ADHD: Tips to Try

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ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition. It affects how well people can sit still, focus, and pay attention.

If you have ADHD, you know it can make you feel misunderstood and frustrated at times. But it doesn’t have to hold you back. Instead, learn as much as you can about it.

There’s no quick fix for ADHD. But working with doctors and counselors can help you figure out how to reach your full potential — both in school and socially. It’s important to treat ADHD, which might mean taking medicine or working with therapists or counselors — most people with ADHD do both.

And you can try these tips to help with school and relationships:

  • Sit in the front of class to limit distractions.
  • Turn off email, instant messaging, and your phone when doing homework or other tasks that require focused attention. This will help protect you against being distracted.
  • Talk with your teacher about your ADHD and work together to be sure you’re learning in a way that works for you. For example, some schools will allow extra time for students with ADHD to take tests. Some teens may benefit from smaller class sizes and tutoring help.
  • Use tools that help you stay organized. For example, keep track of assignments in a homework notebook, including a list of books and readings you’ll need to bring home to do. Write down classes and other appointments in a daily planner or on your smartphone so you don’t forget.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Studies are starting to show that exercise can help people who have ADHD. If you feel hyper during school, talk to a teacher about taking activity breaks so you can stay focused and concentrate better when in class. Take activity breaks often while studying or doing homework.
  • Practice relaxation and meditation techniques to relax and focus.
  • Let friends know what’s going on. Sometimes we blurt things out and regret it later on. Or we do silly, impulsive things. If this happens to you, let your friends know that sometimes you say things without thinking them through. Apologize if you have hurt someone’s feelings and try to be extra careful in new situations.
  • Take pride in the things you do well. Having ADHD is just a different way of being, and people with ADHD have their own abilities and talents.

Reviewed by: Shirin Hasan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2014