Once you have been accurately diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), you can begin to explore ways to alleviate or even overcome your symptoms. This search should start with an experienced professional – most likely your physician. He or she can suggest coping mechanisms and changes that can immediately begin to improve your life.
Many people who suffer from ADD – especially adults who have gone their entire lives without treatment – also suffer from very low self-esteem. Their symptoms have caused them to fail in careers, relationships, financial matters and other areas of their life. A good jumping-off point for treatment is to find something you can be successful at so that you can immediately begin improving your self-confidence.
There are many lifestyle changes that can also help control the symptoms of ADD. For many with this disorder, stress and an overcomplicated life can greatly exacerbate the symptoms of ADD. Avoiding stressful situations and simplifying your schedule can be a great way to see positive results quickly. Also, talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise plan. The healthier your body is, the healthier your mind can be because it does not have to deal with physical ailments.
If lifestyle changes are not making enough of an impact – and for many, they don’t – then speak with your doctor about trying certain medications. There are many effective medications available by prescription and it is likely that you can find one that will alleviate at least some of your symptoms. If you experience side effects, discuss this with your doctor. Often side effects can be avoided by a change in diet, the timing of administering the medication or a change in dosage. You may also need to try a few different medications before you find one that is just right for you.
In the event that you do not want to treat your ADD with medication, there are some alternative treatments. Though many of these alternatives are not officially recognized as treatments for ADD, they have been known to work for some people. Sufficient research has not been performed for them to be approved. These alternatives include visual therapy, nutritional supplements, hypnotherapy, and neuro-biofeedback – a non-invasive way to record normal brain function and then change electrical activity patterns that may be impairing performance.
If medication, support groups, and lifestyle changes are not having the effects you desire, then personal coaching might be a good option for you. An ADD coach doesn’t need to be a therapist or have any special training, but he or she should be well-educated about ADD and have clear plans and coping mechanisms arranged for clients. You can pay a professional coach to help you or even rely on a trusted friend. However, if your ADD makes you irritable or angry, having a friend or family member as your coach can put a lot of strain on the relationship. So think carefully before you ask someone you know to be your coach.
In her book Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, Sari Solden lists three main areas where an ADD coach can be of assistance:
1. Help the client stay on track, priority and meet goals.
2. Give support in order to help you see your successes.
3. Help the client maintain systems and stay with you while you complete necessary tasks that you may find boring and repetitive.
Regardless of your symptoms or the degree to which you suffer from ADD, there are many options available to help you. If you start with a clear diagnosis and create a plan for treatment, you can begin to alleviate your symptoms. Just keep in mind that each ADD patient is unique and it may take some time to find exactly the right treatment(s) for you.
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