Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD) is one of the most common diagnoses.  The interesting thing is that it has many symptoms that are very similar to anxiety, depression and giftedness. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of you are experiencing, what makes them worse and what makes them better.  This will help your clinician better identify the underlying cause(s) of the symptoms.

Symptoms Checklist

Chronic lateness and forgetfulness Poor organization skills
Anxiety Procrastination
Low self-esteem Low frustration tolerance
Employment problems Chronic boredom
Frequently interrupts and has difficult wanting to speak Difficulty concentrating when reading
Difficulty controlling anger Mood swings/irritability
Impulsiveness Relationship problems
Substance abuse or addiction

Many famous and successful people have ADHD including: Will Smith, Justin Timberlake, Michael Phelps, Jim Carrey, Ty Pennington, Paris Hilton and Terry Bradshaw.

ADD/ADHD can impact your recovery in a lot of different ways.  You may have started using to help you deal with the ADD and feel more focused.  You may have had difficulty fitting in because of your impulsivity.  Or, you may have felt like a failure growing up because you were frequently in trouble in school, and your disorganization caused you to underachieve.  If this describes you, then you may need to talk with your doctor about proper medications to help you stay focused on life and your recovery.

As with all things, not everyone needs medication to deal with ADD.  Just be aware that some relapses may be caused if you have difficulty concentrating and not being impulsive. Do a daily inventory and ensure that there are significant others who can identify when you are being impulsive or inattentive.  Each person is different.  Only you and your doctor can decide the medication issue.


Activity: Things to Do if You Have ADD/ADHD or Anxiety Symptoms

There are several things you can do to improve your quality of life.  Remember if your doctor or therapist suggests something and it does not seem to work…speak up! You are the expert on you.

Take medications as directed, and tell your doctor about all supplements you are taking. Missing a dose, taking a dose late or taking two doses at once to catch up on missed doses can have negative consequences. If you are noticing side effects, talk with your doctor.  Many side effects can be successfully managed.  If you are having difficulty affording your medications, go to the pharmaceutical company’s website and look for the link for patient assistance.  Usually, it is just a matter of filling out a form and having your doctor fax it in.

Ensure you are getting adequate, quality sleep.  When you are tired, everything is harder to manage, including your symptoms.

  • In order to avoid being tired, I will:
  • Sleep is important to my recovery because when I am sleep deprived:

Train yourself to become more organized. Make lists of daily tasks (be reasonable!) and strive to complete them. Use a daily planner, leave notes for yourself and set your alarm clock to remind you of appointments.

  • To improve my organization, I will:
  • Organization is important to my recovery because:

Control impulsive behavior. If you have a tendency to do things you later regret, such as interrupting or getting angry at others, manage the impulse by counting to 10, or repeating your positive mantra (i.e. “I can handle this” or “It’s all good”).

  • To control my impulsive behaviors, I can:
  • My impulsive behaviors have caused me problems because…

Minimize distractions throughout the day. If you find yourself being distracted by loud music or the television, turn it off or use earplugs. Move yourself to a quieter location or ask others to help reduce distractions.  For some people distractions can be visual as well.  If you find your environment too cluttered or visually stimulating, close blinds, work at a desk facing a blank wall, clear your work surface of all but the most necessary things.

  • To reduce distractions at work I can:
  • To reduce distractions at home, I can:

Reducing distractions and being able to focus is important to my recovery because:

Find constructive outlets for excess energy. People with more nervous energy than others, need to have an outlet of some sort. A hobby or other pastime can be helpful.  For example, in the car, in a waiting room or in a meeting if I have to just “sit still” I feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin.  I usually bring my tablet or crochet to keep myself occupied.

  • My excess energy is a problem in these situations:
  • In order to deal with this I can:
  • Effectively managing my hyperactivity is important to my recovery because:

(Preview) Activity: My Plan for Dealing with My ADHD

For each symptom, identify examples of how this has been a symptom for you, and brainstorm 2 things you could do to fix the problem.
Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
• Examples of how this applies to me:
• Two things I can do to address it:
The rest of this activity is included in the workbook