Non-Medicinal Ways to Cope With the Symptoms of ADHD
Medication is a resource that is often used to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and it can be very beneficial in some instances. However, some individuals may want to try incorporating different tools or skills into their lives instead of — or in addition to — taking medication.
There are various ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD that are worth noting, as they can result in an enhanced wellbeing and a better quality of life. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be going off ADHD meds, these are simply non-medicinal ways to help you cope.
Maintain Physical Wellness
Much can be said of living a healthy lifestyle, such as incorporating a balanced diet and adequate exercise, even if you do not live with the symptoms of ADHD. The foods we eat as well as our activity levels can have a direct impact on how we feel, which extends to every other area of life.
Diet and exercise may prove useful in managing symptoms such as focus and energy levels. Exercise can also be a good outlet for restlessness, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Some sufferers have also found many benefits in acupuncture for ADHD as a natural alternative treatment.
In addition to diet and exercise, sleep is an important aspect of physical wellness. A lack of sleep can exacerbate inattention and cause other symptoms to flare up, such as irritability, so it is important to get a good night’s rest.
It is also important to avoid substances that may aggravate symptoms, namely alcohol as well as certain drugs or medications, as they can have a significant impact on mood, behavior, and health. Those with ADHD are more susceptible to developing addictions, so it is important to mange the use of substances wisely.
Tackle Planning, Goal Setting, and Organization
It can be challenging for those with ADHD to plan and organize, particularly if you have difficulty with executive functions, which are cognitive skills that help us in areas such as decision-making and setting and accomplishing goals.
If you struggle with executive function issues, you may have trouble completing tasks, organizing, managing time, and planning, along with problems with attention and emotion regulation. This may also manifest in the form of physical disorganization, such as a cluttered home or workspace.
There are certain tools that may be useful aids when planning or organizing, such as using a paper or digital planner. Planners may help with managing goals and time, and keeping track of everything in day-to-day life. Writing down and purposefully setting goals can provide motivation to keep going.
If you use a digital planner, you can set reminders so you receive notifications. This may help with forgetfulness, or guide you if you get sidetracked.
In addition to keeping a planner, having a monthly calendar may prove useful so you have an overview of your month, allowing you to adequately plan your time and schedule tasks or appointments.
Corkboards are also a very useful tool for reminders and goal setting. They are versatile and come in a variety of sizes, and you can hang any lists or ideas you may have, in addition to reminders and other daily notes.
You may want to strike out any completed tasks rather than deleting or removing them. Seeing items marked off the list can provide a sense of accomplishment, which may be motivating.
Next page: educating yourself, attending therapy, and addressing your dysregulated attention.