Adhd coping tools

10 Coping Mechanisms for Thriving With Adult ADHD

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Medical Reviewer

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.


Medical Reviewer

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.

Many adults with ADHD have found systems and coping mechanisms to manage the everyday symptoms of ADHD. However, others struggle daily with distraction, lack of organizational skills, and becoming easily overwhelmed. The strategies below can help adults with ADHD develop coping skills:

1. Make time for exercise every day. Exercise helps increase focus and attention, decrease excess energy, and helps combat symptoms of depression. Including an exercise program in your daily routine will provide you with many benefits.

2. Accept yourself and your limitations. Remember that ADHD is not a made-up diagnosis. A diagnosis of ADHD can help you to understand why you act in a certain way, but it is not an excuse for inappropriate behaviors.

3. Find people that accept you. Adults with ADHD may feel that those around them do not understand them, and criticize or judge them for their behaviors. If the people you are spending time with make you feel uncomfortable or inadequate, find other people to be with. Look up local support groups in your area or create your own network of friends that accept you and you feel comfortable around.

4. Look for time in your day to unwind. Use transitional time between activities to de-stress and unwind. Stop on your way home from work to sit at a park for 10 minutes or let your family know that when you arrive home you need a few minutes of downtime before entering family activities.

5. Create a system for prioritizing your day. Look over what needs to be accomplished and complete the items that are most important first. Leave those that are less important for later. Should you become distracted, you will know that you still have accomplished the most important items for the day.

6. Use your own internal clock to your benefit. If you are a morning person and are more productive early in the day, arrange your day for the most important items to be accomplished in the morning. If you find that you do best in afternoons, arrange your day this way. Look for jobs that will allow you to be flexible in your schedule to make the most of your own productive patterns.

7. Create deadlines for projects. If you find that you constantly procrastinate, outline a project you are going to begin and set deadlines for each step of the project. Even if you are working around the house, give yourself a time limit to complete portions of the task.

8. Break down all tasks into steps. Adults with ADHD are often overwhelmed with large projects and tasks. Many times, this causes the project to go unfinished and, in some cases, never even started. Instead of looking at the project as one complete task, look at it in steps. For example, if you are going to clean your house, make it a system: first, make the beds; second, straighten the living room; third, dust and vacuum. Don't worry about any steps other than the one you are currently working on.

9. Provide your own structure. Develop systems to help you give your day routines such as a daily schedule. Use organizational helpers like to-do lists, PDAs, daily planners, and tape recorders.

10. Learn about ADHD. The more you learn about your diagnosis, the more prepared you will be to handle the daily difficulties. Read books, ask your doctor questions, or join support groups.

Meet Our Writer

Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is

13 ADHD Coping Skills for Organization, Time Management

24 HR

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Never a Day Off

ADHD doesn't only affect adults when they're at work. It's a 24-hour, 365-day reality. But with the right treatment plan and coping tools, people with the condition can sleep better, get over the hump of starting new tasks, and be more successful at work. Use these 13 strategies to cope with adult ADHD symptoms from morning 'til night.

Brain concept illustration

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1. Approach It Like a Marathon

For your own sanity, avoid the mindset that "My attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) will be better when..." It's true that nutrition, exercise and sleep do help. But a good night's sleep or less stressful job can't eradicate your ADHD symptoms. Acknowledge that this is a chronic, brain-based condition. Doing so will let you conceptualize long-term treatment solutions (not quick fixes) and help you mentally position your journey in a healthy way.

Vector illustration of strong man hand with open book icon on bright pattern background.

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2. Catalog Your Strengths

We all face challenges and struggle with defaults. Don't allow yourself to get bogged down in the failures — obsessing over them almost never helps. Instead, begin mentally cataloging the area where you succeed. Think, "What's working well in my life?" Focus on what you already do well and concentrate on making those strengths even stronger.

[Free Download: 11 ADHD Coping Mechanisms]

Three coworkers together over computer and plant

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3. Outsource Your Weaknesses

"To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." -Mark Twain
To this list, we'd add a third: teammates. Specifically, ones who excel in the areas where you struggle. If you are great at starting projects that never get finished, try partnering with someone who is a good closer. If you're great at design, but bad with numbers, team up with a math whiz in your office. Find workarounds for the parts of your life that your ADHD symptoms complicate.

Shot of a happy mature couple doing yoga together outdoors

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4. Always Be Adjusting

If your ADHD symptoms are percolating to the surface again, it's time to rethink your treatment strategy. You might need to tweak the dosage or type of medication you're taking, or broaden your alternative treatment plan. Add some yoga, mindfulness training, or exercise to help get symptoms under control. Remember that not every physician is knowledgeable about the condition. You may need to find another doctor who is eager to help you optimize your treatment, and figure out if a coexisting condition is impacting your symptoms.

Woman’s hands wearing sweater using tablet

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5. Turn to Technology

Investigate gadgets and apps designed to help you manage problem areas, like keeping track of your priorities. This page is a great resource for finding ADHD-friendly apps.

Blue Figure stand in front of many red Figures . Show a leading position metaphor.

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6. Go After It

You respond differently to things than do your peers who don't have ADHD. You have different needs. That's more than OK — it can be an asset if you use the resources available to you. Listen to webinars. Read books and articles. Go to support groups or meetups to learn what works for other people. Check out organizations like CHADD and ADDA to remind yourself that you're not alone. Then, when you've found something that works, share it. Give back, and good things will continue to find you.

[Free Download: 19 Ways to Meet Deadlines and Get Things Done]

Woman in bed hitting alarm clock

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7. Prioritize Your Sleep

Many adults with ADHD struggle to fall asleep and wake up in the morning. The first step to better rest is figuring out how much sleep you really need. Some people only need 7 hours to feel refreshed; others need 9-10. Then, rule out a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. Technology like Sleep Cycle can help you track sleep patterns and identify problem areas. Try supplements like melatonin to fall asleep, and avoid using electronics around bedtime. Find the caffeine regimen that works for you. Some adults find it helps them sleep, while others feel too wired with even decaf tea.

Kitchen timer on wooden counter.

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8. Start Tasks Easily

The first step is almost always the hardest. When starting a new task, isolate the prep work from the actual work and treat them as two distinct goals. Task One: Gather everything you need. Task Two: Jump in. Use a timer to avoid feeling trapped, panicked, or overwhelmed. Set a start time and a stop time. Schedule in a bit of fun before starting a task you dislike to get up of momentum. If all else fails, ask a friend to come coach you through the work.

Cartoon man blue and black with hat and hands over mouth

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9. Curb Impulsive Outbursts

To stop outbursts before they begin, use a cueing system – like an alarm that vibrates every couple minutes – to remind you to stop and think before you speak in a meeting or at a party. If you're working in a friendly group, try saying something like, "Sometimes I think so fast I don't quite get a chance to filter all of my thoughts. If something comes out wrong, let me know and I'll clarify it." Remember that impulsivity is a neurologically based condition; frequent outbursts might mean it's time for a change in your treatment plan.

Meeting in a conference room, group of people talking

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10. Keep It Short and Focused

If your attention trails off in meetings or phone conversations, jot down notes so that you don't lose track of your thoughts. Try to limit conversations or meetings to a time period that matches your attention span. For example, schedule 10-minute meetings. If you can, tape record important moments so you can come back to the crucial parts for a reminder. Or, ask other participants for a summary of the top three takeaways from the talk.

Colored binders in a row

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11. Create Structure

Once you've identified your ADHD stumbling blocks, take steps to overcome them with structure. If you're disorganized, use a filing system that keeps your interest with dots and colors. If your attention wanders, use a visual prompt like a $5 bill taped above your desk as a reminder that you work to pay your mortgage. The purpose of your actions can help you stay on course. Pick two tasks and alternate between them when you get bored with one until both are done.

Woman cooking in a fry pan on the stove

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12. Set Up a Meal Schedule

Cooking and grocery shopping can be sticking points for many adults with ADHD. Work with your family to figure out a solution. Try crock pot recipes. Or set up a schedule for meals — every Monday is spaghetti, every Tuesday is meatloaf, and so on; patterns makes it much easier to plan.

Target logo concept with long shadow

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13. Keep Growing

Following an ADHD diagnosis, many adults feel like they're new people with new clarity and opportunities to grow. Keep the progress going by setting new goals, and reach out to people or coaches who can help you accomplish them. Rethink your situation, and remember to focus on the things you have accomplished, not everything that you haven't.

[Free Guide: The Daily Routine that Works for Adults with ADHD]

| Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Treatment in Children ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in a child (ADHD) is a behavioral and emotional-volitional disorder, as a result of which the child experiences difficulty concentrating attention, perseverance, keeping one or more instructions, often “misses everything is off the ears, ”unsuccessful in mastering the school curriculum. Such children cannot sit in one place for a long time, they are impatient, impulsive, sometimes capricious, their actions are often chaotic and aimless. nine0003

Often, parents and caregivers confuse these symptoms of a neurological disease with the characterological features of the child's personality. Therefore, children for a long time remain without due attention of specialists, which is fraught with the development of various adverse manifestations.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often study poorly, and in the future are prone to antisocial changes (prone to alcohol, drug addiction). In such children, the risk of headaches, neuroses, tics increases. Often develop diseases of the cardiovascular and digestive systems, sleep disorders and other adverse factors. nine0003

The main danger of this disorder lies in the fact that the external manifestations and symptoms are that the child gives the impression of being very active and energetic, overflowing with energy. Parents decide that the baby does not have enough places where he can throw out all his energy, and I begin to take the child to all possible sports clubs and sections. Thus, the child psychologically and emotionally begins to deplete. Remember, only swimming is shown to a hyperactive child from sports sections !!! External activity is deceptive, so the child is only self-stimulating, trying to concentrate and keep the instruction. nine0003

Highly qualified specialists of the neurological and speech therapy center "Above the Rainbow" successfully treat ADHD in Moscow.

Causes of ADHD in children

The exact cause of ADHD has not been determined by medical science. Scientists believe that this condition appears when exposed to a complex of factors. These include:

1. Negative influences during fetal development (pollution of the environment, food, intoxication of the body, infections, Rh-conflict, the threat of miscarriage, pathological childbirth, etc.). nine0017 2. Factors that negatively affect the baby's brain at a very early age (hypoxia, anesthesia, antibiotics).
3. Burdened heredity.

The above reasons can cause organic damage to the child's brain, which is expressed by characteristic behavior.


There are 3 types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:

  1. With a predominance of hyperactivity. More common in boys. They cannot stay in one place, have a "field" behavior, are impatient and restless. nine0028
  2. With a predominance of attention deficit. More commonly seen in girls. It is difficult for them to concentrate on one type of activity, attention is sprayed on external stimuli.
  3. Mixed type, when hyperactivity and attention deficit are equally expressed.

ADHD treatment in Moscow at the "Above the Rainbow" center corrects any kind of behavioral disorders.

Early signs of ADHD

How can the disease be detected and treated in a timely manner for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in a child? In children of the first years of life, certain symptoms of pathology are noted, the appearance of which should alert parents:

  • Rapid physical development (before term they begin to hold their heads, do not crawl, but immediately tend to get up and walk, etc. ).
  • They fall asleep hard and for a long time, sleep less than the prescribed norm per day.
  • When tired, they do not calm down, but fall into hysterics and whims.
  • "Field" behavior - the inability to concentrate on one thing for more than 1-2 minutes; throw toys before they can be seen.

Before the age of 3, it is still difficult to determine whether the above manifestations are signs of pathology. By the age of 5-12, the symptoms become clearly visible. Therefore, the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in a child must be carried out without fail. nine0003

The main symptoms of ADHD

The main signs of pathology include:

  1. Attention disorder. The child fails to concentrate on any type of activity, he avoids performing routine activities.
  2. Hyperactivity. The child performs many aimless movements, talks non-stop, has very expressive facial expressions.
  3. Impulsivity. He does not know how to follow the sequence of actions, plan, wait, is guided only by his own desires. These children have emotional lability, that is, a rapid transition from laughter to crying and vice versa. They do not feel danger, which is why they often perform actions that lead to traumatic injuries. nine0028

The IQ of a child with ADHD is usually age-appropriate or even superior. However, he has difficulty interacting with peers, being too intrusive or aggressive. Emotional development suffers. The child is characterized by such qualities as imbalance, capriciousness, excessive emotionality. Adults often compare him with other, more obedient children. In this regard, low self-esteem develops, the child withdraws from society or protests, becomes aggressive. nine0003

The nervous system of a child with ADHD is not able to adequately perceive external stimuli, and this behavior is an attempt to protect itself from external environmental factors. The baby's nervous system is often depleted, neurodynamics are very low. The kid gets tired quickly, especially from intellectual activities that require planning and long-term concentration. The child subconsciously seeks to run away from such activities, from the outside it seems that the baby takes on everything and quickly quits without completing it to the end. nine0003

Treatment of ADHD at the neurospeech and speech therapy center "Above the Rainbow"

Neuropsychologists of our center have extensive experience in non-drug treatment of ADHD in children from 3 to 18 years old. With a properly built correctional program, your child will be able to develop according to age, discover new talents, grow up as a self-sufficient and harmonious personality.

Specialists create an individual program of neuropsychological correction and behavioral therapy for each child individually. The psychologist also works with parents, helping to develop the right line of education. nine0003

Revolutionary methods of developing special abilities of the brain, along with innovative equipment, guarantee a positive result in the treatment of ADHD in children. Our center employs the best specialists who have passed a rigorous selection and training in the USA, Germany and France. The program of neuropsychological correction integrates sensory integration, kinesiological exercises, classes in the speleotherapy cave, sensory room, neurodynamic park, neuromaze, neurodrome, neuronetwork. The neuropsychologists of our center create a correction program with the connection of neuroacoustic and rhythmotherapy techniques. nine0017 Parents should remember that the sooner individual correctional work begins, the faster and more stable the results will be, and psychological difficulties and self-doubt will not join neuropsychological problems. But it is important that the work is not built according to templates, but according to a strictly individual program drawn up for a particular child on the basis of a competent diagnostic examination, which includes a hardware examination of the HMF.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children | Zinov'eva

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