How to Manage ADHD Effectively: 6 Fundamental Steps

ADHD Is Manageable!

That's the message of the new e-book by ImpactADHD, “ADHD in Reality: Practical Tips FROM Parents, FOR Parents” The book is a basic primer about living with and managing ADHD. It may not always be easy, but we maintain that there are steps you can take to help you Enjoy the Ride – of parenting or living with ADHD. So this week, we want to share an excerpt from our book, "Six Fundamental Steps to Effectively Managing ADHD.”

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1. Identification:

If you suspect something is going on with your child, you must seek an expert's advice to determine if there is a medical condition that needs to be addressed. Many adults choose not to seek out a diagnosis when they suspect ADHD is their primary challenge, but for children, outcomes are improved with early intervention. Whether or not you pursue a formal diagnosis from a psychiatrist or psychologist, it is important to start by acknowledging that there is something going on that needs to be addressed.

2. Education:

As this paper has touched upon, ADHD is much more complex than people assume. Only when you recognize that there is something causing challenging behaviors –that people with ADHD are not lazy, crazy or stupid –can you begin to effectively change problematic behaviors. According to Hallowell, “the enemy is ignorance and stigma.” There are a huge number of great resources for parents and kids. A selected list of materials is available in the Resources section.

3. Treatment:

Once you have educated yourself, decide what are the best first steps for you and your family in terms of treatment, and commit to a plan. Figure out what support you need to put that plan in place. Take the long view – management is a marathon, not a sprint. In all likelihood, you will try different approaches at different times and in varying combinations. There is no magic cure, and there is no right way to treat and manage ADHD.

4. Structure:

To best treat ADHD, says Hallowell, “we gotta get people to fall in love with structure!” There is nothing much more effective for ADHD than putting systems into place and learning to stick to them. While there are many ways to do this, Hallowell advises people with ADHD to: “team up with someone with structure and yield to it.” Of course, the challenge is getting people with ADHD to embrace the use of structure because it often does not feel natural at first.

5. Brain Chemistry and Self-Care:

Basic components of self-health, like eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep, can dramatically improve the management of ADHD because they have a direct and immediate impact on brain chemistry. Some people find huge benefits from rigorous exercise or eating a gluten-free diet or prescription medications. The critical focus here is to look at the body's metabolic system. Make changes to what you “put into your body” that take the chemistry of the brain into consideration

6. Coaching:

A coach believes in the strengths and possibilities of people with ADHD and encourages them (or their parents) to see resilience as a means to success. Coaches help people – adults and children — identify their own sources of motivation and begin to change the negative messages they tell themselves. Coaching can provide an accountability structure for people with ADHD (or their parents) to create a treatment plan and take action. At CHADD, a participant asked Dr. Hallowell, “How do you balance “riding the wave of creativity” with the “need for structure”? His response: “Get a Coach!”

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