for Social Support

When it comes to living with ADHD, social support is key. It’s up to you to decide who to share things with, but your partner, friends, and close relatives are a good place to start.

Then, you can consider telling people like your co-workers, supervisors, or teachers. ADHD can pose some challenges at work or school, but the people around you can help you overcome these obstacles when they have an idea of what you’re going through. They may be more understanding when you ask for things like more time for a certain task.

When you’re diagnosed with a condition like ADHD, it can be hard to know how to talk about it. People can have many different ideas about what support means, and it helps if you can explain exactly what you need from them.

One of the best ways to get comfortable and confident about your conversation is to take some time to plan what you want to say.

Research ADHD online and gather key facts to share. Put together a sentence or two that explains ADHD in your own words, based on what you’ve learned. It might also help to think about what questions the other person could ask so you can have good answers ready.

Other Support

Beyond medication and one-on-one therapy, a support group can be an effective way to manage your condition. You can talk with other people with ADHD who know what you’re going through, and it can take some pressure off your family and friends.

Support groups are places where people with ADHD can share experiences, information, and coping strategies in person or online. You can find groups at local chapters of ADHD organizations, on social media, and through the websites of groups like Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) or the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

You might also consider connecting with a social worker in your area, a life coach who specializes in working with people who have ADHD, or a counselor who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Treatment of ADHD.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Adult ADHD.”

Mayo Clinic: “Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

Mindyourmind: “How to talk with your friends about your ADHD.”

The National Institute of Mental Health: “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” “Treatment of ADHD in Adults.”

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): “Professional Directory,” “CHADD's Adult ADHD Support.”

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