Content reviewed and updated: 08/05/20
The Impact ADHD Can Have on Life
Life is a juggling act. On some days, the juggling act feels routine and manageable. On other days, however, attempting to balance everything going on can be exhausting, frustrating, or simply impossible.
For individuals with ADHD, life’s challenges are compounded. Pursuing a career, managing relationships, raising a family, and running a household are all demanding activities. The skills required to succeed in these areas—including concentration, memory, and organizational capabilities and the ability to remain calm, cool, and collected—are the same ones that those with ADHD struggle with.
The Impact of ADHD in Work Life
According to the practitioners at Ahead, a modern mental healthcare service, patients with ADHD express similar work frustrations every day.
“I am always late to work.”
“I am distracted during meetings and zone out without even realizing it.”
“I have a hard time prioritizing tasks. I’ll have 10 tasks on my plate and instead of completing 1, I’ll start another.”
“I can’t seem to make strides toward my goals.”
It is common for adults with ADHD to struggle with their careers. Some ADHD-related work issues, like difficulty maintaining focus during meetings, trouble organizing and prioritizing projects, and adhering to deadlines, are due to differences in how the brain functions. ADHD is biological, so simply trying to increase your IQ or practice willpower will not fix these kinds of issues in a lasting way. Rather, certain ADHD characteristics can be harnessed and molded to enhance one’s work. Passion, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and a constant flow of original ideas are common strengths associated with ADHD, and they are often considered assets by employers.
ADHD and Personal Life
To-do lists that never end, multiple schedules to accommodate, finances to manage, relationships to invest in emotionally—life at home can be just as challenging as life at work.
Consider social ties. Maintaining healthy relationships is one of the toughest jobs there is, and some ADHD symptoms such as mood swings, hypersensitivity, and low self-esteem can make it even trickier.
Spouses may feel burdened to organize and double-check on things, leaving the partner with ADHD feeling distrusted or inadequate.
In-laws may insinuate that ADHD is not real and that a person is just being lazy.
Friends may imply that people with ADHD are looking for an excuse for their actions.
New acquaintances may consider it rude when someone with ADHD interrupts a conversation, not realizing the underlying fear that thoughts may be forgotten if not expressed immediately.
Relationships also include those people have with themselves. People with ADHD may be disappointed and frustrated by their emotional outbursts or inability to be like everyone else. They may also feel guilty for not being who they want to be.
But just like ADHD characteristics can be used to better one’s work, they can also be used to build stronger relationships. An ADHD specialist can help people learn how.
Working with an ADHD Specialist
Healthy habits positively affect life at work and at home. Eating nutritious foods, getting adequate rest, and exercising regularly contribute to overall bodily health. When it comes to mental health, meditation and practicing mindfulness can help ease emotional chaos. Further, learning organizational skills and creating personalized routines can ultimately help people save time and avoid frustration. Providers with ADHD expertise can provide specialized guidance in these areas.
Many individuals with ADHD find working with a trained provider helpful. ADHD specialists understand the challenges associated with ADHD and can suggest actionable steps, prescribe appropriate medications, and recommend approaches that address a person’s unique concerns.
Getting Help for ADHD Does Not Need to be Difficult
If you feel stressed and discouraged by never-ending challenges at home, at work, or in your relationships, you are not alone.
If you are struggling with ADHD, or all signs in your life point to ADHD, getting help does not have to be difficult. Many practitioners are highly trained in diagnosing and providing ongoing treatment (both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic) for ADHD, as well as for related conditions such as anxiety and depression. Plus, telehealth appointments are becoming increasingly popular, allowing people to receive personalized, one-on-one care from the comfort of home.