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Adult ADD/ADHD – 5 Tips for Time Management

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder causes more significant impairment than difficulty with mental focus. ADD impairs executive functions including planning, strategizing, impulse control, emotional regulation, and organizational skills.

Time management includes the utilization of all of these skills and thus is often impaired in people with Adult ADD. Patients often miss deadlines, procrastinate, and are often chronically late to appointments and events. This obviously can take a toll on a career, relationships, and family.

Thus, in this newsletter, I am going to provide five tips you can use to help people with Adult ADD who are chronically late.


ADD often causes people to underestimate the time required for an activity or travel from point to point. When I mention this issue to people with Adult ADD, they often smile because it has been an issue their entire lives. Thus, I recommend multiplying their time estimates by three to build in a buffer against lateness.


Most people hate to wait, but people with Adult ADD find it even more intolerable. Thus, they often plan on arriving just in time to avoid waiting. I help people with Adult ADD recognize this tendency and to adopt a firm policy of arriving early. In order to reinforce this behavior, I encourage them to use the extra time to do something they enjoy such as reading a book, playing a video game, or catching up on emails.


For many people with Adult ADD, being late has become a life-long habit. Many expert in the field of change suggest that changing a habit takes twenty-one days of consistent behavior. Often, people I am helping will say that they will be on time for important appointments or projects but not for “important” activities. However, unless people adopt their new habit to all of their activities and projects, the chances of success are much lower. Thus, I encourage people with Adult ADD to treat all projects and appointments equally to change the habit of lateness.


Time management requires a significant amount of discipline. Often, people with Adult ADD have been frustrated in so many areas of their lives that they have given up on many challenges or exerting the extra discipline that many tasks require. Discipline requires practice. I encourage people with Adult ADD to practice discipline in multiple areas of their lives whether it is exercising five more minutes than usual, deciding not to drink that extra cup of coffee, or avoiding the internet for three consecutive hours. I have seen people with ADD improve their discipline in many areas of their lives, including time management.


People with ADD often pack their schedules without allotting time for travel or having a buffer zone. They often don’t have a schedule at all and just improvise. Thus, I encourage people with ADD to use a schedule each and every day of the week. The schedule should consistently include all meetings, projects and tasks as well as blocking out times when projects should be started or extra time to allow for travel. This often helps people with Adult ADD manage their time by improving planning and strategizing.

Please feel free to share these tips with your clients or patients with Adult ADD. Teaching people with Adult ADD time management strategies can make a significant impact on their overall functioning and quality of life

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Adult ADD & ADHD – Top 10 Myths

Adult ADD/ADHD is gaining recognition amongst professionals and society at large. It is perceived by many to be a new disorder, discovered or made up by psychiatrists in the last decade. Like most things we perceive of as being new, adult ADD and ADHD are subject to skepticism and myths. There is suspicion on many fronts that adult ADD/ADHD and even childhood ADD/ADHD is a made up disorder created by psychiatrists in association with pharmaceutical companies to sell a new type of drug. While skepticism and awareness are healthy ideals, in the case of adult ADD/ADHD this skepticism does not seem warranted. The symptoms are very real and wreak havoc in the lives of those with the disorder.

Adult ADD/ADHD has been present with us for much longer than many people aware. It is not a new disorder, but one that has only recently gained recognition amongst and been labeled by professionals. Most adults who have been diagnosed with the disorder are those who should have been diagnosed in childhood but were not. And while the symptoms and signs of adult ADD/ADHD are real to its sufferers and treatment has been proven to alleviate these symptoms the myths continue. So what are some of the most common myths surrounding the diagnosis do adult ADD and ADHD?

1. ADD/ADHD is a disorder of children. Adults can not have ADD/ADHD.

While it is more likely to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, adults can and do suffer from the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. Most people who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as adults already had the disorder as children, but were either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

2. Adults with ADD/ADHD simply need to lead more disciplined organized lives.

Adults with ADD/ADHD have tried to lead more disciplined and organized lives, but have failed. The medical disorder makes it difficult to impossible for adult sufferers to maintain the focus required to stay organized and on track.

3. ADHD symptoms can be overcome without intervention.

Some adults with ADD/ADHD find enough self help treatments to live an organized disciplined life. They create to do lists, take advantage of calendars and timers,and find other ways to organize their live. For many adults with ADD/ADHD these methods do not help and they need to seek help from physicians, personal organizers and counsellors.

4. ADHD is a made up disorder.

With the large number of children currently diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, parents and others are beginning to question whether ADD is even a real disorder. The symptoms that those diagnosed with the disorder endure and the effect these symptoms have on the lives of those with the disorder are very real.

5. People who seek medication for ADHD are really just drug seekers.

Ritalin has been and continues to be abused by adults who use the drug for a quick high. Some have compared its effect as almost cocaine like in adults who do not need the stimulant medication. Ritalin, though, is not usually prescribed to adults with ADD/ADHD. Longer lasting medications with a slower build up such as Concerta and Adderall are prescribed to adults. The effect of these medications are less intense than those of Ritalin so are not attractive to abusers.

6. Medication can cure ADHD.

Medications can help with the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD but are not a cure for the disorder.

7. You’re not hyperactive so you don’t have ADD.

Only adults diagnosed with ADHD deal with the hyperactivity component of the disorder. This symptom shows itself in signs such as restlessness and risk taking. Adults without hyperactivity are diagnosed with ADD rather than ADHD. These adults share almost all the same symptoms as those with ADHD, but are not as likely to be hyperactive and restless.

8. Children with ADD/ADHD always outgrow the disorder.

While many children do outgrow their ADD/ADHD symptoms a large number carry the disorder with them into adulthood. SOme who seem to have outgrown the disorder may simply have found useful coping methods that help them live their lives without professional intervention.

9. You can not lead a normal life with ADD

Most adults with ADD/ADHD function very well. Medical and other professional interventions have helped some, while many work with their ADD/ADHD personalities to create lives that are very compatible with the disorder.

10. Medications help all cases of adult ADHD

Medication is helpful in approximately 58% of cases. Some adults find a combination of medication along with ongoing support from a counsellor or other professional to be more helpful. Others find the side effects of medications to be intolerable and function better with the with the help of professional cognitive treatment, or self help methods.

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Tips for Finding Professionals who Understand Adult ADD

One of the biggest concerns that I hear from adults with ADD is that they can’t find a professional who really understands adult ADD. Many people begin with their primary care physician or go through their insurance company to try to get evaluated and/or treated for adult ADD. Some very lucky people do find great professionals on their first try but the majority of people sadly do not. Instead they become even more frustrated which often leads to them not getting any help for their ADD.

There are some ways to find professionals who actually “get adult ADD”:

Online Listings: There are some websites with listings of professionals who treat adults with ADD. ADDA, the World’s Leading Adult AD/HD Organization has a growing Professional Directory of people who treat adults with ADD. ADD Consults, the First And Only Virtual Online AD/HD Clinic also has a professional directory. In addition to the professional directory, Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW also offers consultations in which she can help people find professionals.

ADD Coaches: In addition to all of the other benefits people can get from working with an ADD Coach they can also get help locating professionals who can diagnose and help treat them. Many ADD Coaches network with other ADD Professionals around the country and the world.

Word of Mouth: Try to locate other Adults with ADD who live locally. Many ADD Professionals who do understand adult ADD don’t advertise their services. Many don’t need to because they get plenty of referrals by word of mouth. Joining local ADD Support Groups is a great ways to not only get support but get recommendations for professionals who can diagnose and treat Adults with ADD. Adult ADD Meetups are similar to support groups and their Adult ADD Meetup Website allow for people to communicate with other local adults with ADD.

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