Advice for friend with possible ADHD

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    • #190545


      I’m after some advice…

      I have a friend at work (he’s 26) and I’m pretty certain he has ADHD. At first, I felt quite offended by how he reacted sometimes or that he didn’t like me. I’ve never met someone with ADHD before so someone else at work suggested he might have ADHD and I started reading up on it.

      He talks non stop sometimes like he’s driven by an engine and provides a commentary on everything, he seems to suffer with mood swings, has extremely low self esteem, low tolerance to frustration and finds it very difficult to regulate his emotions..when getting frustrated or under pressure at work, he sometimes starts kicking the office furniture and it seems very difficult for him to overcome this.

      Sometimes when we chat the conversation will be very short or sometimes very long depending on what we are talking about. When we text message he will often completely miss some of the questions or points that would need an answer and he would instead respond focussing on something else.

      I’ve never discussed whether he’s ever been diagnosed as I think he would tell me if he had (I don’t think he has). Would you advise I bring this up or just leave it? I wouldn’t want to offend him in anyway.

      The main piece of advice is how do I best support him? I try and give him words of encouragement to try and boost his confidence, like that he’s good at his job, he will find someone one day to date.

      The main thing is when he gets really frustrated and he starts getting angry or stressed and start kicking things. How do I best help him to calm him down? Last time I just listened and tried to calm him down but I’m not sure I did a good job.

      He’s a very smart and bright lad and is really funny but I’ve never had a friend quite like him. Sometimes the friendship seems a bit one sided but I have to remind myself that it’s just how he is.

    • #190578

      Hi Josh,
      I never considered that I had adhd until someone jokingly suggested it at work, at first I was a bit offended as I had misconceptions of what adhd was. A friend was diagnosed and again suggested I might have it so I started researching.
      It took me a while to look in to it and I’m really glad I did now as it has helped me explain a lot about how my brain works and how I react to situations.

      Your friend may already have had a diagnosis but might not want to share it with everyone due to the stigma that surrounds a diagnosis and misconceptions about it. If he doesn’t have a diagnosis suggest that it might be helpful if he spoke to his GP about it.

      I would talk to him when he is calm and not frustrated with work stuff. Just ask him how he is feeling and mention that he struggles with frustrations and talks a lot and ask if anyone has mentioned this before, he might say it’s new since starting this job or he may say I’ve always been like this. He maybe willing and open to have a conversation, just remind him that you’re his friend and you like him you’re just concerned about how he deals with things.

      Stick with him as a pal and reassure him that it isn’t criticism it’s concern. He may take the conversation well or he may be upset and distance himself, you have to understand that he is processing the information and adhd brains don’t react well to critisim and tbh most people don’t 😂 so just stick with him as a friend and support him best you can.

    • #190595

      I agree with Lottie. Stick with him because his reaction may be unpredictable.

    • #190605

      Thanks Lottie and infectionlion,

      Really useful. The more I read, the more I can have an understanding and awareness to be a good friend.

    • #190718
      Katy Perkins

      As with my personal struggle, you can only help someone who wants to be supported & is willing to receive that help from you. It can be challenging to watch someone you care about keep making the same mistakes, or experience negative consequences due to their ADHD. (
      If they are truly ready to adopt some systems & strategies for managing their symptoms, the place to start is to learn at least the basics about ADHD. There are excellent books & several podcasts devoted to adults with ADHD. Both you & your loved one could read and listen to them & talk about what you learned.
      The next step is to have a heart to heart about when & where they would like your help. Be aware of the potential for creating co-dependent dynamics where you are taking responsibility for managing his ADHD.
      The ideal outcome is that you feel good about your level of involvement & your ADHD friend feels empowered.

    • #190763

      Couldn’t agree more. This is a general fact of life; pushing someone into receiving help they don’t actually want can so easily backfire and cause a lot of misery all-round. It can even make things worse if subtance abuse is involved (the ‘I’ll show you’ effect).

      I also think it’s important for someone who knows a lot about ADHD (i.e. a medical professional) to have their say, as a layman’s diagnosis is rarely accurate. It is so easy to get an incorrect or even half-correct idea about a disorder like ADHD, make generalizations, and then jump to conclusions. Your friend may not have ADHD at all! The same thing happens with conditions like Schizophrenia. A lot of people think Schizophrenia is synonymous with having “split personalities”, when that often isn’t the case at all; the condition more often presents as an inability to stay on one train of thought (loose association), eratic movements, and disjointed speech. Laymen don’t diagnose people for a reason!

      You could try mentioning to your friend that they have some symptoms you believe to be common in people with ADHD, but to just proceed as though you have definitely correctly diagnosed him is most probably a mistake.

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