TIPS ON THE MANAGEMENT OF ADULT ADD - Mood Management
Edward Hallowell, MD and John Ratey, MD have listed 50 tips or practical suggestions for the management of adult ADHD. These are non-medication suggestions. They are divided into four categories: 1)insight and education; 2)performance management; 3)mood management; and 4)interpersonal life.
1. Have structured "blow-out" time.
Set aside time every week to just "let go" safely. Pick an activity that you enjoy and let loose without getting into trouble.
2. Recharge your batteries
This is related to the above tip. On a daily basis, take some time out to recharge your batteries: take a nap, a bath or watch TV. Designate this time as special so as to make it guilt free.
3. Choose "good" helpful addictions
Such as exercise. Many ADHD adults get hooked on something. Make it something positive.
4. Understand mood changes
Rather than trying to figure out why you are in a bad mood or look for someone to blame, focus on learning to tolerate a bad mood. You know it will pass and by developing strategies, you can help it pass more quickly. Doing something different, such as getting involved in some new activity can help.
5. Recognize the ADHD mood cycle.
a. something ‘startles’ your psychological system, a change, a transition, a disappointment or even success. It can be quite trivial.
b. This startle is followed by a ‘mini-panic’ with a sudden loss of perspective. The world has been turned on its end.
c. You try to deal with this by obsessing over some part of the situation for hours, sometimes days or weeks.
6. Plan scenarios to deal with the inevitable ‘blahs.’
Have a list of friends you can call. Have some videos that can distract you. Have some access to exercise. Rehearse some pep talks for yourself. These are the ADD blues. They will pass, you will be okay.
7. Expect depression after success.
People with ADD often feel depressed after a big success. This is because the high stimulus of the challenge or preparation is over. The stimulus is gone and so depressed feelings emerge.
8. Learn symbols, slogans, sayings
These are short hand ways to label slip-ups, mistakes or mood swings. Such as, "Oops, there goes my ADD again." This is not an excuse but rather a way to avoid obsessing over your unconscious desire to sabotage yourself.
9. Use ‘time-outs’ as with children
When you are feeling overwhelmed or upset, give yourself a time out. Go away. Calm down.
10. Learn to advocate for yourself
Learn to get off the defensive and be appropriately assertive for what you need to be successful.
11. Avoid premature closure of a project, a conflict, a deal, or a conversation. Don’t "cut to the chase" too soon, even though you might want to.
12. Try to let the successful moment last.
Remember it. Train yourself to consciously and deliberately do this because you can easily forget your successes.
13. Remember that ADD usually includes a tendency to overfocus or hyperfocus at time.
This can be used constructively or destructively. Be aware of its destructive use: the tendency to obsess over some problem that you cannot let go.
14. Exercise vigorously and regularly
Schedule this into your life and stick to it. It helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way. It stimulates the hormonal and neurochemical system in a most therapeutic way and soothes and calms the body. Make it fun so you will stick with it over your lifetime.