Do you have, or think you may have, ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is being diagnosed more often, particularly among adults. You may have lived with it unknowingly for years. Medication is often the first treatment offered for ADHD. However, there are also alternative approaches — including therapy — to navigating life with this condition.

    Despite the rising rates of diagnosis, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is still widely misunderstood. This leads to misconceptions about those with the condition. Often, ADHD is inaccurately thought of as only affecting badly-behaved schoolboys. In reality, it is a neurological condition that can affect people of all genders and ages. If you have ADHD, the chances are you feel emotions more intensely than most other people. Emotional issues can represent significant hurdles. Because of this there is a growing interest in alternative strategies for managing the condition.

    Inaccurate Name?

    Another issue with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder lies in its name, which fails to accurately describe the condition. Contrary to the term ‘deficit of attention’, you may feel you often experience an abundance of attention. This leads your mind to wander in search of additional stimulation. Renowned psychiatrist and researcher, Professor Russell A. Barkley, PhD, suggests that ADHD is not just a deficit of attention. It is rather a delay, or deficiency, in the development of executive functioning skills.

    The name itself also misrepresents the condition. Many with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder don’t display outward signs of hyperactivity. Consequently, the name contributes to misconceptions around individuals with the condition, which in turn can foster unconscious biases. This can result in discrimination from a range of sources. These can include: parents, friends, teachers, partners, employers, and healthcare professionals, among others.

    Negative Emotions

    ADHD and unhealthy negative emotions go together. You may recognise those feelings of inadequacy, failure, and letting others down which may lead to a cascade of emotions. These might include anger, shame, anxiety, depression, guilt, and envy. ADHD and executive function disorders heighten our emotions, intensifying them to varying degrees. ADHD researcher Tom Brown, PhD, discusses a particular cluster of executive functions responsible for managing frustration and regulating emotions. It’s clear that those with diminished abilities in emotion control and regulation are more prone to experiencing strong emotions. These may include anger outbursts, anxiety, feelings of rejection, and emotional distress.

    ADHD Coaching or Therapy? 

    ADHD coaching is gaining popularity as the number of diagnosed individuals continues to rise. Coaching is excellent if you’re looking for help with solutions, planning and organisation. This might include finding designated spots for important items — or implementing strategies to manage daily tasks effectively. Coaching also provides a valuable accountability mechanism. An ADHD coach is ideal for practical guidance with everyday tasks and organisational challenges. But, if you’re grappling with emotional difficulties on a day-to-day basis, you may find therapy more helpful.

    If you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, strong emotions can significantly impact progress in various aspects of your life. These may include education, careers, and relationships. Up until now, researchers have largely ignored the emotional component of ADHD. Yet emotional disruptions are often the most impairing aspects of ADHD at any age.

    There isn’t a specific therapy solely for ADHD. However, there are therapists who possess a deep understanding of the condition, and those who don’t. My own journey towards recognising ADHD began during my psychology studies, where I learnt how my own brain functions. The led me to an ADHD diagnosis. With personal experience and professional expertise, I fully understand ADHD, its impact on emotions, and effective strategies for emotional regulation.

    My Approach

    My cognitive and behavioural therapy approach inherently aligns with coaching principles aimed at guiding you towards realising your fullest potential. Alongside my CBT/REBT qualifications, I researched ADHD as part of my Psychology Doctorate. I also remain on top of the latest ADHD research.

    In my practice, I integrate Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) as a foundational framework. I then add tailored approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Solution Focussed Therapy (SFT). This mix of modalities help me adapt my interventions to meet your unique needs, helping your journey towards growth and well-being.