Professional Supports for ADHD in Adults
Different forms of psychotherapy can help adults manage the emotional issues and daily challenges of living with the disorder. Talk therapy, for example, can assist you with issues resulting from histories of underachievement, failure, academic problems, unsteady employment, and relationship difficulties. Discussing feelings from childhood involving low self-esteem, embarrassment and shame in a one-on-one setting can help you move forward and deal with resentment and criticism you may continue to experience. Talk therapy provides individuals with an outlet for the problems and negative feelings they may be experiencing. Having an understanding ear and receiving objective advice can also give you a new perspective on what you are going through.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered one of the most successful supports for adults with ADHD. CBT works to identify and challenge the negative beliefs and behaviors that cause difficulties in your life, such as poor time management, ineffective planning skills, and disorganization. Therapy assists individuals in changing a pessimistic outlook possibly caused by years of difficulties and unmet expectations into optimistic and realistic views. CBT also provides training in specific skills, such as reinforcing and shaping positive behavior.
A support group can offer invaluable opportunities to meet other adults who share similar struggles. There are groups organized through national advocacy organizations, as well as online groups. Members benefit from mutual support as they share the same thoughts and feelings others have and are experiencing. Informal education informs attendees/online participants with plenty of tips and suggestions.
Marriage therapy can help couples when one partner, or both, feel the relationship is suffering due to the deficiencies associated with ADHD. Counseling can educate the non-ADHD partner about the disorder, and help them to build empathy and realistic expectations of the other’s behavior. Couples learn to communicate better by repeating what each partner says and by being open and honest about what they are feeling. With better communication, partners can learn to really hear and understand each other's points of view. This new understanding can resolve conflicts over financial problems, forgotten commitments, household responsibilities, and impulsive decisions, in addition to preventing new conflicts from forming. Family therapy can help when children are involved and partners use different parenting techniques. Since a child with a parent with ADHD is more likely to have the disorder, family therapy can assist parents in maintaining the parent/child hierarchy and ensure that both parents remain on the same level as each other.
Behavioral coaches and professional organizers are not a replacement for therapy, but serve as additional supports to adults with ADHD. Coaches do not help adults with ADHD work through emotional issues as therapists do. Rather, they assist individuals on finding practical solutions to everyday problems. Behavioral coaches either meet you in your home or talk to you by phone to teach strategies for:
- setting priorities
- organizing your home and workplace
- maintaining motivation
- managing time and money
- dealing with procrastination
Finally, a professional organizer can improve daily life by:
- creating a schedule and teaching you how to stay on it
- lowering your stress created by clutter
- getting you organized and helping you maintain a system for paperwork and other belongings
- streamlining your workflow