ADHD Adults

25 Essential Articles for Adults with ADHD

Manage your marriage, your treatment plan, your diet, your emotions, your sleep, your sex life, your career, your motivation, and everything in between with ADDitude’s most popular articles for adults with ADHD.

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Never Enough? Why ADHD Brains Crave Stimulation

By Ellen Littman, Ph.D.

“Generally, non-ADHD brains can self-regulate with relative confidence, and exercise an adequate amount of control over their behavior. ADHD brains do not adapt as easily; they have their own rules of engagement. They are motivated by their search for optimal stimulation, rather than by what others label as important. Their degree of arousal differs based on whether the request for attention comes from an internal desire or an external demand. The owners of these brains are not making conscious choices to ignore external demands, although it often appears that way.”

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ADHD and sleep advice for adults like this woman sleeping on her side in bed.
2 of 25

ADHD and Sleep Problems: This is Why You’re Always Tired

By William Dodson, M.D., LF-APA

ADHD does not go away at night; it affects individuals with ADHD 24 hours a day. While commonsensical on the surface, sleep disturbances caused by ADHD have only recently been supported by research. About 75% of all adults with ADHD have difficulty “shutting off my mind so I can fall asleep at night,” not to mention staying asleep and waking up in the morning. William Dodson, M.D., credits Thomas Brown as one of the first professionals to give serious attention to the problem of sleep in children and adolescents with ADHD.

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A man getting distracted by a smartphone and wondering "Why can't I focus?"
Smart phone alerts with speech bubbles from megaphone to distraction working businessman
3 of 25

12 Ways to Maintain Focus All Day Long

By Susan Lasky, M.A., BCC, SCAC

“Other people may find that, when the situation calls for it, they can ‘buckle down’ and force their brains to focus. For people with ADHD, the advice to ‘just focus’ is maddening; it simply can’t be done. You can’t force focus, but you can create an ideal environment — both physical and mental — for it to thrive. The key is working with (not against) your ADHD brain, and combining the specific factors that help your focus flourish.”

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Adderall dosage: Doctor holding pill bottle up to face with ADHD medication inside it
Doctor holding pill bottle up to face with ADHD medication inside it
4 of 25

8 ADHD Medication Fallacies That Persist: Optimal Adderall Dosage, Risks and Interactions, Side Effects & More

By Gina Pera

“Is there an optimal Adderall dosage for adults? Should your stimulant dosage change over time? What are the signs of an ineffective dose? With so many questions and misconceptions – even within the medical community – it’s critical for patients to research dosing for Adderall and other ADHD medications before using them to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD).”

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A doll with different faces showing how fast adhd emotions can change.
A doll with different faces showing how fast adhd emotions can change.
5 of 25

Exaggerated Emotions: How and Why ADHD Triggers Intense Feelings

By Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.

“Challenges with emotions start in the brain itself. Sometimes the working memory impairments of ADHD allow a momentary emotion to become too strong, flooding the brain with one intense emotion. At other times, the person with ADHD seems insensitive or unaware of the emotions of others. Brain connectivity networks carrying information related to emotion seem to be somewhat more limited in individuals with ADHD.”

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Statue of justice in front of legal books representing the legal right of people with ADHD
Statue of justice in front of legal books representing the legal right of people with ADHD
6 of 25

Is ADHD a Disability? Your Legal Rights at Work

By Carl Sherman, Ph.D.

The ADA is a federal law that protects adults with disabilities, including ADHD, from discrimination in the workplace. It also requires employers to establish reasonable accommodations. There are, however, a few important caveats. Here, we review the extent of disability protections and how the situation and size of a company can affect you.

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ADHD Relationships: Marrige and Friendship Help for Adults
ADHD Relationships: Marrige and Friendship Help for Adults
7 of 25

9 Ways ADHD May Strain Relationships

By Melissa Orlov

Mercurial temperaments and miscommunication in your relationship may be the result of under-managed ADHD symptoms. “Rediscovering romance and joy in your relationship again after years of hurt is a journey. Each partner works at reframing the challenges that ADHD introduces into their life. They work on systems and treatments for managing ADHD symptoms. And, one day, each finds that the good things about their partner are what they notice most. The rewards are worth it.”

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Why adults with ADHD crave sugar and carbs
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The ADHD-Dopamine Link: Why You Crave Sugar and Carbs

By Bob Seay and Nancy Ratey, Ed.M.

People with ADHD are chemically wired to seek more. Their brains produce lower levels of dopamine — a neurotransmitter and hormone responsible for feelings of reward and motivation. "Eating carbohydrates triggers a rush of dopamine in the brain," says John Ratey, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It's the drive for the feeling of satiety."

Learn how diet, exercise, and ADHD medication can help manage your cravings for a healthier body and mind.

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9 of 25

How to Practice Mindfulness for Emotional Resilience and Stress Reduction

By Mark Bertin, M.D.

"We often live in a state of distracted autopilot, not paying close attention to what we are hearing or doing in the moment. We get caught up in habit and reactivity, saying and responding as we typically do without intention. But there are concrete implications to not seeing what’s actually going on as it happens. With mindfulness, in contrast, you do your imperfect best to give moment-to-moment, unbiased, compassionate awareness to your life."

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For more tips on working with ADHD, take a look at:Don't Let ADHD Ruin Your Work Reputation!8 ADHD-Friendly JobsWanted: Career Confidence
10 of 25

16 Good Jobs for People with ADHD

By ADDitude Editors

Having ADHD should not prevent you from being happy and successful in the workplace. The key to career fulfillment? Lead with your strengths. Adults with ADHD are known for their empathy, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and hyperfocus. Why not capitalize on these natural skills? ADDitude editors curated this list of 16 jobs with you in mind — ADHD and all.

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Two golden wedding rings, symbolizing how ADHD affects relationships
Two gold rings, wedding rings, intertwined on white background
11 of 25

Married with ADHD: How Real Couples Make It Work

By Linda Roggli, PCC

ADDitude surveyed more than 700 people to find out how ADHD impacts marriage. Unsurprisingly, a resounding concern was the contrast that exists between partners. Communication breakdowns, forgetfulness, and roller coaster emotions cause great upheaval, they said, but a willingness to acknowledge these differences has brought many of these couples closer together.

“The ADHD partners we interviewed have taken big steps toward making their relationships work. But all of them still deal with it every day,” writes Linda Roggli, PCC. “What sets them apart is that they and their spouses/partners play with the cards they were dealt.”

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The ADHD brain
12 of 25

How CBT Dismantles ADHD Negativity: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Overview

By Carl Sherman, Ph.D., J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D., and Karen Barrow

Cognitive behavioral therapy — originally a treatment for mood disorders — seeks to change irrational thought patterns and improve the way a patient feels about themself, their abilities, and their future. “Most adults with ADHD say, ‘I know what I need to do, I just don’t do it,’”  writes Carl Sherman and J. Russell Ramsay. “Despite having plans for what they want or need to do, they do not carry them out. CBT focuses on adopting coping strategies, managing negative expectations and emotions, and unwinding behavioral patterns that interfere with the strategies.”

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An American flag patch on the shoulder of an U.S. Army soldier
13 of 25

Can You Join the Military with ADHD?

By Nathaly Pesantez

“Military service is an appealing and often successful career option for teens and young adults who thrive in high-energy situations, collaborate creatively with others, respond positively to clear expectations, and function best with structure. In many ways, it is an excellent fit for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — which makes the military’s restrictions on recruits with ADHD all the more frustrating.”

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14 of 25

The Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation

By Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D.

“I have been a therapist for 20 years, and lately I have seen more and more clients with ADHD reporting being gaslighted in their relationships and at their jobs,” writes Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. “One of the best defenses against gaslighting is to educate yourself about this kind of emotional abuse. Adults with ADHD may be more vulnerable to gaslighting due to issues with self-esteem, difficulty with past relationships, and feelings of guilt and shame. Know that there is hope, and you can rebuild your life after living with gaslighting for months or even years.”

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Sad woman covering face with mask expressing opposite emotion. Sad black girl. Impostor syndrome, hypocrisy, psychological problems, bipolar disorder. Illustration for poster, cover, mag.
15 of 25

Why ADHD Masking Is a Form of Self-Sabotage

By Sharon Saline, Psy.D., and ADDitude Editors

When masking, people with ADHD (and other conditions like autism) hide their symptoms from the outside world. According to research, masking can lead to under-reporting of symptoms and challenges and it can undermine diagnostic evaluations. “It may start off as a useful coping strategy but, over time, it often becomes tough to maintain, prevents people from sharing who they really are, and proves a much less effective tool in social or work situations,” writes Sharon Saline, Psy.D.

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Meditating to manage ADHD symptoms
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Forget the Lotus Position: How to Meditate — ADHD Style

By Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, B.S., A.C.T., SCAC

It’s hard to stop and smell the roses when you’re accustomed to running from one crisis to the next. Over time, the tendency to go, go, go becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Why? Having lots of fires to put out is stimulating for the ADHD brain.

“If you have spent a lifetime with a pinball machine in your brain, it is hard to imagine yourself peacefully sitting in the lotus position,” write Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. “The big secret, which nobody seems to clue those with ADHD in on, is that you don’t have to sit in the lotus position at all… you don’t even have to sit down to meditate or (thank God!) stop moving. You don’t need a mantra, a guru, or notes from your trek to India to do the meditation thing correctly.”

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dice showing many emotions
17 of 25

Why We Feel So Much — and Ways to Overcome It

By Alan P. Brown

ADHD challenges our ability to regulate emotions. It’s why we have outsized responses to insignificant setbacks. It’s why we struggle with frustration, impatience, anger, and excitability more than others. “We react to minor problems or annoyances as if they were DEFCON Level 1 threats,” writes Alan P. Brown. “The good news is that you can build some defenses and leverage against some of your strong emotions to shift your energy in the direction you want to go: forward.”

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18 of 25

What Is Integrative Medicine for ADHD? A Holistic Health & Wellness Guide

By Lidia Zylowska, M.D.

“Integrative medicine is growing in popularity because it’s a treatment approach that addresses symptoms and promotes general health and wellness. It considers the whole person and leverages all options — holistic thinking, complementary therapies, and conventional treatments — in devising a patient’s care plan.”

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Natural Remedies for ADHD Supplements Vitamins Foods
Close up of raspberries, a good food for people with ADHD using supplements, vitamins and diet to treat symptoms
19 of 25

10 Foods (and Supplements and Vitamins!) to Boost Your ADHD Brain

By ADDitude Editors

Poor nutrition can worsen ADHD symptoms in adults and children, but natural therapies — ranging from nutrition and vitamins and herbs and fish oil — can positively supplement your ADHD treatment plan. “Parents and adults see me either because the ADHD medication isn’t doing the job, or they want more improvement and can’t increase the dosage without increasing side effects,” says Richard Brown, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Here are 10 of the most popular natural ADHD remedies — and research findings for each.

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What Stops You From Starting?
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What Stops Me from Starting? Productivity Solutions for People with ADHD

By June Silny

“People with ADHD are masters at task avoidance. While waiting for inspiration, we eat, binge-watch, scroll through social media, and do other activities that soothe our aching soul. My distraction routine usually means a dash to the kitchen for cookies, chocolate, or coffee. Even while working on this article, I had already polished my nails, eaten a bag of chips, and checked my e-mail since starting to write earlier this morning. Eventually, I realize I’m trying to disguise the feeling of failure.”

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An adult ADHD woman who can't stop obsessing over negative thoughts and questions
An adult ADHD woman who can’t stop obsessing over negative thoughts and endless questions
21 of 25

ADHD and Obsessive Thoughts: How to Stop the Endless Analysis

By Beth Main

When it comes to obsessive thoughts, “just try harder” isn’t a solution. The harder people with ADHD try to ignore their obsessive thoughts, the more persistent these thoughts tend to become. With racing minds that are always turned on, it’s no wonder we’re prone to rumination. Instead of “trying harder,” Beth Main presents ideas that might work better.

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Spoon filled with fish oil capsules on burlap tablecloth, a good source of Omega 3 for people with ADHD
Spoon filled with fish oil capsules on burlap tablecloth, a good source of Omega 3 for people with ADHD
22 of 25

Omega 3s: The Ultimate (ADHD) Brain Food

By James M. Greenblatt, M.D., and Bill Gottlieb, CHC

“Just about every aspect of neurotransmission — the movement of information from brain cell to brain cell that supports every thought, emotion, and action — is affected by omega-3s. Omega-3s also protect the brain by decreasing low-grade inflammation, the chronic cellular fire that can singe brain cells. Bottom line: A deficiency of omega-3s is bad news for a child’s or adult’s brain. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet with a ratio of about 2 to 1 omega-6s to omega-3s. Today, we eat a diet with the ratio of 15 to 1. This double whammy — a barrage of omega-6s and a paucity of omega-3s — is a little-recognized factor in the symptoms of ADHD.”

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Two hands of adults with ADHD forming a heart shape as they work through their marriage problems.
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When ADHD Disrupts (and Ruins) the Romance

By Edward Hallowell, M.D.

“ADHD and sex: It’s a topic almost no one writes about, even though almost every adult with ADHD I’ve treated has had an ADHD-related sexual problem. One of the most common complaints is a lack of sexual intimacy. By this, I don’t mean no sex, but sex that doesn’t foster genuine emotional intimacy. Good sex is possible only if both partners in an ADHD marriage feel relaxed and playful — and are capable of shutting out the outside world to savor the moment. That isn’t easy for adults with ADHD.”

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Simple Elephant Planner for ADHD time management and organization
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8 Paper Planners That Will Change Your Life

By Elizabeth Broadbent

“No single app on the market can replace that gratifying feeling of writing down a task or appointment, assigning it a deadline, and then physically crossing it off,” writes Elizabeth Broadbent. “Something inside the ADHD brain lights up when we put pen to paper — that much we can (mostly) agree on.”

We asked ADDitude readers, “What products or apps do you use to manage your time?” The answer came back loud and clear: paper planners. These are your top picks.

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ADHD Family: Happy Mother with Her Child
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17 Things to Love About Your ADHD!

By ADDitude Editors

ADHD’s trademark hyperfocus comes in handy for scientists, writers, and artists who focus for hours on end. People with ADHD are astoundingly generous and ultra-motivated to please the people they care about. The most significant societal advances, like the invention of the lightbulb, were established after hundreds of failures and someone’s willingness to take risks. Yes, ADHD is something to be proud of, and there are endless examples to prove it.

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