First posted to this site on October 12th 2017
Yesterday I talked about medication as it is the most well-known form of treatment for ADHD. Notice that I said ‘treatment’ and not cure- there is no cure as ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition and is with us for our whole lives but early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD may help manage the symptoms more effectively.
There are additional treatments that may compliment medicine or act as an alternative, depending on the needs of the person and the environment they are in. Some entrepreneurs and famous people have said they do not take medication as it stifles their creativity, whereas those who have to function in a more ‘neurotypical’ environment, may struggle more than those who are in charge of their environment. Everyone is different and no two people with ADHD are the same, we all have different needs.
I have not tried all of these strategies, yet, I am quite time-poor and I cannot always commit to going to regular meetings. I do want to try more therapies in the future to see if they do help me.
I have compiled this list after reviewing websites that talk about different therapies and hearing recommendations from my ADHD family in support groups or online forums.
This list is not exhaustive- if you know of a really good therapy that I have not mentioned, please get in touch and tell me all about it!
Children and adults with ADHD could benefit from counselling. There are different kinds of counselling available and the type of counselling you choose would suit your needs or what is available near you. Some common types of counselling are:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: This form of counselling teaches children or adults behaviour-changing strategies and skills for dealing with difficult situations, this type of talking therapy does not deal with issues from your past but concentrates on issues that are going on in your life now and helps you break down problems in order to deal with them more effectively.
Psychotherapy: This therapy usually involves talking, but could use alternative methods such as; art, music, drama and movement. Psychotherapy can help you discuss feelings you have about yourself and other people, particularly family and those close to you.
Both therapies can be particularly effective if you or your child have other conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Family therapy: Sometimes living with us ADHDers can be stressful for parents and siblings and family therapy can help. The more you understand ADHD the more likely it is that there will be less confrontation and stress.
Training or Coaching
Coaching has been popular in America for a long time and it is only just beginning to catch on in the UK. A coach will discuss areas of your life that you find challenging and can help you find strategies for those situations. A coach differs from a Therapist in that they offer practical and structured advice to help you in your day to day tasks or more general living tasks e.g. they won’t pay your bills but will help you set up a system to pay them on time.
Parenting skills training: This helps parents come up with strategies to guide their child. It can help parents learn specific ways of talking to their child, playing and working with them to improve their attention. They aim to increase confidence in parents’ ability to help their child and improve their relationship.
Social skills training: This can help children with ADHD learn appropriate social behaviours through role play and aims to teach them how to act in social situations by learning how their behaviour affects others.
Social Stories are a popular way of doing this in schools where a story that is personalised to the child is made up to reflect on common situations that the child finds themselves in.
This is the method that has worked best for me. I went onto Facebook looking for ADHD pages in Scotland and eventually found a group that meet up locally, who are also linked to a group in another city. They meet once a month and unfortunately that clashes with another regular activity I do, but they also have a monthly walking group which I have been along to and really enjoyed.
Talking online or in person with other people who have ADHD is fantastic therapy. I am able to think of all the “quirks” or the challenges I have and ask other people if they have ever experienced them… and there is ALWAYS someone who has. When I talk to other people with ADHD I feel a little less alien in this world and it usually lifts my spirits for the rest of the day. Highly recommended.
Mindfulness is taking the world by storm as more and more providers appear and schools and workplaces offer classes. Mindfulness is a form of ancient meditation and is said to help with the stresses of modern living. Mindfulness is for everyone and not just for people with ADHD, but as ADHD is associated with anxiety, it may have a bigger impact if it helps to reduce that anxiety.
I’m going to dedicate two blogs later in the month to the lifestyle changes you can make around your home and space and the changes you can make in your personal life to help you cope with your ADHD symptoms and make your life less complicated, here are some of the areas I will be posting about:
- Following a regular schedule for meals and bedtime
- Keeping all areas of the home organized and uncluttered
- Avoiding distractions (TV, phones)
- Get rid of clutter in your home
- Sort through all unopened mail and bills and action any that need it- see Citizens Advice Bureau if needed
- Spend time organising the documents on your computer into folders so you can find them more easily
- Avoid situations that make you uncomfortable and overwhelm you
Exercise is good for everyone, not just people with ADHD. I have to confess, I do not get anywhere near enough as I should. I know some people with ADHD who swear by exercise and have hyper focused on it so much that the resulting benefits have allowed them to manage their ADHD without medication- I’ll definitely be investigating this further in another post.
There is a lot of information online about diets that will help with ADHD; getting rid of sugar, wheat, milk, eggs, food colourings, or food additives. People with ADHD (and everyone else) should eat a healthy, balanced diet and seek medical advice before cutting out foods.
There are probably plenty of other ways to help with ADHD, if you can think of any that I’ve missed out or that have helped you, please let me know and I’ll add them to a bonus post.
I find writing very therapeutic and always have, you are reading my blog after all. I have always written short stories, poems, essays or LONG stories to get things off my chest or find a way to work through my feelings. I’ve never really kept a diary, but I know many people the world over do and that helps them to be more comfortable.
As I said yesterday, medicine does not cure ADHD but it helps the symptoms of it, especially if you have to ‘fit in’ to a very neurotypical school or work environment, but medicine cannot offer you advice, relaxation techniques or help you meet like minded people, so exploring other therapies may be beneficial.
In school, it is important to remember that if a child is taking their ADHD medication, it hasn’t ‘fixed’ them, it has helped them to focus for the period of time that the medication is active for. Offering Mindfulness or social skills training could be very helpful for the child to feel more relaxed and settled in school.