Self-help for ADHD and other behavioural disorders

Self-help for ADHD and other behavioural disorders can be an important part of treatment. It’s important, however, to seek the advice of a health professional at the same time and to have a chat with your treatment team before putting self-help strategies into action. If they’re not working, there are things you can do.

You might find this useful if:

  • You have a behavioural disorder
  • You know someone who has a behavioural disorder
  • You want some tips for what you can do to manage a behavioural disorder
Girls playing around on the beach

Why self-help for ADHD and other behavioural disorders is important

You’ll be able to manage a behavioural disorder most effectively with the advice of a health professional, but it’s a great idea to get involved in your treatment plan. There are a lot of different strategies you can try to help you manage your symptoms and that can make a huge difference to how you get on in your everyday life. 

If you’re going to try self-help for ADHD or other behavioural disorders, make sure you consult with experts before trying any. They could have an impact on other therapies you are undergoing as part of your treatment plan. It is important to work with your treatment team to understand what they are trying to do and why, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to them about some of the strategies below!

Self-help strategies

  • Don’t attempt to self-medicate by using substances to help you focus or slow down. It could interfere with other treatments and it’s likely to cause more problems in the long term.

  • Develop a schedule. Stability is important in helping to keep your symptoms under control. So, make a daily routine and try and stick to it. It can help to make life feel more manageable.  

  • Exercise daily or several times a week. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, boost your mood and calm your mind. It’s also a really good way for you to work off excess energy or aggression. Choose an activity that is energy-intensive and fun. Exercising outdoors can also be more calming than indoors. Check out how to create your own exercise routine.

  • Develop a sleeping routine. Having bad sleeping patterns can make the symptoms of a behavioural disorder worse, and makes concentration and mood worse. So, set up a regular sleeping routine. See getting into a sleeping routine for more info. 

  • Write lists. Write every task, project, or appointment down as soon as you know about it. Set aside regular times each day to check your to-do lists. A calendar/planner is a great way to help with forgetfulness. 

  • Learn strategies for goal setting. It will help you prioritise tasks, and you can break down large projects into smaller, more manageable chunks. 

  • Try to minimise stress. A great way to do this is to learn different ways to relax and develop some positive coping strategies.

If these aren’t helping

If you are using a few of the above strategies but finding your symptoms difficult to control, go and see your doctor. Everyone’s different and some strategies will work better for some people than others. Your doctors will have suggestions for alternative things you can try to help manage your symptoms.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 06 August, 2015
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