How to help someone with attention deficit disorder

How to Help Someone With ADHD: 7 Ways — Talkspace

If a friend or loved one was recently diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you might initially feel overwhelmed. That’s not just OK…it’s pretty normal. Not only is there a ton of information to learn about this challenging mental health condition, but it’s understandably hard to see someone you care about suffering, whether it’s your friend, loved one, your child, or if you’re dating someone with ADHD. 

Remember too, though, that taking care of yourself is essential if you want to help someone else — there’s a reason we’re told to put on our oxygen masks first in case of an emergency when we fly. If we don’t take care of our own needs, we won’t be much good at caring for anyone else either, regardless of how much we may want to. This metaphor applies to all aspects of life, including knowing how to support someone with ADHD. 

“The best way to help someone with ADHD is to be patient and supportive. Many people with ADHD are trying to calm themselves down and focus on the task at hand. A few tips include: Be encouraging — one way to hinder progress for someone with ADHD is to be discouraging Be patient Focus on strengths, not challenges Prioritize effective communication Address specific problems and offer solutions Listen Encourage seeking help from a professional.”

Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, PhD, LCSW

Read on for more great ideas on how to help someone with ADHD in a positive, effective manner that can really make a difference in their life.

1. Educate Yourself 

The most important part of understanding someone with ADHD is educating yourself about what the condition means. It’s often so much more than just a lack of focus or hyperactivity. With 3 different types of ADHD, it’s essential to learn more about the ADHD symptoms a friend or loved one may experience. 

Educating yourself can initially mean going to a loved one’s doctor’s appointment and asking questions.  

There are also fantastic online resources that can help you learn how to help someone with ADHD. For example:

  • ADDitude- Inside the ADHD Mind
  • ADDitude – ADHD Support Group for Parents
  • ADHD Resource Center
  • CHADD – Understanding ADHD
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Teens: What You Need to Know
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 

2. Help Them Find Treatment 

One of the hardest things about a new ADHD diagnosis is not knowing where or how to find help. Unfortunately, some people with ADHD get overwhelmed when they receive a lot of information without a clear path forward. So, knowing how to help someone with ADHD find a course or resource for treatment can be invaluable. 

Often, a combination of therapy and medication is used to treat ADHD. A psychiatrist or medical doctor can diagnose ADHD and prescribe stimulant medication. Therapists and psychologists can help your loved one cope, set routines, discover and implement strategies, and learn social skills.  

Top tips for finding treatment: If you want to know how to support someone with ADHD, one of the first things you can do is help them find a: 

  • Therapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • ADHD Coach
  • Support group
  • Another source who can help

3. Listen to Your Loved One 

When you’re wondering how to support someone with ADHD, it’s critical to understand how important simply listening and communicating is. It may sound too easy, but it’s an incredibly effective way to lend support. 

For example, your friend or spouse may tell you that they’re too overwhelmed to clean the kitchen or put laundry away. They also might not put this into words, but rather, just avoid the task or take a very long time to complete it. 

While their words or behavior might just seem like an excuse, ADHD can be so debilitating for some people that seemingly simple tasks feel daunting. Understanding this ADHD symptom can change how you react. Instead of frustration, anger, or resentment, you can come from a place of compassion and understanding. 

Top tips for listening: Part of knowing how to talk to someone with ADHD includes listening without judgment. While that can be difficult at first, it’s necessary. Ways you can do this include:

  • Show acceptance, be genuine and empathetic
  • Use words or verbal cues to show that you’re listening
  • Have positive body language
  • Stay calm
  • Don’t interrupt

4. Communicate with Your Loved One 

While it’s important to listen to your loved ones about their concerns, it’s equally crucial to be comfortable learning to talk to them about your concerns, too. It’s best to address issues as they happen (or soon after), so your list of grievances doesn’t become unmanageable, causing anger or resentment. 

Top tips for communicating: Learning to communicate can be challenging under the best of circumstances. It can be even more difficult when you add ADHD to the mix. Smart communicating tactics include:

  • Setting a time to talk about your concerns
  • Don’t attack a loved one by saying things like: I hate it when you…
    Instead, try rephrasing your concerns by saying something like: It makes me feel like…when you…
  • Changing how you express yourself can help others understand the specific behaviors that are bothering you, but in a less antagonistic way
  • Communicate possible and attainable solutions to issues
  • While it’s OK to ask someone to do things, or to remind them of essential tasks, doing it with consideration and kindness will always go a long way

5. Focus on Strengths to Build Self-Confidence

Most people with ADHD are acutely aware of their weaknesses because teachers, friends, and family members have shared their frustrations about them for years. Constantly hearing about their faults can be one of the reasons many people with ADHD suffer from low self-esteem. Focusing on strengths is essential in helping build up, not beat down, self-confidence. 

One of the best ways you can learn how to talk to someone with ADHD is by noting their strengths and complimenting them. There’s something to be said about catching people doing something right. 

Tips for focusing on strengths: If you know someone with ADHD who’s artistic, take note of their creativity and hard work. Or, if they put away their clothes or finish a task, you can let them know you appreciate them (without being condescending). Simple, even minor, compliments and praise can add up and help your loved one gain self-confidence.

6. Help Them with a Routine 

People with ADHD can really thrive with a routine (and suffer without one!). It’s also common for them to struggle with sudden changes. While real life isn’t always set in stone, and unforeseen changes will happen from time to time, developing a general pattern can help relieve some of their anxiety about the unknown.  

Tips for building routines: There are several ways you can help someone with ADHD create functional, usable, and helpful routines. 

  • Daily routines (that will change and you create every day): Create a rough schedule with the most critical chores or tasks first, when it’s more likely they’ll be able to maintain focus for longer. List smaller, quicker, more manageable tasks later in the day, when energy levels are usually at their lowest. 
  • Weekly routines (that will largely stay the same from day to day): It’s easy for someone with ADHD to get sidetracked or distracted throughout their day. Create boilerplate, consistent routines for daily schedules so they know what to do, when, every day. Having a schedule written down and visible at all times, for example, on a dry-erase board at their desk, can be very helpful. 

7. Take Care of Yourself 

As any caregiver will tell you, you can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking good care of yourself. Living with a loved one, or maintaining a relationship with someone who has ADHD, can be highly stressful, even after starting a treatment plan, including ADHD medication or therapy. It’s completely human and normal to be stressed and overwhelmed. 

Tips for taking care of yourself: Self care can mean many things, including:

  • Therapy
  • Exercise, either in a group setting or individual
  • A night out with friends
  • Art, dance, or cooking classes
  • Meditation
  • Talking to others in an ADHD caregiver support group
  • Taking a vacation

ADHD Treatment with Talkspace

What form of ADHD treatment will be most successful can vary widely from person to person. It’s common for treatment plans to include a combination of medication and therapy. 


There are 2 main groups of medications for ADHD — stimulants and non-stimulants. Sometimes antidepressants are prescribed to help manage symptoms of depression that can be common in those living with ADHD. Depending on the ADHD type and the severity of symptoms, a doctor will prescribe the medication that best suits someone’s individual needs.

While medicine isn’t always a necessary treatment for ADHD, for some, it can successfully treat severe symptoms and help people live a more productive life.


Therapy is a fantastic addition to medication for the treatment of ADHD for both an adult and a young person. 

Adults: Therapy for ADHD can take many forms, but some of the best types to treat ADHD usually include behavioral or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Both options offer a safe place to talk about symptoms. Talk therapy helps people learn coping skills and identify triggers so they can change negative behaviors. 

Children: In addition to CBT therapy, play, art, and music therapy can all be very successful in helping children and teens learn to manage an ADHD diagnosis. 

In addition to coping skills, therapy helps adults and children alike develop routines and enhance the social skills ADHD might make them struggle with.  

Looking for ADHD therapy? Talkspace is an online therapy platform that’s helped so many people with ADHD get the help they need. Our trained, experienced mental health care professionals know how to help people effectively cope and manage ADHD, so they can live healthy, productive lives. 

Talkspace makes getting therapy convenient and affordable, removing some of the major barriers people experience with more traditional therapy. Learn more about how Talkspace can help your loved one live and cope with ADHD. 

See references

  • ADDitude.
  • ADHD Resource Center.
  • Understanding ADHD – CHADD.
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Teens: What You Need to Know.
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

The Best Ways to Support a Loved One With ADD: Wellness Road Psychology: Psychologists

The Best Ways to Support a Loved One With ADD: Wellness Road Psychology: Psychologists

Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Millions of adults and children in the United States are navigating life with attention deficit disorder (ADD), a neurodevelopmental difference that causes trouble concentrating, staying organized, completing tasks, and more. People with ADD who have supported are happier, more successful, and better adjusted.

You should treat someone with ADD with empathy and compassion, and hopefully, this is the way you treat everyone. This means stepping into someone else’s shoes with the goal of understanding their perspectives and feelings. Here we discuss some of the best ways to support a loved one with ADD.

Take a non-judgmental stance

Accepting your loved one is the best starting point for supporting them. Judging or criticizing a loved one with ADD causes significant harm. Hopefully, you know your loved one does not have a motivational problem, is not lazy, and cannot choose to be different.

People with ADD often have many experiences where they have been judged and can be especially sensitive to being judged. Practicing acceptance does not mean making excuses for inappropriate behavior. It means the willingness to experience your loved one as they are without trying to change them or wishing they were different.

Understand the symptoms of ADD

It’s important for anyone supporting a loved one with ADD to understand the true symptoms of ADD. Conflicting and misinformation can make it difficult to understand what is really going on in the brain of a loved one with ADD.

Speaking with a psychology professional is an excellent way to gain a deeper understanding of the symptoms of ADD and how these symptoms impact your loved one’s life. Joining a support group and reading related books are other excellent ways to understand the symptoms of ADD. 

The well-known symptoms of ADD, such as impulsivity and inattention fail to account for the complex set of symptoms that people with ADD must contend with. People with ADD have a difference in brain chemistry that impacts many areas of their lives.


Everyone with ADD has different needs. While ADD may cause symptoms commonly shared among people with ADD, it’s important to know that ADD affects everyone differently. You don’t have to play psychic and attempt to figure out what your loved one needs. 

One of the best ways to support a loved one with ADD is to ask them what they need. Perhaps your loved one just needs you to listen. Whatever your loved one needs, give them the space to communicate that with you.

Create a routine

ADD often makes it difficult to stay organized, but this doesn’t mean that your loved one cannot follow a plan. People with ADD often function better when there is structure. Creating a routine can add structure to help your loved one plan better.

Be an Advocate 

People with ADD need advocates in their corner to raise awareness, correct misunderstandings, and defend against mistreatment. ADD is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Advocating for your loved one to have accommodations when appropriate can really help your loved one feel accepted and function optimally.

Having supportive people in their corner reduces the risk of depression and anxiety in people living with ADD. Attending a session with a trained psychologist is one of the best ways to not only educate yourself about ADD but to support your loved one. 

At Wellness Road Psychology, Dr. Philip Glickman and life coach Jamie Karia offer a full range of effective treatments that can help your loved one feel and function at their best. To schedule an appointment, call our Brooklyn, or Dobbs Ferry New York office to speak with a helpful team member or book your request online.

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10 tips for overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder


10 tips to overcome Attention Deficit Disorder

May 30, 2017 33 987 views

Larisa Parfentyeva

Attention Deficit Disorder is considered a childhood disease in our society. But it is not so. Adults also suffer from this ailment, and sometimes ADD leads a person to prison, divorce, or life under a bridge. One man didn't pay taxes for eight years because he couldn't plan this business. One woman made a real garbage dump out of her house: she did not find time to clean. Many people have problems with self-organization. But people with ADD suffer from them especially acutely.

The book Why I Get Distracted proposes to fight illness with the help of structure. It is necessary to clearly plan your affairs and not deviate from what was planned. At this step, you may need the help of loved ones. It is better to talk as openly as possible with relatives, then it will be easier to organize yourself. How to structure your life? Write a to-do list. Then, for each activity, allocate the evening or morning of one day of the week.


Gradually, these responsibilities will become part of your life, and you will go to the gym, to meetings, do cleaning, cook, etc. - without overworking yourself. Here are ten more practical tips for managing ADD.

Do not forget that ADD is a disease

And a disease that is inherited. This is not your personal flaw, not a moral flaw and not some kind of neurosis. It's not a weakness or an inability to grow up. The origins of this syndrome are rooted in biology, not in weakness of character, remember this.

Educate yourself

The most powerful medicine is understanding what you have. Learn all about ADD. In this way, you can develop your own treatment that is suitable for your variant of the syndrome.

Separate ADD from other problems

Patients with ADD are, of course, not immune from conflicts at work and in the family. It is important to separate the syndrome from other problems and understand that the syndrome is not the source of all your troubles.

Find "your" place

Children and adults with ADD sometimes work successfully in strange circumstances. In a noisy room, on a train, wrapped in three blankets, listening to music. Allow yourself to work the way you like best.

Do two things at the same time

Often people with ADD need to do several things at once, otherwise nothing will work at all. You can knit and talk, take a shower and think about serious things, go for a run and plan a business meeting.


Do paperwork right away

Having received a document, a note, some written materials, try to do them right away. These little paperwork can become little nightmares on your desk or in your room. Make the agonizing decision to throw out something irrelevant, or fight the inertia and respond immediately. Whatever you do with a document, whenever possible, do it only once.

Divide big things into small ones

This is one of the simplest and most powerful structuring tools. A big deal suppresses the patient's imagination. The very thought of trying to fulfill it makes one turn away. But if a large whole is broken down into small parts, they may seem quite capable.

Set deadlines in different areas of life

Without deadlines, both work and social life can come to naught. So put deadlines everywhere. This applies to both work projects and meetings with friends.

Learn to Express Your Feelings

Many people with ADD, especially men, get frustrated and angry because they can't put their feelings into words. Practice and training will teach you this.


If you feel upset or overexcited, take a break. Take a walk, sleep, talk on the phone with a friend. And then life will get better!

Based on the books Maximum Concentration and Why I Get Distracted

how to learn to be in society? — Career on vc.


In Belarus and Russia, everything is not easy with the diagnosis, treatment and psychotherapy of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Drugs intended to treat ADHD are prohibited. There are no special psychotherapy programs in Russian aimed specifically at him. And there is a need for them. It is difficult for a person with ADHD to work for a long time in one place, to achieve goals, to be consistent, to solve the problems of life, it is difficult to be an adult.


In my article I will focus on several aspects of psychotherapy that can be focused on when overcoming ADHD.

Possibilities and limitations of psychotherapy

Researchers from Ukraine noted that the effectiveness of psychotherapy in reducing ADHD symptoms ranged from 15 to 30%. That's not a lot.

It is unlikely that distractibility will decrease, hyperactivity and impulsivity will disappear.

What can make a big difference for a person with ADHD working with a psychotherapist?

  • This will help him reduce anxiety, depressive symptoms.
  • He will learn to live in harmony with himself
  • He will seek and eventually find ways to help him work, communicate and live effectively.

What types of psychotherapy can help?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a protocol for treating ADHD, and its principles are great for "filtering" negative thoughts. And ADHD can have many of them.

There are suitable directions for the third wave of CBT - Acceptance and Responsibility Therapy (ACT), Compassion-Focused Therapy.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy also contains many techniques that will help: emotion recognition skills (especially good for those ADHD who have alexithymia), emotional regulation exercises, interpersonal communication training.

5 important principles of ADHD psychotherapy

  • Psychoeducation
  • Self-acceptance
  • Adaptation
  • Emotional regulation
  • Assertive communication


The client must know everything about ADHD and their symptoms, about what exacerbates them.

What distracts him? During which activities can he not concentrate, and which ones fascinate him for a long time? How does he react in situations where he did not get enough sleep or was overworked?

What other factors unsettle him?

What helps him, what harms him?


A person must learn to accept himself and his traits and not judge himself.

He is no worse than others, he has his own peculiarities. With these features, he can succeed in certain activities, and it is very important to find out in which ones.

Removing judgment is very important. When a person gets rid of self-flagellation and begins to concentrate on his strengths, he will begin to grow internally and achieve external success.

Some employers may not like this (they say, why would they accept it as inconvenient). But at the very beginning, self-criticism must be removed completely.


Important! Not adaptation to the world, they say, there are such conditions, and I have to adapt to them and be almost like everyone else. A search for conditions that are already suitable now.

For example, not a noisy open space, but a small office.

Not working in the office for 8 hours, but alternating indoor and outdoor activities.

Don't force yourself to do one task for three hours, but do two things at the same time for 40 minutes, switching every few minutes if it's comfortable.

If there are deadlines, choose for yourself the time, place, environment in which you can meet the deadlines.

Do not abuse coffee, alcohol and other substances to help yourself.

Emotional regulation

When emotions go off scale, a person cannot return to normal for a long time. Teaching him to regulate strong emotions will greatly help him communicate. For example, there is such an exercise Traffic light. A person evaluates his mood as red, yellow or green, depending on the degree of intensity of emotions. If red - he should not make important decisions and start important conversations.

Learn more