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11 min read

How to Help Someone with ADHD

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: May 2, 2022

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

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When someone you know has ADHD, navigating how to support them can be a delicate balance. While you want to help them, you also want to respect their independence and avoid overstepping boundaries. It’s natural to wonder when and where to offer help without making them feel patronized or undermined.

Moreover, the level of assistance required varies depending on your relationship with the person. Supporting a colleague with ADHD calls for a different approach than supporting a spouse. However, regardless of your relationship, gaining a deeper understanding of the condition is crucial for effectively assisting someone with ADHD.

In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of supporting individuals with ADHD, providing valuable insights on how to be supportive without being overbearing. By familiarizing yourself with the challenges those with ADHD face and gaining a deeper understanding of this neurotype, you can offer meaningful support and encouragement. 

If you suspect someone close to you is grappling with ADHD, Klarity is here to help. Encourage them to reach out to us for a telehealth appointment, where they can discuss their condition with a licensed healthcare provider and explore suitable treatment options. With Klarity, they won’t have to worry about planning a commute or spending time in a waiting room—instead, they can receive professional medical guidance from the comfort and convenience of their own home. 

Find a provider and schedule the visit at the time you choose. We offer fast access to ADHD diagnosis and treatment services; no insurance is required.

Why wait to prioritize your mental health? Get started toward a happier, healthier life on Klarity now.

Overview of ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often begins in childhood and can afflict a person throughout their lifetime. It is characterized by an inability to concentrate, along with several other related symptoms. ADHD is said to occur in 4% to 5% of adults in the U.S., many of whom remain undiagnosed. If you’re wondering how to help someone with ADHD, it’s important to know whether they actually have the condition.

While they share some symptoms, adult ADHD differs from childhood ADHD and can be more difficult to diagnose.  While many of us exhibit a few of the symptoms of ADHD, those with the disorder often manifest most or all of the following:

  • Problems prioritizing tasks
  • Inability or trouble focusing on tasks
  • Disorganization
  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to effectively manage time
  • Trouble making and sticking to plans
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Extreme impatience
  • Quickness to anger/hot temper
  • Problems coping with stress

Why People with ADHD Need Help

ADHD in adulthood can be extremely difficult to manage. It can take a toll both in relationships and in professional lives. Many people with ADHD feel overwhelmed, so understanding their condition and reaching out to them can help considerably.

Helping an adult with ADHD is different than helping a child. Adults with ADHD can be deeply embarrassed by their symptoms, which complicates how you help them. In addition, many ADHD diagnoses are determined in childhood, so an adult may not be aware they have the disorder. ADHD is a confusing disorder, which is why afflicted adults can benefit from help.

7 Tips for Helping Someone with ADHD

1. Learn About ADHD

The best way to learn how to help someone with ADHD is to learn what you can about the disorder. Navigating life with ADHD can be extremely challenging, and finding someone who understands can be a great relief. Learning about ADHD puts you in a far better position to help.

2. Don’t Act Like a Parent

People with ADHD already have parents; they don’t need another. It’s best to meet them on equal ground, not from a position of authority (whether it’s intentional or not). Parenting those with ADHD can breed resentment and make them resistant to your help.

3. Understand Their Challenges

This goes hand in hand with learning about ADHD. While you learn how to help someone with ADHD, you learn the challenges they face on a daily basis. This allows you to better assist them with, if not overcoming, facing and coping with those challenges.

4. Avoid Minimizing Their ADHD

While you understand what someone with ADHD is going through, unless you have the disorder yourself, it can be a challenge to truly put yourself in their shoes. Don’t fall into the trap of saying “it’s not that bad” or, worse, “don’t be lazy.” Chances are it is that bad and that even while they are distracted, they’re working as hard as they can.

5. Help Them Develop a Routine

One of the symptoms of ADHD is disorganization, or trouble putting things in order. Another is poor time management. One of the best ways to help someone with ADHD is to help them build a solid routine. Work with them to plan their day. Celebrate success, even if it’s partial. Once established, a routine can help them with other symptoms of ADHD, such as forgetfulness.

6. Help Them Develop a Support Network 

You can’t be the only one. When you find other people in your partner or colleague’s life who are interested in learning how to help someone with ADHD, you’ve relieved yourself of some of the burden while increasing their chances of success. In addition, encourage them to reach out to and become part of local and virtual ADHD support groups. It helps them to know they’re not going through this alone, and they can benefit from the experiences of others who also deal with this disorder.

7. Encourage Them to Seek Help

People struggling with ADHD don’t have to do so alone. While you’re doing your best to help, your assistance in day-to-day life can’t take the place of that provided by a qualified therapist. Help your friend find a therapist, and encourage them to make and keep an appointment. Help remind them when it is, so they don’t miss it and potentially miss out on the help a practitioner experienced with ADHD can provide. Along with talk therapy, there are medications that can help reduce symptoms and allow people to live a normal life.

If you have ADHD, Klarity can help. Sign up today and schedule an appointment with providers in your state within 2 days.

How to Help Someone with ADHD and Anger Issues

People with ADHD often exhibit anger, often at those who are trying to help. Figuring out how to best help someone with ADHD involves understanding that they’re likely to get angry. Your assistance will best benefit them if you work to diffuse the situation.

Acknowledge Their Condition Is Real

The symptoms of ADHD can be misunderstood as something everybody goes through from time to time. The difference is that someone afflicted with ADHD doesn’t often feel relief from those symptoms. The first step in diffusing some of the frustration and anger associated with this disorder is simply validating their experience. Acknowledge that you know they’re suffering from ADHD, which is a real medical condition.

Help Them Identify Their Triggers

Knowing what triggers one’s anger is the first step in avoiding it. Help your partner or colleague identify what causes them to become angry. It could be something as simple as forgetting their keys that escalates their anger to include other people. Or they could be angry at themselves, which is counterproductive. Help them keep track of what causes their anger, then help them figure out how to avoid those situations.

Work with Them on Coping Strategies

Living with ADHD can be difficult. However, there are a number of coping strategies that make it less so. For example, you could help your partner or colleague learn to write down tasks, so they’re less likely to forget them.

Help Them Find Treatment

Proper treatment can make a world of difference to someone with ADHD and may be the best way to help them with their disorder. If they’re undergoing treatment and it’s not working, they may need to find a new therapist. If they’ve not had treatment, now is a good time to start. Help them find a therapist they’ll like, and help them remember to keep appointments. This could be a fresh start toward a manageable life.

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Supporting someone with ADHD may feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Klarity is here to help by connecting you with a licensed healthcare provider right from the comfort of your home.

Empower your friend or loved one to take the first step on their ADHD journey. Schedule an appointment today.

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