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Insight into Adult ADHD Support Groups

written by: Genevieve Van Wyden • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 1/13/2011

Finding adult ADHD support groups that help the adult with ADHD face and deal with this disorder isn’t easy. Each person has unique needs and situations, making the selection decision crucial. This article goes into what the ADHD adult should look for.

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    Overview

    The adult with ADHD is overwhelmed by too much: stimulation, distractions, things to remember, responsibilities and life in general. While those without ADHD seem to be able to manage, the person with ADHD can’t seem to catch a break.

    Finding adult ADHD support groups and selecting one that feels like a good fit is the first step. The person with ADHD who participates in such a group will find that it helps to reduce the sense of “aloneness” and gives the adult the chance to learn new strategies.

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    Types of Adult ADHD Support Groups

    For the adult with ADHD getting ready to attend college classes, a good first stop is the Office of Disabled Student Services. It is sometimes found in the student counseling center, or it is affiliated with it. The director should specialize in learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD or both so students with ADHD can request and receive support services geared specifically to their needs. Campus support groups should provide assistance in earning to manage daily life, time and scheduling. [3]

    Other adult ADHD support groups includee those where group members are able to express how they feel to the group leader and other members. Because other adult members have had the same experiences, they will empathize and help each other figure out what happened and what the member could have done differently. Membership in a support group also helps to reduce the sense of “being alone” in dealing with ADHD. [1]

    A good support group encourages members to share coping strategies and ideas for success. These support groups are led by a mental health practitioner or therapist to ensure that each member receives support and that each session is productive. [1]

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    Typical Support Group Meeting

    A good support group for adults with ADHD is “almost” a necessity as these adults work to exert control over their condition and increase their ability to live a productive and successful life. [2]

    A “typical” support group meeting incorporates diverse members, with varying experiences and careers. Members should have access to educational materials, and a supportive attitude should be expressed by each group member.

    New members are introduced at the beginning of the meeting and the group leader, usually the therapist who moderates each meeting, discusses group business. He or she then asks a question to get discussion started regarding how each group member’s week has been; the question could be about successes and situations where a new coping strategy would have been useful. Group members brainstorm ideas for coping and help each other solve problems (dealing with situations, symptoms, family, children, co-workers or supervisors).

    Ideally, each group member should attend every meeting, but this is not always possible –– life gets in the way, such as illness, trips, classes, family issues or bad weather. While regular participation helps each adult deal more effectively with ADHD symptoms, membership is not endangered if an individual is unable to attend a few meetings. What may happen, however, is that the person may feel the lack of connection to other members if they miss a few sessions. Having a regular connection to others with ADHD helps to ground adults, enabling them to use their coping skills more effectively. [2]

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    Support Group Benefits for Adults with ADHD

    An effective adult ADHD support group helps members to share strategies they have used for success, and it reduces the ADHD adult's sense of isolation. The effective group allows members to express their thoughts and feelings –– and gain understanding from other members. [1]

    College students living away from home for the first time who participate in a support group on campus have a higher chance of academic success. Being plugged into the office of student disabilities or the student counseling center gives these young adults a chance to acclimatize to campus life in a healthier, controlled way. [3]

    Most of all, a good support group for adults with ADHD should make group members feel as if they have “come home.” Experiencing this level of comfort enables them to open up, discuss their ADHD issues and to be open to suggestions, support and gentle critiques. [2]

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    Finding an Appropriate Support Group

    Adult ADHD support groups are not “one size fits all” or even “one size fits most.” Personalities must mesh between group members and the therapists who run the groups. The adult with ADHD may need to visit more than one group before finding the one that fits their needs most closely. [2]

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    References

    [1] http://helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm Help Guide: Adult ADD/ADHD: Signs, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment

    [2] http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/c/97420/25113/finding-home Health Central: Finding Home

    [3] http://www.addvance.com/help/young_adults/support_assess.html ADDvance: Assessing College Support Services for Students With ADD (ADHD)