Living with ADHD

Life doesn’t come with a handbook. These tips may be helpful for getting organized, minimizing distractions, and dealing with daily tasks.
  • Ideas for Getting Organized at Home

    Ideas for Getting Organized at Home

    Be realistic.
    If you know you can't wipe down every cabinet in your kitchen, for example, choose the ones that need the most attention and focus only on those. 

    Organize at home with a "launch pad."
    Identify a table or bookshelf near the door you enter to your house as your "launch pad" or "landing pad." Put a container or basket there to catch keys, glasses, papers, wallets, and other important items. Pocketbooks, brief cases, backpacks, and papers can be stored there to help provide a smooth take-off in the morning.

    Try the 10-minute pickup.
    Each night try to spend 10 minutes quickly going through the house seeing how many items you can pick up and put away. Set a timer. Take a bag, basket, or container and go through the house picking up items and dropping them off where they belong. 

  • Ideas for Minimizing Distractions at Work

    Ideas for Minimizing Distractions at Work

    While at your desk, minimize distractions.
    Keep only what you're working on out in front of you, and get clutter off your desk. 

    Repeat to remember.
    Repeat back what someone has said. This may help you remember multi-step instructions at work. It may also help you remember what your friend said, and they will feel like you are listening.

    Focus on one task.
    This may help you get started on a project you've been putting off. Set a timer for 15 minutes. If you can't continue the project after 15 minutes, stop, give yourself a break, and finish later. 

    Delegate!
    If you can afford to hire people to help you do things like yard work and housecleaning, do it!

    Use prompts as helpful reminders.
    Prompts can help you remember to do something or say something. Types of prompts can be visual (a post-it note), verbal (someone telling you to be quiet), physical (a vibrating phone alarm), or a gesture (someone pointing to their nose). 

  • Ideas for Managing College Life

    Ideas for Managing College Life

    Ask for help when you need it.
    Don't be afraid to get support. Many schools offer resources to help students with disabilities, such as ADHD. Check out your school's disability support program to see what is available. Help can vary and so can the names of the programs. The office may be called RDS—Resources for Disabled Students. It may also be referred to as Office of Student Disability Services, Student Support Services, Services to Students with Disabilities, or Disability Services Office. 

    Technology can help.
    Time management is important in college. Fortunately, there are a number of computer and portable electronic programs and devices that may help you organize your schedule and keep track of classes, assignments, projects, and grades. Electronic reminders can also come in handy in college.

    Discover your learning style.
    Studying in a way that comes naturally to you may benefit you in college. For instance, some students are auditory learners. This means they learn best when they hear material. For auditory learners, recorded lectures may help. Other students are visual learners—they might remember best what they see. Highlighting key words or phrases helps visual learners with memorizing material. Others may learn by a hands-on approach. It's important to find what works best for you.

    Know that you have options.
    Common help that may make it easier for you to study, take notes, and do other tasks in college can include early registration, waived/modified placement exams, using (free) note-takers in class, free tutoring, additional time on assignments or tests, and extra time with professors. Help may vary from school to school and student to student. Check with your student disability support office to find out what services are available at your school.

    Check out professors before signing up for classes.
    A website like www.ratemyprofessors.com may help you decide if a professor matches your needs. Professors can vary in their acceptance and understanding of ADHD. The staff at your support services provider may also be helpful in the course selection process and with identifying professors who have worked well with students with ADHD in the past. 

    A class syllabus is essential.
    A syllabus will have information on schedules, assignments, and due dates for a particular class. Think of the syllabus as the ultimate guide to your class. The syllabus is usually handed out on the first day of class and may be posted online. You will be responsible for the information in the syllabus and any changes the professor makes to it. It helps to capture the important dates from the syllabus and put them in a planner to keep track of your schedule.

    Carry a 3-hole punch with you.
    Get one that is small enough to bring to class or fits into your notebook and use it with a 3-ring binder. That way when you're given papers you can file them immediately. Resist the urge to do it later; that is often how papers get lost. Practicing this tip can help with organization.

    Divide and conquer.
    Divide reading assignments into small chunks. The more difficult the reading material, the more time you might need to devote to it. Determine what you can read in one study session and then divide the material into manageable reading periods.

    New homes.
    Identify new homes for your important items. Find specific places for room keys, your wallet or pocketbook, and your cell phone in your new living space. You might even want to mark the new homes to help you remember. 

    Set daily and weekly goals. 

    Try to plan and record daily and weekly goals for studying and working on assignments and projects. Consider breaking down projects or assignments into smaller, more manageable chunks and including these on your schedule to get things done. 

  • Tips for seeking support

    Seeking Support

    Observe others.
    You may be able to learn a great deal by watching others do what you need to learn to do. Try selecting "models" in the workplace or in your personal life. 

    Identify a supportive friend or your spouse to serve as your volunteer coach.
    Review and discuss your steps and goals with your coach. Hopefully, your volunteer coach will help monitor your progress and provide support along the way. 

  • Talking with Loved Ones About Your ADHD

    Talking with Loved Ones About Your ADHD

    Define your action plan.
    Start by learning all you can about ADHD. This overview/refresher gives you the facts you need to begin a discussion.

    Do you want to talk to another adult about their ADHD symptoms?
    If you are concerned about a friend, spouse, or family member with possible ADHD symptoms, you might wonder how to best approach the subject. It can be a difficult issue to talk about. Encourage them to discuss ADHD with their doctor. Have them review the What Is ADHD? page and the Doctor Discussion Guide to prepare for their discussion with the doctor.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Vyvanse® is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Vyvanse in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Vyvanse may harm others, and is against the law.

Vyvanse is a stimulant medicine. Tell the doctor if you or your child have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs.

Who should not take Vyvanse?

Do not take Vyvanse if you or your child is:

  • taking or has taken an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within the past 14 days.
  • sensitive or allergic to, or had a reaction to other stimulant medicines.

Problems that can occur while taking Vyvanse. Tell the doctor:

  • if you or your child have heart problems or heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems. This is important because sudden death has occurred in people with heart problems or defects, and sudden death, stroke and heart attack have happened in adults. Since increases in blood pressure and heart rate may occur, the doctor should regularly check these during treatment. Call the doctor right away if you or your child have any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.
  • if you or your child have mental problems, or a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. This is important because new or worsening behavior and thought problems or bipolar illness may occur. New symptoms such as seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not true, being suspicious, or having new manic symptoms may occur. Call the doctor right away if there are any new or worsening mental symptoms during treatment.
  • if you or your child have circulation problems in fingers and toes (peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon). Fingers or toes may feel numb, cool, painful, sensitive to temperature and/or change color from pale, to blue, to red. Call the doctor right away if any signs of unexplained wounds appear on fingers or toes while taking Vyvanse.
  • if your child is having slowing of growth (height and weight); Vyvanse may cause this serious side effect. Your child should have his or her height and weight checked often while taking Vyvanse. The doctor may stop treatment if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • if you or your child are pregnant, breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant or breast-feed.

What are possible side effects of Vyvanse?

The most common side effects of Vyvanse reported in ADHD studies include:

    • anxiety
    • decreased appetite
    • diarrhea
    • dizziness
    • dry mouth
    • irritability
    • loss of appetite
    • nausea
    • trouble sleeping
    • upper stomach pain
    • vomiting
    • weight loss

The most common side effects of Vyvanse reported in studies of adults with moderate to severe B.E.D. include:

    • dry mouth
    • trouble sleeping
    • decreased appetite
    • increased heart rate
    • constipation
    • feeling jittery
    • anxiety

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse® (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in patients 6 years and above, and for the treatment of moderate to severe Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) in adults. Vyvanse is not for weight loss. It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective for the treatment of obesity.

For additional safety information, click here for Prescribing Information and Medication Guide and discuss with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.