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5 ADHD Tips for Adults

  • Self-Check

  • Know Yourself

  • Assistance from Experts

  • Control Anxiety

  • Exercise

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is often thought of as a childhood problem, but children with ADHD grow into adults who have ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can disrupt a person’s ability to manage a successful career, to build relationships and to thrive personally.

It is estimated that about 60 percent of children with ADHD continue the disorder into adulthood. That means about eight million adults struggle with the issue. One of the important things people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should remember is that it is a disease with symptoms, and those symptoms do not define the person.

Medical intervention is one option for dealing with this disorder, but there are a lot of other tips for adults with ADHD. Here are five self-help tips for people with ADHD.

Tips for Adult ADHD: Self-Check

One of the skills affected by ADHD is the ability to pick up on behavioral cues, which is something that tips for adults with ADHD can help deal with. It’s possible that if you are an adult with ADHD, you may not always recognize things like antagonism or fear in others.

It may be difficult for you to pick up on signs that someone is angry or worried, and that means it may be difficult to de-escalate the situation before it gets worse. In some situations, this can lead to hurt feelings and relationship problems with those you are close to. It can also cause misunderstandings with acquaintances and strangers that you encounter. 

Be Aware of Your Feelings

Not only can it be hard to pick up on others’ feelings if you are an adult with ADHD, it can be hard to be aware of your own feelings. This is true of everyone, but it is more of an acute problem with adults who have ADHD. It can be easy, in the busy events of the day, to forget to be aware of how you are feeling.

Most people recognize the frustration that leads children with ADHD to “act out,” and that can be true of adults as well. Usually this is built up over time. One frustrating or anxiety-inducing event will not cause an outburst, but when multiple events happen one after the other, it can be too much. 

Check for Causes of FrustrationAn image of a frustrated lady for our srcticel with tips for adults with ADHD

In order to avoid getting to that point, and to help with managing adult ADHD, it is important for ADHD adults to self-check themselves several times a day. This is one of the most important ADHD tips for adults. Check to see if you are getting frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed, and check for the causes.

Some causes could include frustrating interactions with people, schedule or organization challenges, or other emotionally stressful situations. Frustration could also come from being dehydrated, overly tired, or hungry. It’s important to keep track of physical needs, as neglecting these can cause a lot of trouble. 

It can be easy to forget to check in on how you are feeling. However, for adults who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, it is an important step towards managing ADHD symptoms. Read on to find more tips for adult ADHD. 

Adult ADHD Tips: Know Yourself

To do a self-check, people with ADHD must know what is normal and comfortable for them. While the disorder can be difficult to live with regardless, there are certain situations that make it much, much worse. In the same way, there are some situations and habits that help alleviate symptoms, which is where ADHD tips for adults come in. What complicates this is that these are different for everyone. It is essential that adults with an ADHD diagnosis know what makes them feel better or worse, especially when it comes to ambient noise, light, and movement.

Bright Light vs. Low LightAn image of a young woman squinting at the light for our article on tipos for ADHD adults

Some people with the disorder can concentrate better when there is a lower light level. A condition called ADHD hypersensitivity can cause individuals to experience stimuli more intensely. This may include light, according to this article.

Extreme light sensitivity is known as photophobia and, while it is not limited to those with ADHD, it often does affect adults with AHDH. In addition, while fluorescent lighting can be harmful for anyone who is sensitive to light, it is particularly harmful for those with ADHD.

Many people with ADHD have trouble focusing when they are in settings with fluorescent lights; some report that fluorescent lighting negatively impacted their academic performance or gave them a disoriented feeling. With all these things considered, it’s important to know how light affects you.

If you are unaffected by light, you don’t need to worry about it. But if you are negatively affected by bright light, find a space to work in that does not have uncomfortably bright lights. The brightness of light is just one example of why it’s important to know yourself and what helps you–one of our tips for ADHD adults. 

Background Noise

Others are more comfortable when there is some background noise. This kind of noise, usually called white noise, can be any kind of soft background noise, such as a fan or very quiet ambient music. Some people use white noise to study or work, while others find it helps them go to sleep.

Research suggests, according to this article, that those with ADHD can complete tasks and concentrate better when white noise is playing, which makes this one of the best tips for adults with ADHD. While most studies concentrate on children, this is also true of adults.

If you have recieved an ADHD diagnosis, it might be worth trying; it is among the best tips for people with ADHD, regardless of age. Add some white noise to your workspace and see whether it helps you. There are several options for white noise. 

  • Create your own. You can use a fan or another noise-making appliance to create a background of white noise to help you focus better. 
  • Use YouTube. There are plenty of videos available with white noise, including classical music, ambient noise from weather, and other options.
  • Get an app. Apps such as White Noise offer plenty of options for white noise. You can choose from multiple background noises. These include rainforest sounds; rain and thunder sounds; sounds from appliances, like refrigerators, washers or dryers; and river or ocean sounds. There are typically a lot of options, and some apps offer the option of mixing the sounds to get a combination that works well for you.  

FidgetingAn image of a fidget toy for our article on adult ADHD

Many people find that sensory stimulation such as rolling or squeezing a “worry ball” while reading or working helps them maintain focus. This action can be calming for anyone but it is especially helpful for those with ADHD.

Does fidgeting help you focus? Then you might want to consider one of these fidget toys. These sensory stimlation toys aren’t just for kids. They’re for anyone who finds that keeping their hands busy while they work or read helps them to focus.

According to the article 5 Types of ADHD fidget toys, here are some ideas for fidget toys: 

  • Boinks! toys are plastic woven fidget toys. They can be squashed, rolled or made to spring into the air. They are also known as great cat toys. 
  • Koosh balls are tiny balls that have hundreds of little rubber fibers coming out. They have a unique feel to them, making them good for sensory stimulation. 
  • The slinky probably needs no introduction. It is basically a spring made of either metal or plastic, and it is often used for fidgeting or as a desk toy. 
  • Klicks toys are made of interlocking pieces of plastic. They can be fiddled with, made into different shapes, and generally played around with. 
  • Play dough or silly putty is another option for fidgeting, since they can be molded into any shape, or just squished over and over again. 

There are many, many more options for fidget toys that can help people with ADHD stay focused. If you are someone who needs to do something with your hands in order to focus, these toys are something to keep in mind. 

You can manipulate your environment to help you manage ADHD symptoms. This can be by examining the brightness of light in your surroundings.

How does your lighting affect your ability to focus? This could also be checking in on what level of ambient noise or white noise makes you comfortable. It could also involve looking out for toys or other objects to fidget with.

These things can be very inexpensive and uncomplicated to regulate, but there’s a good chance that they’re affecting you. Be sure to know what affects you and how you can change it, and you’re well on your way to managing ADHD symptoms in a new way. 

Tips for ADD: Assistance from Experts


According to an article in Psychology Today, up to 80 percent of adults with an ADHD diagnosis use medications to help them manage symptoms. Doctors, when giving professional medical advice, either prescribe stimulants or non-stimulants. These medications are thought to help regulate the level of dopamine in the system.

Medicating ADHD, while certainly helpful, does involve side effects like dry mouth, anxiety, cardiovascular issues and others.

Adults who take medications to manage symptoms of ADHD must take responsibility to get regular medical assessment of their progress. Stimulant medications include Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. They help to diminish distractibility and inattentiveness in those with ADHD. They accomplish this “by increasing the amount of neurotransmitters to the brain,” according to this article by choosingtherapy.com.

Non-stimulant medications include antidepressants and similar medications. Some examples are Strattera and Intuniv.  

Cognitive Behavioral TherapyHow Does Cognitive Therapy Differ From Applied Behavior Therapy?

Besides medication, there are other options for controlling ADHD symptoms, for those searching for tips for ADHD adults. Professionals that are able to help those with ADHD include behavior specialists and mental health professionals.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy that seeks to replace negative, harmful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking. It is somewhat similar to ABA for ADHD.

According to this article, cognitive behavior therapy can help people with ADHD in a variety of areas. It can help them with what is known as executive functions, which includes time management and organizational skills. This is often a difficult area for those with ADHD to master, so cognitive behavior therapy can be very helpful.

Another area in which cognitive behavior therapy can help is impulse control. Those with ADHD, including adults, can often be very impulsive, tending to act or speak without thinking it through first.

Cognitive behavior therapy can often help people with ADHD stop and think before acting. In addition, cognitive behaivor therapy can help manage stress. ADHD programs for adults are also available.

Professional Help

It is up to each individual what kind of professional help is most useful to them. Medication serves to correct symptoms in the short term and help to alleviate stress or other negative effects of ADHD. Cognitive behavior therapy, on the other hand, seeks to form habits that will then create less stressful situations.

Other areas to look into include ABA for ADHD programs for adults with ADHD and ABA therapy for ADHD. Several kinds of professional help may be a fit, depending on the person. It is important to consult a professional for help in deciding what works best for you. 

Tips for Adults with ADHD: Control AnxietyAn image of a planner for our articel with tips for ADHD

ADHD causes people to have difficulty with organizational skills. This might include organizing schedules, money, workspace, or other areas of life. This is problematic because disorder creates anxiety.

It is difficult to stay free of stress when everything seems to be in chaos. Unfortunately, just wishing that things would get better or wanting them to get better will not often fix organizational problems.

What is needed is a specific plan and specific tools. Physical reminders and organizational tools are invaluable. If you are an adult with ADHD, and you feel as if your life is in a constant state of disorganization, here are a few strategies to help. 

Planning Tools

Adults with an ADHD diagnosis need access to tools to help them maintain order in their lives and keep track of important tasks.

  • Daily planners are helpful.
  • So are calendars.
  • Technological tools such as phone reminders are good, too.

It may feel as if you have too many projects and it is hard to remember everything. Don’t just tell yourself mentally to remember something. Write it down! Then, as the event or deadline gets closer, you can check your calendar and know when it is happening and what you need to do to prepare. 

Organizational Tools

When it comes to physical objects, it is helpful to create special spaces for things that are used every day. Keys can be hung on a designated hook in a special place, a wallet can be put into a drawer, makeup can be kept in a special cabinet or in a basket.

Clutter can be eliminated from the environment. It’s just a matter of keeping track of things. Start with something small and go on from there. Make a habit of keeping your surroundings clutter-free; this will minimize distractions. 

Social Strategies

When it comes to socializing, adults who are going to be in stressful positions can and should plan ahead. They should strategize how they will deal with the anxiety or frustration caused by their ADHD. The simplest way to avoid being overwhelmed is to remove yourself from the situation, so it is a good thing to plan an “escape route.” 

Tips for ADHD Adults: ExerciseAn image of someone excercising for our article on ADHD in adults

Exercise uses up excess energy and relieves feelings of aggression. It also is thought to affect the dopamine level in the system, so it acts like a physical “medicine” without the side effects.

Exercise seems to calm and soothe both the body and the mind. A regular sleep/wake schedule is also important. 

Related Resource: 20 Most Affordable Online ABA Graduate Certificate Programs

These are a few of the strategies that can be used. There are others. Dealing with adult ADHD does not have to disrupt adult life, though it certainly makes it more challenging. There are many things people with ADHD can do to manage symptoms and thrive.

ABA Staff

October 2022