Living with ADHD

Adult ADHD: Help Family and Friends Understand

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Helping Family and Friends Understand ADHD

Relationships are often difficult when you live with ADHD. It may sometimes feel like your friends and family don’t really understand what it’s like to be you. It might feel like they blame you for your ADHD symptoms, and don’t understand how, exactly, ADHD affects you. 

ADHD is a difficult subject to talk about with loved ones. Here are 5 communication tips that can help you talk to your friends and family about what it’s like to live with ADHD.

Tell Them the Facts About ADHD

First, it’s important that you explain to your friends and family, to the best of your ability, the facts about ADHD. ADHD is still such a misunderstood condition, and adults with ADHD are often told, “But you don’t seem like you have ADHD.” If your friends and family are dubious of your ADHD diagnosis, this is a sign that they don’t truly understand what ADHD really is.

Explain to them that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that causes a deficit in executive function. You can lay out examples of how this affects you. If the science behind ADHD feels too complex for you to explain, guide your loved ones toward online resources like YouTube videos that accurately explain ADHD.

Explain in Small Info-Bytes

ADHD is a complex disorder with many different symptoms. While it’s important to explain the facts behind ADHD, trying to get your friends and family to understand everything about the disorder in one sitting is bound to lead to frustration for both sides.

Instead of trying to give a comprehensive lecture on everything there is to know about ADHD, you may find it more helpful to explain one facet of ADHD at a time. For example, maybe you can talk about hyperfocus one day, and impulsivity on another.

Invite Them to an Appointment

If you feel comfortable, invite your friend or family member to your next appointment with your psychiatrist, physician, or therapist. Often, medical professionals are able to explain things better than we can. And, for whatever reason, loved ones may be more willing to accept what your providers say as the truth.

Inviting your loved one to a medical appointment doesn’t mean that your provider will share everything you’ve ever talked about. You have a legal right to privacy. If you’re worried about this, talk to your provider. If there’s something specific that you don’t want them to share, let them know.

Point Out When ADHD Is Affecting You

Explaining the science of ADHD is one thing. But it may also be helpful for your loved ones to see how ADHD affects you in real-time. If ADHD starts affecting you while you’re with the person, point it out so that they’re able to witness an example.

For instance, you might lose your keys or your phone while you’re out with friends. Use this as an opportunity to explain how ADHD makes you forgetful. Remind them of the science of ADHD, like executive function deficit, and point out to them that this is what the science looks like in real life.

Don’t Blame Bad Behaviors on ADHD

If you consistently blame bad behaviors on your ADHD, then your friends and family may become less likely to try to understand and empathize with your condition. Instead of only talking about ADHD when something bad has happened, talk about it during a more neutral time.

Schedule a time to sit down with them and talk to your loved ones about ADHD. This shouldn’t be done as part of an apology, but simply to educate. When your loved ones aren’t feeling hurt by your actions, they may be more likely to listen.

Try to Be Patient

Understand that, for people who don’t live with ADHD, this disorder is very confusing and complex. For example, loved ones may not understand why you have such a hard time concentrating on certain tasks (like schoolwork) but not on others (like games). 

Try to be patient with them. This doesn’t mean that you need to excuse offensive things that they intentionally say or do about ADHD, but if they’re making an effort to learn and understand your condition, try to keep this in mind..

Get Trusted Online ADHD Treatment

At Focus Partners, we provide trustworthy and effective treatment services for adults living with ADHD. We are here to listen to you and empower you to unlock your full potential. Get started by taking our initial online ADHD assessment and find your focus now. Our team currently provides ADHD treatment services online in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and New York.

ADHD in Relationships: How You can Make it Work

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How Does ADHD Show Up in Relationships?

There’s no doubt about it: ADHD affects every area of your life, including your relationships. ADHD in relationships makes things difficult both for the people who live with ADHD and for the people who love them. 

But that doesn’t mean that your relationships are doomed to fail if you live with ADHD. There are ways to manage your symptoms, and communicate with your partner, to build a healthy and strong relationship that is long-lasting.

ADHD Symptoms that Affect Relationships

ADHD is a condition that causes symptoms like distractedness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. We often think about how these symptoms affect academic or work life. But the truth is that ADHD symptoms affect relationships just as much — and not always in a positive way. ADHD symptoms can cause frustration for both the person with ADHD and their partner.

Here’s how some specific ADHD symptoms can show up in relationships.

Distractedness and inattention

People with ADHD characteristically have a hard time paying attention and focusing. They are easily distracted, and their mind often wanders — especially during uninteresting tasks. This might cause their partner to feel like the person with ADHD is a bad listener or is never truly paying attention to them.

The partner might feel like the person with ADHD drifts off during conversations, even during conversations that are important to the relationship. It might seem like the person with ADHD prefers to look at their phone or watch whatever is on the TV than pay attention to their partner. This can leave the partner feeling unloved and neglected. In reality, it’s not that the person with ADHD doesn’t care — but their ADHD makes it very difficult for them to pay attention.

Impulsive outbursts

One symptom of ADHD, especially hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, is impulsivity. This symptom makes it difficult for people with ADHD to have self-control, especially if there are strong emotions involved.

Impulsivity could cause some people with ADHD to have angry or emotional outbursts. These outbursts could happen because the person with ADHD is frustrated or even just bored. People with ADHD can also sometimes talk without a filter, and blurt things out without thinking about how their words will affect their partner. These outbursts may be very hurtful to the partner, but the person with ADHD may not even remember what they were upset about 5 minutes later.


People with ADHD are usually forgetful. At work, this causes them to miss deadlines and forget about meetings. In relationships, this may lead them to forget special dates, like birthdays and anniversaries. It may also cause them to forget instructions — like what to pick up from the store — immediately after receiving them.

It’s no surprise that this is often very frustrating for the partners of people with ADHD. They may even feel like the person with ADHD simply chooses not to remember things because the relationship isn’t important to them. This isn’t the case, but it can be hard for the partner to understand how ADHD affects memory.


This isn’t always the case, but people with ADHD are often messy. They may use their car as a junk drawer, or leave spaces in their home completely disorganized. This can become a source of contention in a relationship, especially if the couple lives together. 

Partners of people with ADHD may feel like they’re always picking up after them. They may also feel the brunt of the responsibility for most household chores. This can cause resentment.

Lack of organization

ADHD makes it extremely difficult for people to organize, prioritize, and complete tasks. This may include household tasks like going grocery shopping and paying the bills on time.

This may leave the partner having to take responsibility for most of these tasks and make sure the household runs smoothly. Some partners may not mind this, but others might feel frustrated. Partners might feel like too much responsibility is on their shoulders, and that everything would fall apart if it wasn’t for their efforts.

This can also lead to a parent-child dynamic in the relationship that can make the partner with ADHD feel incompetent or infantilized. This may lead to the person with ADHD experiencing feelings of shame and guilt, and becoming resentful of their partner for being the one “in charge.”

Feeling misunderstood

On the other hand, from the ADHD partner’s side, it may feel like their partner (without ADHD) doesn’t have empathy for their disorder. For example, if their partner becomes upset with them after an ADHD outburst, they may feel like the partner isn’t trying hard enough to understand how ADHD affects them. This can lead to frustration and hurt feelings on both sides.

How to Build a Healthy Relationship with ADHD

Again, having ADHD doesn’t mean your relationships are doomed to fail. There are ways to build and sustain a healthy and happy relationship while living with ADHD. But usually, this takes effort on both sides.

Here are things that both partners can do to ensure a smooth and understanding relationship.

For the partner without ADHD

If you are the partner without ADHD, you can work on trying to understand, as much as possible, how ADHD affects your partner. Empathy is the ability to see the world through another person’s eyes. When you don’t live with ADHD, it’s hard to conceptualize what the world looks like through an ADHD lens. 

Studying and learning about ADHD and its symptoms may feel relieving to you, as it might explain many of the struggles that you have with your partner. Being familiar with the symptoms of ADHD can also help you to become more empathetic toward what your partner is going through and why they behave the way they do.

In addition, try to:

  • Stop being your partner’s “parent.” Encourage them to participate in household chores, and don’t take care of all of their tasks for them. This just builds resentment on both sides.
  • Don’t use personal attacks when it comes to ADHD symptoms (or anything else). For example, don’t label your partner with ADHD as “irresponsible” when what you mean to say is that their ADHD makes them forget their responsibilities.
  • Motivate your partner, and affirm their efforts. Understand that ADHD will make things difficult for them that may feel easy for you. Get rid of the mindset of, “That’s something that any ‘normal’ adult should be able to do.” 

For the partner with ADHD

If you are the partner with ADHD, the best thing you can do for your relationship is to get treatment. Having ADHD isn’t your fault, but you do have the responsibility to do something about it. ADHD is a chronic, but treatable, condition. Treatment won’t make it so that you no longer have ADHD, but it can make symptoms a lot easier to manage.

On top of getting treatment, also remember to:

  • Take responsibility for your actions, and apologize when ADHD has caused you to hurt your partner. Don’t divert attention away from the harm.
  • Learn about your own symptoms. When you notice how ADHD is affecting your relationship, you may feel more motivated to get help.
  • Don’t rely on your partner to take care of everything for you. While they can definitely help and support you, don’t turn them into your parent.

Online Adult ADHD Treatment with Focus Partners

Relationships for people with ADHD are harder than they need to be when the ADHD is untreated. Getting ADHD treatment is one of the best things you can do for both yourself and your relationship. There was nothing you could have done to prevent getting ADHD, but there are steps you can take, now, to make life easier.

Focus Partners provides online ADHD treatment services for adults, and we’re here to listen to you and help unlock the full power of your potential. Get started by taking our initial online ADHD assessment and find your focus now. Our team currently provides ADHD treatment services online in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and New York.

Adult ADHD: 6 Productivity Hacks to Get Things Done

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6 Productivity Hacks for Adults With ADHD

If you live with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then it’s no secret to you that this condition can make it exceptionally hard to stay productive at school or work. 

If you’re having a hard time staying productive at school or at work because of ADHD, then try these tips.

Set Realistic Goals

First of all, it’s important to understand that no one is productive 100% of the time — with or without ADHD. Add ADHD or other neurodivergence into the mix, and 100% productivity becomes even more unrealistic.

Set realistic goals when it comes to productivity. For example, it might not be realistic to try to be completely productive for 2 hours straight. You know yourself best — when do you start to burn out? If you know your maximum is 20 minutes, then set the timer for 20 minutes, and try to be productive for that time.

Setting realistic goals is also something that happens more internally, too. No amount of “life hacks” will make it so you don’t have ADHD. Be kind to yourself, and stop bullying yourself to be just as productive as colleagues who don’t live with this condition.

Try the Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro method is a popular productivity method both for people with ADHD and without it. Basically, a Pomodoro cycle is made up of a 25-minute focused session and a 5-minute break. After 4 Pomodoro cycles, you take a longer, 20-minute break. Easy, right?

25 minutes may not seem like very much, but when you string 4 Pomodoro cycles together, you’ve got almost 2 hours of focused work time. 

Feel free to adjust this method for your unique needs. For example, if 25 minutes is too long, then set the timer for less.

Break Tasks Up

Part of why it is so hard to be productive with ADHD is because of an executive function deficit, which makes it hard to organize and prioritize tasks. Often, people with ADHD look at a project that’s in front of them and think: “Where do I even start?”

If this sounds familiar to you, then try breaking up the project into smaller tasks. Work on each task as an individual project, and don’t worry about the rest of it. Just focus on finishing each small task. If you struggle with splitting big projects up, then ask a friend or an ADHD coach to help you.

Tackle Fun Tasks First

Usually, adults with ADHD don’t have a hard time being productive on anything whatsoever — it’s typically uninteresting, tedious, or repetitive tasks that are difficult to get done. But tasks that are fun or engaging may not be a problem whatsoever.

You can try to gain momentum with productivity by tackling the fun, easy tasks first. But remember to use this momentum by allowing it to motivate you to tackle the other, more boring tasks. Don’t stop! Otherwise, you may be left with a laundry list of tedious tasks that you’re too tired to complete.

Be Mindful of Your Work Space

ADHD causes distractibility, which means that the environment you work in may be more important for you than it is for other people. If you live with ADHD, that means that you need to choose your work environment carefully to make sure that distractions are kept to a minimum.

For example, try not to work in a place where there are a lot of different sounds, or use noise-canceling headphones if that’s unavoidable. Try not to have too many visual distractions around you; for example, working in the living room while your roommate watches a movie may not be the best idea.

By setting your office up for ADHD, you can set yourself up for success. A good office for productivity is ergonomically comfortable, includes different stations for different tasks, and is uncluttered.

Get Treatment for Your ADHD

Lastly, living with untreated ADHD is bound to make it more difficult to be productive. One of the best ways to boost your productivity when living with ADHD is to treat your ADHD symptoms themselves.

Stimulant medications help up to 80% of people who live with ADHD. Being productive becomes a lot easier when symptoms like inattention and restlessness are managed. Medication can help your brain focus, and make it easier for you to shift between tasks — effects that can give your productivity a boost.

Focus Partners provides online treatment for adults with ADHD, including medication management. We are here to listen to you and empower you to unlock your full potential. Get started by taking our initial online ADHD assessment and find your focus now. Our team currently provides online ADHD treatment to adults in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and New York.

Executive Function and ADHD: A Close Relationship

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Executive Function and ADHD

You’re staring at a blank document screen, watching the cursor blink. You have a paper due tomorrow, and you know you’d better start working on it. But somehow, it is impossible to actually start working.

Your brain feels stuck, as if there’s some kind of blockage preventing you from actually working. On top of that, it feels overwhelming to even know where to start. You become frustrated and slam your laptop shut.

Does this sound familiar? If you live with ADHD, these situations may happen because of an executive function deficit.

Executive functioning is an important set of brain functions that allows us to complete advanced tasks like working towards goals and sustaining attention. ADHD causes adults to have problems with executive functioning, which can make life difficult when the symptoms are left untreated.

So what is executive functioning, exactly, and what does ADHD have to do with it?

What Is Executive Functioning?

The term executive functioning refers to a set of cognitive processes and skills that allows us to make decisions, prioritize tasks, work toward goals, and more. These skills are a result of teamwork that happens between several different areas of the brain, but it’s the prefrontal cortex that’s primarily responsible for them. 

In some ways, executive functioning is like the CEO of the brain. Other parts of the brain help us do things like move our muscles in the way we want or to know when we’re in pain. But our executive functions are what allow us to plan, set goals, keep track of things, and see the big picture. Other brain functions can focus solely on what they are responsible for. Our “brain CEO” is able to oversee everything going on, prioritize, and make decisions accordingly.

Imagine a small child sitting in front of a piece of chocolate cake. The child is told, “Don’t eat this piece of cake. If this piece of cake is still here when I return in 5 minutes, you can have the cake and a popsicle.”

If the child hasn’t developed strong executive functions yet, they may eat the piece of cake that’s in front of them. Their “brain CEO” is absent, and they may react impulsively. Or they may not even remember what they were told — and simply eat the cake because it’s cake, and it’s in front of them.

Someone with strong executive function can see the big picture. They can have self-control and wait for the popsicle if they really want it. Or, they may think, “I don’t really like popsicles, and I’m starving now. It isn’t worth it to me to wait. I’ll just have the cake now.”

The point is that either way, their executive functioning allows them to remember the instructions, see the big picture, prioritize their needs, and make the best decision. 

Executive functioning skills can be divided into three main areas of brain function: 

  1. Working memory
  2. Flexible thinking
  3. Inhibitory control (or self-control).

Within those 3 broad areas, there are 6 essential executive functioning skills. These skills were identified by Dr. Thomas Brown, a researcher in the area of ADHD and executive functioning.

The 6 essential executive functioning skills that Dr. Brown identified include:

  1. Organizing, prioritizing, and activating for tasks
  2. Focusing, sustaining, and shifting attention to tasks
  3. Regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed
  4. Managing frustration and modulating emotions
  5. Utilizing working memory and accessing recall
  6. Monitoring and self-regulating action

There are certain conditions that cause some people to have impaired executive functioning. Some people, like people with ADHD or learning disabilities, are born with weak executive function. Others may develop a brain injury or disease that causes poor executive functioning later on in life.

Executive Function and ADHD are linked – what about other disorders?

ADHD is a common cause of poor executive functioning, but other disorders that affect these functions include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Neurocognitive diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

People who have poor executive functioning, like people with ADHD, have a difficult time prioritizing tasks and seeing the big picture. They may struggle with planning and problem-solving, or become overwhelmed when having to make important decisions.

How does ADHD affect executive functioning?

Neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, affect the brain’s executive functioning. In fact, many ADHD symptoms are simply a result of the way this disorder impairs executive functions. The relationship between ADHD and executive functioning is so closely related that we could have easily named ADHD executive function deficit disorder.

If you live with ADHD, you may have looked at the list of 6 executive functions above and recognized them right away. That’s because most people with ADHD struggle with all of these executive functioning skills. 

Working memory

Working memory is the executive function that allows you to recall both verbal and non-verbal information. One of the principal symptoms of adult ADHD is forgetfulness; if you live with ADHD, you already know this. Forgetfulness may lead you to misplace objects, miss deadlines, or forget about important dates and meetings. You might also forget instructions you are given almost immediately after hearing them.

This isn’t because you aren’t intelligent — it’s because of the way ADHD affects your executive functioning. Without access to working memory and recall, it can be extremely difficult for people with ADHD to remember things.

Organizing and prioritizing 

Organization is one of the main areas of struggle for people with ADHD. This can show up in both your mind and your physical space. Your home, office, or car might be messy and disorganized, and this might cause you to misplace things constantly.

But disorganization can also show up in tasks. Maybe you’ve had the experience that, when faced with a big project with multiple steps, you just can’t seem to figure out what to do first. 

This is an executive function deficit. You aren’t a “slob,” nor are you an unprofessional person.

Sustaining and shifting focus

Inattention and distractibility are key characteristics of ADHD. Typically, people with ADHD have a difficult time sustaining attention on one thing, especially if that thing is tedious or uninteresting.

But people with ADHD also experience hyperfocus, which is when their attention gets so locked onto one thing that you don’t notice anything else going on around you. This is because it’s also difficult for people with ADHD to regulate and shift their attention from one task to another.

Regulating effort and alertness

Many adults with ADHD experience daytime drowsiness. You might feel totally alert when you’re doing something that interests you, but be overwhelmed by sleepiness as soon as you need to complete a boring or tedious task. This may be related to an executive function deficit.

Even if you don’t experience drowsiness, you might find it challenging to sustain effort and keep working at something, especially if it bores you. For example, you might have a long-term goal of finishing a college paper. But you might have a hard time continuing to work on the paper, step by step, in order to reach that goal.

Regulating emotions

One symptom of adult ADHD that isn’t often talked about is impulsive emotional outbursts. Adults with ADHD tend to have a low tolerance for frustration and boredom. They also have a high level of impulsivity. This can cause them to have emotional outbursts when they’re angry or frustrated. Does this ever happen to you?

Having a hard time regulating emotions is caused by a deficit in executive function. You may not consider yourself to be a particularly emotional person, but still find it hard to contain your emotions when they come on. It might feel very difficult to use coping skills to calm yourself down.

Monitoring and self-regulating action

Being able to self-reflect, and motivate yourself to work toward your goals, is an essential executive functioning skill — one that many people with ADHD have a hard time with. You might know exactly what you want to achieve, and even have a clear understanding of what you need to do to get there — but somehow, you still can’t seem to force yourself to actually start working.

This might have caused other people in your life to label you as “lazy” or “wasting your potential.” In reality, that’s far from the case. But the executive function deficit that comes with ADHD makes it very hard to motivate yourself into action.

Trusted Online ADHD Treatment for Adults with Focus Partners

On top of the effects of the deficits themselves, having trouble with executive functioning often makes people with ADHD feel ashamed and embarrassed. They may feel like they’re not living up to their full potential, or that their peers are more accomplished than they are.

An executive function deficit does not make you stupid, lazy, or irresponsible. And with the right treatment, ADHD symptoms can become a lot easier to manage. Focus Partners can help with out telehealth-based online ADHD treatment for adults, and we’re here to listen to you and help unlock the full power of your potential. Get started by taking our initial online ADHD assessment and find your focus now. Our team currently provides ADHD treatment services online in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and New York.