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Using an Occupational Therapist to Manage Adult ADHD

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder doesn’t magically disappear in adulthood. In fact, many adults with ADHD receive their diagnoses in their 20s, 30s, 40s or even older. Adults and children face the same challenges with time management, organization and focus in different ways. Keep reading to learning to learn how Baton Rouge physical therapists and occupational therapy specialists can help you manage adult ADHD. 

Mood, Performance, and Sensory Stimulation

ADHD impacts nearly every aspect of a person’s life. Emotional and mood regulation are two key areas, along with executive functioning, focus, sensory processing and short-term memory. Science has discovered links between ADHD and low levels of two vital neurotransmitters:

  • Dopamine, which handles motivations and mood regulation
  • Norepinephrine, which controls attention and alertness

ADHD management applies strategies in multiple areas to help with executive functioning, emotional regulation and handling sensory stimulation. These may involve physical activity, diet, medication and mindfulness practices. Structure and routine are also critical. Along with these strategies, working with an occupational therapist can help you improve functioning in several areas:

  • Adapting your environment to better support your needs
  • Visual cues to help with organization and time management (lists, visual maps, etc.)
  • Creating calm places in your home environment
  • Understanding your sensory needs and how to meet them
  • Mindfulness techniques, including grounding, to help manage stress

When searching for “occupational therapy near me,” you’ll want to find a therapist with experience or specialization in working with adults who have ADHD. Make sure you speak with this therapist and articulate your challenges and needs before committing to a treatment plan. 

Develop Strategies for Tackling Distractions

Occupational therapy can also help with a common issue among adults with ADHD: distraction. Each person’s neurology works a little differently, so you and your therapist can discover what works best for you. Perhaps you’re a fidgeter and may benefit from small fidget toys, which can redirect restless energy and give it an outlet. 

By working with an occupational therapist, you can also switch your mindset and lifestyle from reactive mode to planned mode. How does this work? Well, reactive mode is exactly what it says: responding to events that pop up, including distractions. In contrast, planned mode involves creating a schedule for each day and adhering to it. At the same time, it acknowledges that distractions can occur and incorporates the flexibility to handle them in appropriate ways. 

Planned mode is an excellent way to introduce structure into your lifestyle and environment. It also helps us develop a sense of familiarity, which can feel reassuring and comforting. It should also integrate downtime as needed to help you recharge your batteries. Your occupational therapist can provide assistance for determining what planned mode looks like for you. 

Occupational Therapy for ADHD

Occupational therapy isn’t meant to cure ADHD. Rather, it provides understanding and strategies for working with our natural strengths and managing common challenges. Once you learn these strategies, you can implement them on your own. Keep in mind that some practices specializing in physical therapy treatment near Gonzales, Louisiana, also include occupational therapists who can help with ADHD management. 

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