As a recently diagnosed adult — a newly-minted Distractoid* taking step one on the path to becoming a Master of Distraction (MOD) — how do you cut through the fog of fuzzy information — and misinformation — and get a handle on how to handle having ADHD? MODS say stick to the fundamentals — the proven methods, backed by experience and research, for improving your life. Second, MODS know they need both short-term and long-term strategies.
Thing One: Rejoice and Grieve. Take a deep breath and know that it might take a while to process the two sides of getting a diagnosis: 1) the relief and hope you experience when you finally get an explanation for what’s been secretly undermining your life, and 2) the grief you might feel over living all those years in Distractoid darkness
Thing Two: Education. MODS frequently point to education as the single biggest factor in getting to a better life. For now, try to avoid the minefield of the web, where Google searches summon the good, the bad, and the ugly with equal efficiency. Books — and audio books — by Dr. Edward (Ned) Hallowell and Dr. Russell A. Barkley are good places to start. Go for the most recent titles in this rapidly evolving field.
Thing Three: Medication. Strongly consider medication — even if you have qualms or have heard negative stories. This forum is too narrow to address in depth this overly fraught subject. There are a lot of F-F’s — Fake Factoids — out there in this area. My opinion: for many adults with ADHD, the potential benefits of medication outweigh the risks of undertreated ADHD: risks such as being fired from your job, separation and divorce, abuse of (much worse) substances like alcohol and street drugs, incarceration, crushing debt, and early death due to accident or neglect.
Thing Four: Smart Therapy. ADHD Specific and Action not Talk: MODS know talk therapy for ADHD is just talk. Effective ADHD professionals are action-oriented and know how to see your life through an “ADHD lens.” Coaching by a trained ADHD Coach or Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with ample ADHD experience are good ways to go.
Thing Five: Baby Your Brain. Sleep, Exercise, and Diet matter. As part of your ADHD education, learn how to take care of your brain by eating well, sleeping better, and improving diet.
Thing Six: For Now Avoid New and Novel: For now, stick to the basics on the list, and avoid alternative treatments like brain-training, brain scans, neurofeedback, diets that make big promises or seem too good to be true — and probably hundreds of other similar schemes you might find on the web. I’m not saying they have no value nor am I discrediting alternatives. My point is that you have enough to think about already, as well as proven, fact-based actions to take first.
Thing Seven: ADHD — The Short and Long of It
MODS know that ADHD is a lifelong condition that shows up in different ways as we move through the different phases of life. MODS also know that Distractoids are naturally prone to focus on the here and now and be blind to what lies farther down the road. Make a conscious effort to see that ADHD has both immediate and long-term consequences, and that short term relief and lifelong success are not the same animal.
Factoid — facts and information relevant to Distractoids
Distractoid — a person living with untreated or undertreated ADHD
Master of Distraction (MOD) — a person who has learned to live in tune with, not against, ADHD