How to Manage Your Recovery When You Have ADHD

When it comes to working through the recovery process, there are many hurdles that you may face, including struggling with ADHD. ADHD is a common yet complex mental illness that interferes with your focus, relationships, school, or work. In recovery, managing your daily schedule and life can be hard, and ADHD can make those simple tasks seem even more impossible to tackle. 

ADHD and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a common struggle, and it is also not easily manageable. When you suffer from substance use disorder, it can only add to the stress of symptoms related to ADHD. If you have ADHD, you probably have trouble focusing and slowing your thoughts and emotions. When it comes to using substances, it can be easy to overuse them when they are seemingly the only things that help slow your mind down. Mental illnesses significantly impact your recovery journey and, at times, can make it difficult if left untreated or undiagnosed so that the proper coping methods can be created. 

In a study published by Frontiers in Public Health, researchers found that social aspects are shared between people with ADHD and substance use disorder. People with ADHD are typically classified as "abnormal" as far as a social hierarchy goes. This also applies to people who have substance use disorder. This also means that these two groups intermingle and share a link from a social standpoint. 

The Root of Substance Abuse

As mentioned earlier, if you have ADHD, you probably have difficulty slowing your thoughts down. Another study in BMC Psychiatry found that, with this problem, it can be common to turn to marijuana. The problem with this is that you are not using the substance in a controlled environment. Instead, you are self-medicating, meaning you control how much of the substance you take. As tolerance builds, you then have to take more, and soon you have a dependency on marijuana.

Another issue that can arise from having ADHD is the prescription drug Adderall. Adderall is used to treat ADHD symptoms but can easily become abused. Taking more than the prescribed dosage can give you a high and, similar to marijuana, can become easily dependent. Unlike marijuana, Adderall is easy to form a habit with because it is an amphetamine. Therefore abusing an Adderall prescription can lead to substance use disorder.   

Focus and Recovery

Experiencing a mental health disorder such as ADHD and substance use disorder is known as a co-occurring disorder. When entering treatment, you will need to be treated for both disorders. This is because of their relationship and how one disorder may have led to the other.

When working on your recovery process, focusing on the tasks at hand can be hard when you struggle with ADHD. Those with ADHD usually find it hard to accomplish simple daily tasks, but when adding recovery to that load, it can feel overwhelming. Something that can help is trying to organize your thoughts. This could be in the form of journaling or writing a schedule to help you achieve each task.

Coping With ADHD

There are many ways to cope with ADHD, including medications. Medications can be prescribed by a medical professional that helps slow your thinking process so you can focus on tasks better. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have to have the ability to know that you will not abuse the medication. If medications are not something that will benefit you, there are still many ways to cope with ADHD while working on recovery. 

Create a Daily Schedule 

Another coping method for managing your ADHD, as mentioned earlier, is creating a daily schedule for yourself. Doing this keeps your mind task orientated. When following a schedule, make sure that you try to even out your day. Creating a schedule can help keep you on track without leaving too much open time for you to get off task. Alternatively, while it is important to finish necessary tasks, a good schedule should also account for self-care practices. Such practice could include:

  • Reading
  • Cooking
  • Taking a hot bath or shower
  • Meditating 
  • Exercise

Maintain a Healthy Support Network

Look to your support network for help. Make sure you stay in contact with friends, family, and peers. Having supportive people in your life will ensure you stay on track and hold yourself accountable. They can also help you with things that you may struggle with, such as: 

  • Helping with yardwork 
  • Helping with household chores such as cleaning and doing laundry
  • Other self-care tasks such as exercising or meditating

Managing ADHD and substance use disorder can be challenging and could make it feel impossible to move forward in your recovery journey. At NorthStar Transitions, we use conventional and holistic treatments to help you build the foundations for lasting recovery. We understand that the journey differs based on the individual, which is why we strive to develop treatment plans to meet your individual needs. Our Boulder, Colorado location provides a diverse landscape and opportunity to encounter real-world challenges while also learning how to develop inner peace and build strong relationships. We also work with families to help educate and prepare families to take on the challenges of recovery together. If you or a loved one is currently struggling with a co-occurring disorder, then the time to get help is now. To find out more about our programs and resources, reach out to us today by calling (303) 558-6400.

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