The person with ADHD has to learn to adjust expectations of themselves and others in their lives. The person knows they have ADHD and they know how it affects them mentally and emotionally. Therefore, they already know they’re not “perfect,” but they try to set the performance bar as if they are perfect. They set that bar just as high for family and friends. Adjusting expectations works because it takes pressure off the person and others -- they are less likely to become as frustrated because they know they’re going to make mistakes. Learn how to deal effectively with tantrums and meltdowns in people with ADHD -- teach what you learn to that person in your life.
Once they have learned to accept imperfection in themselves and others, they can start to develop different skills to help themselves handle frustrations that normally lead to a meltdown. For instance, if they lose their temper in long lines, they can adjust their schedule to get to the bank, store or gas station early in the day or at non-peak times, helping them to handle their business more quickly and with less frustration. Adjusting their schedule is a behavioral change and they are admitting that long lines add to the possibility of a meltdown. When they are able to avoid a tantrum trigger, they’re able to reduce the likelihood of a meltdown.
If they zone out during classes and meetings, they can find a cue that reminds them to re-focus. This can be a picture of a loved one or an item they want to buy when they have enough money. Simply clipping the photo into a binder provides a visual cue to turn their attention back to the boss or teacher. Visual reminders can help because they are a nonverbal reminder of what is important. The person is more likely to refocus when they see their reminder.
If the person loses patience and blows up at their children for forgetting to complete a chore or homework, especially if one of them also has ADHD, they can create a visual reminder for the children and write down chores or homework on a bulletin board. They have given their children a tool to use, which takes pressure off of them. Again, this is less pressure and so less chance for a meltdown.
It’s important for anyone to take time during the day to unwind, relax and release stress in a healthy way, even more so for someone with ADHD. This strategy (probably more than others) works because relaxation decreases the chance of a meltdown.