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Written by:Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, MSW

Published On: July 19, 2022

Medically reviewed by: Cynthia V. Catchings, LCSW-S

Reviewed On: July 19, 2022

Updated On: June 13, 2023


Learning how to cope with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be challenging. Symptoms of ADHD— like lack of focus, disorganization, and impulsiveness — can make work and personal relationships difficult and affect your quality of life.

The good news is that while there isn’t a cure for ADHD, there are many things you can do to learn how to overcome ADHD symptoms.

Take a look at some of our tips on how to control ADHD so you can live life to its fullest.

Find Ways to Manage ADHD — ADHD Tips

Learning to manage ADHD can be instrumental in finding and maintaining healthy, productive relationships. Below are a few useful, practical tips that can help anyone who’s searching for ideas on how to deal with ADHD. 

“Once ADHD is recognized, it can be easy to feel defeated, anxious, or even self-conscious, but even the smallest steps towards management can help instill a feeling of control. Taking the time to find tools to organize and limit distractions in your working space and/or leaning on support for time management can all increase confidence when it feels like you’re struggling. A clinician can help you acknowledge what works rather than focusing on your barriers while helping you take cumulative steps towards personal goals.”

Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical, (LCSW-C), LICSW, MSW Elizabeth Keohan

Tips for staying organized

If you have ADHD and you struggle with organization, you’re not alone. Research shows that organizational impairment is very common for people living with ADHD.

Staying organized can help someone with ADHD remain focused so they don’t become distracted. Creating systems to keep your space orderly, whether it’s your desk or your bedroom, can be useful. Cubbies, baskets, calendars, and files are all excellent tools and strategies to put in place.

Having order around you not only helps you focus, but also reduces any stress that comes from feeling disorganized.

Tips for getting things accomplished

Getting things done is sometimes challenging for people with ADHD. It can be tempting to chase the next idea, task, or project, even if former obligations aren’t complete. Some tricks and tools that can help you remain focused and get things accomplished might include:

  • Using timers
  • Allotting a specific amount of time for each task
  • Giving yourself more time than might be needed
  • Learning to say “no” so you don’t have more tasks than you can reasonably finish

Tips for managing impulsive moments

Impulsive behavior is one more common symptom of ADHD. Learning how to deal with ADHD sometimes means figuring out how to control those impulses. One way to do this is by first taking care of yourself.

It’s amazing how far self care, a balanced diet, and a good night’s sleep can go in helping people learn how to cope with ADHD impulsivity. When you’re tired and hungry, you’re more likely to act impulsively — this can be true whether you have ADHD or not.

Another one of our top ADHD tips for managing impulsive moments is to give yourself a different outlet for your impulses. For example, instead of making a rude comment to a coworker, write down what you’re thinking in a journal.

Educate Yourself on ADHD

Educating yourself about ADHD can go a long way toward learning how to deal with adult ADHD symptoms. Knowing as much as possible about the signs and symptoms of any condition means you can begin to identify triggers that might be causing you to think or behave in a certain way.

There are a number of online resources to help you learn more about how to overcome ADHD symptoms. Some of our favorites include:

Develop a Healthy Daily Routine

Developing a healthy daily routine can be extremely effective for anyone who’s looking for ways to cope with ADHD. Order and routine in your life, both at work and at home, can help you focus and stay organized as you learn how to control ADHD.

Join an ADHD Support Group

A live or virtual support group can be another great way to learn how to deal with ADHD. Support groups work in large part because you surround yourself with others who are dealing with similar situations. You’ll learn from each other, but more importantly, you won’t feel so isolated.

Your mental health team should be able to recommend an ADHD support group in your area. If you live in a remote part of the country, or you’re unable to attend a support group meeting in person, there are several virtual groups that meet via Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype.

A great resource for finding these groups is the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) website.

Seek Therapy for ADHD

Therapy for ADHD, especially when used in combination with ADHD medication, can be particularly successful in helping people learn to cope with their ADHD symptoms. Below you’ll find some of the specific types of therapies for different types of ADHD that have proven to be more beneficial than others.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of therapy that’s very effective at treating ADHD. CBT focuses on teaching people with ADHD skills to navigate some of the life challenges that their condition presents. In addition, CBT also stresses ways to turn negative thoughts and behaviors into positive ones.

“Therapy is a great place to increase your self-awareness while delving into understanding your needs around inattention and executive functioning. Oftentimes, when stress is increased, it can feel impossible to take a step back from the daily challenges that impede your growth. Aligning with a professional, to enlist support and give yourself time to understand your triggers and barriers, can help you create a practical toolbox for life.”

Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical, (LCSW-C), LICSW, MSW Elizabeth Keohan

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

This type of therapy uses techniques such as mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises to break negative thought patterns that often plague people with ADHD. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be especially useful for people experiencing prolonged periods of depression and/or anxiety with their ADHD.

Family therapy and couples counseling

Since ADHD can affect parents and siblings, family therapy often helps the people closest to someone with ADHD as well. Additionally, couples counseling can equip partners with tools when dating someone with ADHD.Therapy can allow people to develop skills so they can support a family member, partner, or friend in treatment.  A collective approach to therapy can be a game-changer for everyone involved.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy is an excellent tool for anyone learning how to deal with adult ADHD. As the name implies, this type of therapy works on the premise that all behaviors are learned and, therefore, can be changed. Behavioral therapy seeks to do just that, gently, with the guidance of a trained and licensed therapist.

Play, music, and art therapies

Play therapy: Play therapy is generally used when children are learning how to manage ADHD. Here, a licensed therapist directs the play to allow a child to express feelings and emotions they might not otherwise know how to.

Music therapy: Creating music can be a great way to achieve several mental and physical health goals. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy can be effective in:

  • Alleviating pain
  • Managing stress
  • Enhancing memory
  • Expressing feelings

For those learning how to manage ADHD, music therapy might provide a way to organize their thoughts and express themselves in a coherent manner.

Art therapy: Similar to music therapy, art therapy encourages people dealing with ADHD to express themselves via drawing, painting, sculpting, or other forms of art.

Find ADHD Support

Dealing with ADHD doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Look for support from your mental health team, support groups, and online resources like the ones we mentioned above. Reach out to coworkers, friends, and family if you need help. You’ll likely be surprised at how willing they are to help once they better understand your situation.

If you’re looking for a therapist, Talkspace is an online therapy platform that simplifies the process of getting help. Our experienced therapists know how to provide the exact care you need, while you’re in the comfort of your own space, so you can manage your ADHD.

See References

Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, MSW

Licensed Talkspace Therapist, Elizabeth Keohan has enjoyed working with clients in communities from Washington DC through rural Maine over the course of her career. While she has worked extensively with those experiencing anxiety and depression, she embodies a unique comfort working with the bereaved. Elizabeth combines a compassionate, holistic approach with Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), to help clients counter their somatic response to stress, anxiety, mood, grief and loss.

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