See a doctor, get diagnosed, get treatment, get better. That’s how it goes for adults who find out they have ADHD, right?
Yes. Yes, it does. And afterwards, a pink elephant swings by the doctor’s office, scoops you up onto his flying, technicolor carpet and gives you a lift home to your mushroom mansion on cloud cuckoo land.
Here in the real world, it doesn’t work that way. Many places – especially rural areas, but even large urban centres – have few services for folks with ADHD, none the least adults. Getting diagnosed is often the easiest part, but even that can be tricky. What comes afterwards, though, can be logarithmic. As in – the problem can be solved, but few of us know how.
As October is International ADHD Awareness Month, I’d like to make help* more accessible for everyone. Surprisingly, some of the best help out there is location-independent – you can access it no matter where you live. If you have a telephone or internet connection, you’re golden.
To follow is a plethora of ADHD resources. I will explain what they’re about, who they are best suited to, and how you can access them and use them most effectively. It’s a pretty robust list, but don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t need to read this whole post. Skim the headings, find the sections that interest you, and come back to it later. And if you have a recommendation, please share it in the comments at the end. If suitable, I will revise this post and add it in.
Adult ADHD Coaching
I have a bias here. I am an Adult ADHD Coach, so of course it’s going to be the first resource I recommend. I became a coach because coaching changed my life. It gave me insight, awareness, and the power to make things different.
But what exactly is ADHD Coaching?
It is a unique relationship, like no other. You get to talk to someone who is intently interested in what you have to say, and whose entire aim is to help you move forward in life. Your coach has an adept sense of how to get the most out of you – to challenge limiting beliefs and help you design strategies for success. On top of this, he or she knows all about ADHD and what it’s like to struggle with it.
Where else could you get this kind of focused, strategic and supportive help?
The beauty of ADHD coaching is that you can access it from almost anywhere. You don’t need to find a coach in your community – most coaches work over the phone. Telephone coaching works brilliantly, sometimes better than face-to-face. My clients fit me around their busy lives. They call me on their lunch breaks, from the office, from a parking lot or the side of the road.
Telephone coaching works well for adults with ADHD because it minimizes hassle and maximizes time. You don’t have to drive to get it. You don’t have to find parking. You don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want to. (Though if you decide to do Skype coaching, it is recommended you at least put on a housecoat.)
If you want to know more about coaching, feel free to email me. This isn’t a sales pitch – I give free advice all the time. There are also a few coaching directories I can recommend. They will help you pick a coach based on particular attributes.
Here are those directories:
1. Totally ADD: http://totallyadd.com/coaching-directory-search/
2. Attention Deficit Disorder Coaching Academy: http://addca.com/adhd-coach-training/ADHD-Coaches/
ADDCA also does a great post on what to look for in a coach. Check it out here.
3. ADHD Coaches Organization: https://www.adhdcoaches.org/find-a-coach
Just a bit of advice as you do your search – shop around. A great coaching partnership is not just about a person’s credentials or their price. Coaching works best when the two of you gel. Whenever I get a call from a new client, I always encourage them to speak to a few other coaches as well. I want to make sure they find the coach that is the right fit for them.
There are many great videos that can help you understand your ADHD and teach you effective tools for managing it. These videos are stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking. And the beauty of them is that they take very little effort – just sit back, relax and enjoy.
I’m kidding about that last part. While the videos I am about to mention are completely enjoyable, you’ll only get as much out them as you put into them. Watch them attentively. Take notes. Do the exercises. Then watch them again and repeat. They are meant to change your life, so it’s only natural you take them more seriously than watching Netflix.
1. ADDcrusher.com – When Alan Brown says his videos (aimed at helping you CRUSH your ADHD) “kick the crap out of reading books”, he’s not kidding. Alan is just the kind of boot-camp-drill-sergeant I’d have on my team if I was embarking on siege to take my life back. It helps that he’s also a really great guy – entertaining, witty and very engaging. It’s his personal mission to help ADDers worldwide live up to their potential. I, for one, am glad he’s on our side.
Have a look at his Crusher video series or check out his newly launched Crusher TV series. They are like having a personal coach in your living room, on demand, whenever you need it. Here’s a little taster…
2. TotallyADD.com – No doubt, you’ve seen the PBS favourite “ADD & Loving It?!”. If you haven’t, you should check out the trailer.
Rick Green et al bring you solid information about ADHD – what it is and what it isn’t – as well as strategies for managing your life better, getting professional help, and just about any other ADHD-related topic you can think of. Bonus – they are funny. Like, spew-coffee-through-your-nose funny. You’ll be able to pay attention without much effort at all.
Check out the Totally ADD‘s online videos and their videos available for purchase. Also, have a look at their YouTube channel – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder why you haven’t watched these videos before now.
3. The CHADD National Resource on ADHD also has an array of webcasts in their “Ask the Expert Series”. Make sure to have a look around their website – they have a TON of other resources as well, including their Adult ADHD Toolkit.
Online/Distance Learning Classes
People don’t realize that effective help doesn’t have to come in the form of one-on-one conversations. Sometimes the first step to figuring out your challenges is to learn from others who have mastered their own.
1. ADDCA – The coaching academy I trained with offers two classes that are specifically designed to help you understand and manage your ADHD better: Simply ADHD and Personal Transformation. The classes are done via conference calls, and by participating you get a chance to connect with a skilled ADHD coach, as well as a cohort of people who “totally get it” when you say you feel like a light bulb has just switched on. Not sure if this is for you? Enroll for one of their free introductory teleclasses.
2. ADDclasses.com offers several web-based training opportunities specific to ADHD challenges. Check them out soon and you’ll still have time to register for their free online ADHD Expo (October 25 to October 31). ADHD Experts will share tips and strategies via video while you connect with other ADDers in the chat room.
3. ADDitude Magazine – ADDitude Online offers several webinars hosted by the field’s top experts, addressing your most common concerns.
4. ADHDMarriage.com – Offers two courses via telephone – both live and recorded – aimed at helping couple who experience the impact of ADHD on their marriage. The ADHD Effect In-Depth with Melissa Orlov not only improves your understanding of how ADHD affects the marriage for both spouses, it will give you concrete strategies for moving your relationship forward. Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship is a multi-week seminar that will provide you with tools and exercises to bring back “those lovin’ feelings.”
Podcasts are another great way to get more information and help for your ADHD. They don’t have the visually stimulating effect of videos, but sometimes that’s a bonus. You can listen to a podcast while you do other things. You know how we all love to multi-task. Now you can feel good about it, knowing you’re actually helping yourself while you play video games, put away your laundry, or pick your nose.
My recommended podcasts:
1. Attention Talk Radio – Hosted by Attention Coach Jeff Copper, Attention Talk Radio puts spotlight on how paying attention to your attention gets you unstuck. That’s a lot of attention.
2. ADDitude’s ADHD Experts Podcast – ADHD Experts answer questions posed by parents and adults with ADHD.
3. ADHD People – The Tom Nardone Show – An Enema of ADHD (Not necessarily aimed at tricks and tips, but the name says it all – you’re in for a cathartic experience. Have fun, you can thank me later.)
4. ADHD reWired – Hosted by therapist and coach Eric Tivers, reWired broadcasts interviews with real people living with ADHD, including entrepreneurs and professionals working within our tribe.
5. ADHD Support Talk Radio – Founder and Director of ADDClasses.com, Tara McGillicuddy, shares her expertise and interviews other experts in the field.
There is a lot to be gained from participating in a program with other people who understand what it’s like to have the challenges you do. I’ve often talked about how finding my tribe was one of the best things I ever did for my confidence. Since I’ve started talking to other people with ADHD, I’ve become a different person. I now belong to a tribe of incredible dreamers, visionaries, innovators and scatterbrains. We’re an awesome group, flaws and all, don’t you think?
1. Check out CHADD to see if there is a chapter local to you or have a look around your community for a support group. If you can’t find one, consider starting one. You’ll be surprized how many other adults like you will be glad you did. If you want to know how to start a support group, CHADD can be a great resource to get you started.
2. ADDforums.com – If you’d like some support from the comfort of your couch (as opposed to lying back on your shrink’s proverbial couch), check ADDforums. Post your question or concern and get feedback from other ADDers who have experienced the same dilemmas.
3. ADDconsults.com – Ladies only! A pioneer in the niche of women with ADHD, Terry Matlen’s ADDconsults.com hosts a forum area where women can connect with her and with other women living with ADHD.
Books on ADHD
Books are probably one of the most accessible yet underrated resources for ADHD. Books are great for helping you to get a new understanding of ADHD – not just its symptoms, but what it actually means to have ADHD and the skills necessary to thrive with it. They are also great because you can keep them to refer to later, as many of us will forget new tips and tricks.
They aren’t great for people who find it difficult to concentrate or have a hard time sitting still long enough to read them. If this is the case for you, you may want to check out my post How to Read Like a Pro and Enjoy It (Even if You Hate Reading). An even simpler tactic is to get an audio book that you can listen to while walking the dog, cleaning the house, or dance up a storm at Zumba. Okay, maybe not.
Here are my favourite ADHD books (these, of course, are just some of the many out there).
1. 10 Things I Hate about ADHD, Bryan Hutchinson – A great read to start with – especially if you’re not really looking to change things but just want to feel like someone else “gets it”. Reading it is like talking to a good friend about everything you’ve been through – the good, the bad, and the laugh-out-loud ugly. Bryan’s written a lot of other excellent books on ADHD and positive psychology related topics, check them out here.
2. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, Russell A. Barkley – From the world’s leading authority on ADHD, you will find step-by-step strategies for managing ADHD with exercises to build your skills.
3. You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo – Apart from having an awesome title, this seminal book on Adult ADHD provides moral support by articulating just what it’s like to have ADHD. It also offers practical advice to manage your symptoms and your life. (Audio Version Available)
4. The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals, Lidia Zylowska – Before you roll your eyes and groan at me for yet another mention of mindfulness, I promise you – I receive no kickbacks from the Buddha! The reason I tout mindfulness so much for us ADDers is because – IT REALLY WORKS. This book takes all the mystery out of meditation and illustrates how easy – but impactful – it can be. Plus, it comes with a CD to guide your attention training process.
5. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau – These ladies have compiled the best organization suggestions that are congruent with how an ADDer actually operates. (Audio Version Available)
6. More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD , Ari Tuckman – This foundational book outlines clearly the journey between getting diagnosed and transforming your life, and pays special attention to why some strategies work and others don’t.
7. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey – Driven to Distraction revolutionized a new understanding of Attention Deficit Disorder. It was the book that made me realize I had ADHD. In Delivered, the authors take that revolution to the 2.0 version by building a comprehensive guide to living successfully with ADHD. (Audio Version Available)
8. ADD Stole My Car Keys, Rick Green and Umesh Jain – My psychiatrist gave me this book a few years ago, and it was probably the best book he ever gave me (it was the only book he gave me). The way it is set up is very cool and very novel (and hey – don’t we all love cool, new things?). It gives parallel perspectives from both an ADDer (Rick Green of ADD & Loving It?! fame) and his psychiatrist. So it’s kind of like seeing a shrink, but not footing the bill. And … each chapter is very short (great for quick minds).
9. The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents, Nancy A. Ratey – This book teaches you how to take control and make real changes so that you can live your best possible life.
10. The Adult ADHD Tool Kit: Using CBT to Facilitate Coping Inside and Out, J. Russell Ramsay and Anthony L. Rostain – I’m a firm believer in the power of CBT (so much so, I did a post-grad in it!) – not just for ADDers, but for everyone with a pulse. One of the biggest problems ADHD folks face is the fact that the symptoms of ADHD can actually interfere with your ability to get help for ADHD. This user-friendly book doesn’t just teach you skills, it offers you tactics to help you apply the skills in your everyday life. .
11. The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child Paperback, Thom Hartmann – This is one of my all-time favourite books. Ever. It explores how our traits as ADDers have been very necessary in the evolution of society. It won’t change your ADHD. But it will make you feel a heck of a lot better about having it. That, to me, is worth more than a thousand hours of therapy.
12. Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload, Lucy Jo Palladino Ph.D. – Not specifically about ADHD, it does spend some time exploring attention challenges specific to ADDers. In addition, it is a wonderful read that demystifies the art of focusing and paying attention.
13. Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with Attention Deficit Disorder, Jacqueline Sinfield – I think we ADDers are magical creatures who could fly if only we knew how to tap into our strengths, kind of like unicorns who misplaced their horns. While this book won’t teach you to fly, Jacqueline does outline 11 simple steps to flourishing with ADHD. That’s better than flying.
14. Journeys Through ADDulthood: Discover a New Sense of Identity and Meaning with Attention Deficit Disorder, Sari Solden – A step-by-step guided journey through your adult ADHD mind. Buckle up – your going to bulldoze some road blocks.
15. The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, Melissa Orlov – This book goes beyond the scope of traditional marriage counseling and guides couple through the healing process of improving an ADHD-affected marriage. Also check out the author’s other book, co-authored with Nancie Kohlenberger, entitled: The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD.
Websites & Blogs
There are a gazillion great websites and blogs out there on ADHD and related topics – too many to add to this (already too-long) post. Each offers readers a unique take on what it takes to manage ADHD and thrive with it. Here are a dozen or so of my favourites (Apart from The Art of ADD of course!):
ADDerworld – Bryan Hutchinson’s positive take on ADHD
ADD Crusher (the blog) – Alan Brown’s ADD-Crushing Blog
Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada – Canada’s resource for ADHD
Cameron Gott – Unique perspective of the Global Creative and ADHD
ADDitude Magazine – THE Magazine for ADDers
ADHD From A to Zoe – A candid perspective of ADHD from accomplished author, Zoe Kessler. Check out her book by the same name too.
Dr. Kenny Handleman – Blog from a Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist specializing in ADHD
Dr. Hallowell – the “father” of modern ADHD awareness
Russell Barkley – the “other father” of modern ADHD awareness
ADD Consults – “The Queen of Distraction”, Terry Matlen, talks about women’s issues and mothering with ADHD
Untapped Brilliance – Jacqueline Sinfield helps you tap into your brilliant side
A Splintered Mind – Douglas Cootey tackles ADHD & Depression with “lots of humor and attitude”
ADHD and Marriage – Brought to you by ADHD Expert & Relationship Consultant Melissa Orlov in partnership with Dr. Ned Hallowell – this website offers information, connection & support for couples experiencing ADHD
Phew. That was exhausting, don’t you think? The ADHD in you probably thought this post would never end. The ADHD in me wants to quit right here – no conclusion, or wrap-up – it just wants me to bolt. But since I’m in control, not my ADHD, let me conclude this post saying one more thing:
You may feel alone in your search for self-assurance and a better life. You so aren’t. You may think you’ll never figure it out, never live your best life. You so will. You may think there’s no help out there for you to access. There so is!
I hope this list of ADHD resources has shown you that, at the very least, there is help for you – no matter where you live. Most of these resources have been created by the people, for the people – ADDers united. Reach out to these resources and reach out to each other.
This is ADHD Awareness Month but we need to be aware of ADHD every day of the year. I hope these resources will give you a good start. And again – if you have any more resources you’d like to add to this list, or great idea for a resource you’d like to see available – please share it in the comments below!