ADHD and managing as an adult

Adults with ADHD can sometimes experience challenges in their personal life due to the known symptoms of hyperactivity, poor organisational skills, distractibility, impulsivity, social problems etc. Being aware of these and putting strategies into place to manage your home life, work or college is essential. Many of the strategies that you have used through the secondary school years will still be appropriate but you will also need to consider some new ones to help manage the changes to your life and the associated responsibilities that you now have.


Many adults with ADHD may be lonely as they haven’t learned the social skills others expect them to have. It is assumed that adults can listen, they are polite, they have manners and conversation skills. As an adult you will commence tasks and follow through to completion and you can be given responsibilities and it is assumed they will fulfill them.

Most adults will be able to concentrate on a task and have impulse control. They understand that society has certain expectations of them and they abide by these. They get on with the job and see it through even if they may not like it.  Adults with ADHD may lack attention skills, have difficulty seeing others perspectives and often  may not have good control over their impulses.

So how do most people learn personal skills to help them manage life? Here a few things for you to consider that target your ADHD symptoms:

  • Train your attention- watch what others do and listen to what they say, watch their body language, look at what people wear for particular jobs and occasions
  • Be aware of your impulsivity- remember to think before you speak, don’t interrupt others, eagerness to be part of a conversation may mean you dominate the conversation so be aware of this
  • Hyperactivity- if you know that this is an issue for you, try to recognise your triggers or tolerance levels for things that require you to sit or to be inactive for periods of time. Build in breaks so you can manage this and gradually build your tolerance.
  • Organisational skills- checklists and schedules can help you organise your day to day routine at home and work. If you are studying and possibly managing a job and home life as well, then you need to organise your workload.
  • Communication- pay attention to others when they are talking, only share information that is appropriate for the conversation, stay on the topic and exit the conversation appropriately.

To be an accepted, happy, successful and a responsible adult with ADHD there are certain skills that need to be developed. The process will be ongoing due to the changing nature of expectations within families and workplaces. If you know that you have a further learning disability such as Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) or an Intellectual Disability(ID)  then there are further strategies to help you on this website.

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