Adult ADHD? Here are 6 Coping Strategies That Actually Help

The Doctor Weighs In
5 min readAug 12, 2018


By Tracy Plunkett

Older individuals with ADHD are challenged because they’re expected to have gained control over their behaviors. Here are 6 coping strategies that actually help.

Children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. It is estimated that around 60 percent of the kids who have been diagnosed with this disorder continue to have symptoms well into their adult years. This means that around 4 percent of the US population is living with adult ADHD.

Of course, for an adult having to overcome ADHD symptoms, the experience can be rather different. Children with such issues tend to find more support from their parents, teachers, and people in authoritative roles. However, older individuals are expected to have gained some control over such behaviors and so disparities in performance and abilities aren’t as readily accepted.

Fortunately, there are a number of coping strategies that you can turn to. You can use these techniques in your daily life to control symptoms such as hyperactivity, lack of attention, and more. Here is a list of the most useful mechanisms:

1. Reduce Attention Problems by Utilizing Mindfulness Strategies

One of the main issues adults diagnosed with ADHD have is that they are unable to concentrate for long periods of time. Due to this, you may find it difficult to focus on tasks at work, especially when they are mundane or repetitive. A solution to this problem could be in the form of mindfulness meditation training.

The reason is that this type of training is all about bringing your focus to tasks or situation in the present. As such, it can prevent you from getting distracted help to focus your mind on the activity at hand. An experiment showed that many people who enrolled in this type of training were found to improve their attention capabilities. There was also a decrease in cognitive inhibition.

For the best results, it is advised that you seek guided mindfulness training. However, it does stand to reason that consistently practicing mindfulness techniques will result in an improved attention span as well.

2. Improve Organization by Staying Up-to-Date

Many people with ADHD can find rather difficult to be organized. As such, they will end up going to work without the necessary supplies and will find it difficult to locate things around the home when they need to. A simple way to deal with this is to write all chores, tasks, and activities, down. This way, there is no chance of you forgetting these details later on.

It isn’t enough to simply write it down, however. You need to make it a point to check your planner several times a day. This is why it is a good idea to use your phone or another digital device to make to-do lists. This way, you can set alarms that remind you to check on the list so that you can determine if you have made progress or not.

3. Create Distraction-Free Zones

With a limited attention span, even the minutest distractions can become difficult to ignore. This is why it is important for you to create spaces where you aren’t easily disturbed. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that what such a ‘zone’ should consist of changes from person to person.

For example, some people work best in silent areas with absolutely no stimuli to interrupt them. Others, though, find that silence itself is rather off-putting. In this case, some kind of ambient noise will help to create a distraction-free space. So, you should figure out what helps you to focus the most and to create such an environment for yourself.

You will also need to inform the people around you that you are constructing such a space. This way, they will know to approach you only if they really have to. This, too, will contribute to you being able to pay attention for a longer period of time.

4. Learn to Curb Your Hyperactivity

When you are at work or in a place that you have to stay still, your hyperactivity can be a disadvantage. This is why you should know how to deal with it so that it doesn’t become noticeable. In many cases, being able to relieve this need for movement with a small gesture can help, at least for a short while. You should find a smaller tool or toy that will allow you to keep your hands or fingers busy. This will help you expend any nervous energy that you may be feeling. Thus, you will find that it is easier for you to remain seated or in one position for an extended period of time.

5. Reigning in Your Impulsive Tendencies with Previously Established Routines

There are a number of ways that impulsivity can manifest. Unfortunately, one of the more prevalent ways is in the form of financial expenditure. As a result, you may find that you are spending a lot of money on items that you don’t need. Of course, your spontaneous behavior may also cause you to drop important tasks for something more pleasurable.

Well, the first thing that you will need to do is stop yourself from giving into your impulsions. One such technique is to engage in deep breathing. This acts as a form of relaxation which helps you to slow down your thinking. In turn, you will be able to reconsider your sudden inclinations and to focus on something more constructive.

Another tactic would also be to make it a bit more difficult for you to indulge in your impulsions. So, if you know that you have a tendency to go on shopping sprees, make it challenging for you to have quick access to a lot of money. This could mean avoiding signing up for credit cards or only leaving the house with a certain amount of cash each day.

6. Reward Yourself for Good Behavior

You will quite frequently have to deal with doing incredibly boring or uninspiring tasks. It is at these moments that you will find it difficult to concentrate and become easily distracted. In such situations, it can be helpful to create a type of reward for yourself, should you complete the tasks within a given amount of time.

The incentive doesn’t have to be all that great. Instead, let yourself listen to your favorite song after a certain amount of reading. Or, browse an interesting website after attending to a certain amount of work. This way, you will be providing yourself with some motivation to complete the activity.

These are all of the different coping strategies that are sure to come in useful for any adult diagnosed with ADHD. By combining these different techniques, you will find yourself even better equipped to deal with the various symptoms that may crop up.

Originally published at on August 12, 2018.



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