ADD is not just a childhood condition. Millions of adult Americans suffer from it, mostly undiagnosed. Here’s how to keep it from running your life. (Click here to read more about what Adult ADD is and to determine if you have it.)
“The diagnosis becomes therapeutic through education,” writes Driven to Distraction author Edward Hallowell. “The more you know about the kind of mind you have — whether or not you call it ADD — the better able you will be to improve your life.”
Hallowell’s books are good places to begin learning more about ADD. You can also ask the healthcare professional who gives you a diagnosis to recommend books or support groups. Numerous Web sites, including the site for the Attention Deficit Disorder Association at www.add.org, offer support, resources and information.
It may also be helpful for your partner and family members to become familiar with some of the fundamental patterns, challenges and gifts associated with ADD. Hallowell notes that having an informed, compassionate partner tends to be a huge advantage for many adults with ADD.
Create systems to remind you.
“You want to create external reminders,” says Hallowell. For example, put a basket by the front door for your keys. Hang hooks by your front door for coats, scarves, umbrellas or whatever you carry with you. Utilize the built-in reminder systems in your computer or phone to alert you when it’s time to do a new task. “These are all necessary and helpful structural changes.”
At the Hallowell Center, coaches encourage to-do lists. Gina Masullo now carries a notebook with her at all times. “That way, when something pops into my head, I no longer have to act on it immediately,” she says. “I don’t get distracted and then not remember what I was doing before. It sounds so simple, but for me, keeping to-do lists has been life changing.” She even installed a white board in her shower. “It’s where a lot of ideas come to me, so I figured, why not?”