Where Can I Find Support And ADHD Treatment Options For Adults?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated September 12, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Free support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Information regarding attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatments often focuses on how to reduce the impact of the disorder on children in school and at home. However, in 60% or more of cases, ADHD persists beyond childhood and into adulthood. In fact, up to 6% of adults currently live with some form of ADHD. 

It can be frustrating when you're searching for information about adult ADHD treatment and are only able to find tips regarding sticker charts and classroom seating intended for children. If you’re an adult experiencing symptoms of ADHD and want to know more about treatment options, see below.

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Experiencing ADHD Symptoms As An Adult?

Why Finding Specific Information Can Be Difficult

First, depending on where you are, ADHD may be underdiagnosed. The Updated European Consensus Statement, for example, notes that ADHD in adults is not widely accepted in European countries and that European psychiatry may be neglecting patients with this condition. That’s one reason it may be more difficult to find appropriate information about ADHD diagnosis and treatment options in certain places.

Second, significant stigma around this disorder still exists today. One academic review on the topic notes that in interviews with the general public about ADHD, nearly all participants expressed the belief that symptoms of the disorder are “childish and socially inappropriate”. Seeing such behaviors on video “increased both tendencies of peer rejection and feelings of hostility”. Even prejudices and misconceptions about what causes this type of condition can increase negative views of those who live with it, such as the false belief that ADHD is caused by excessive sugar consumption or poor parenting. That’s why efforts to raise awareness about the facts of ADHD and to decrease stigma can help make accurate information and resources about treatment more widely available.

Why Treatment Can Be Important

Untreated attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can have a negative impact on one’s relationships, career, and ability to adequately handle daily responsibilities. The American Psychiatric Association, for example, recognizes that ADHD can cause adults who have it to experience issues like trouble with time management, sleep difficulties (including sleep disorders), impulsive behaviors, lack of mental focus, inability to accomplish goals, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. 

Plus, other comorbid mental health problems and other psychiatric disorders such as major depression—and even other medical conditions—can exacerbate symptoms. Difficulties managing symptoms and impulsive behavior without guidance or support can also result in increased stress levels and lower self-esteem. Finally, some research reports an association between ADHD and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s yet another reason why having access to the appropriate information and treatment can represent life-saving care for many.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 by dialing 988.

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Treatment Options

Treatment for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is often approached from multiple angles and may include talk therapy, environmental changes, lifestyle adjustments, and/or medication, as detailed below. Another option is to connect with an ADHD coach, a professional who can assist with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, social skills, and more.

It may be best to approach treatment by first recognizing how your ADHD symptoms are directly affecting your life, and then implementing solutions and/or seeking help to address those specific challenges.

Treatment With Medication

Oftentimes, stimulant medication is prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and can be effective in treating symptoms in around 70% of cases. Stimulants work by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for what is known as executive function. Executive function includes working memory, impulse control, and the ability to persist in working on a task. Stimulant medication as ADHD treatment may enable better awareness and control over one’s behavior, though it needs to be carefully monitored by a health professional.

Non-stimulant medications may also be prescribed for those experiencing symptoms of ADHD. For example, selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are sometimes recommended. Some non-stimulant medications may be less likely to cause significant side effects, but not everyone responds to them. 

Medication for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can be of enormous assistance for some people, but not everyone finds a medication that works for them. Others learn that some medications cause unfavorable side effects for them, or may not be able to take some because of medications they’re already on for other conditions. Some may also choose to forgo medication in favor of therapy and lifestyle modifications.

Finding Support Through Therapy

Research suggests the most effective overall treatment for ADHD in adults tends to be stimulant medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Without medication, CBT can still be an effective method of treatment. CBT can be effective because some adults with ADHD find it hard to manage their thoughts and emotions and may experience emotion dysregulation. CBT involves recognizing and replacing negative thought patterns as well as implementing strategies for handling difficult or overwhelming emotions. Other types of therapy, such as family therapy with family members, may also be recommended depending on the individual and their specific symptoms.

Experiencing ADHD Symptoms As An Adult?

Daily Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

While not a replacement for medication and therapy in most cases, certain lifestyle adjustments may help with symptom control to some degree. These include:

  • Exercising regularly. Cultivating an exercise routine may be the single most beneficial lifestyle change you can make to improve core symptoms of adult ADHD. Various studies indicate that exercise can increase a person's ability to maintain focus and attention. This may be because physical activity increases dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain—much like stimulant medication does, but without side effects. Regular exercise may raise the baseline level of dopamine your brain regularly produces, and there's even evidence that it encourages the growth of new receptors.
  • Adjusting your diet. Making certain changes to your diet may also help improve ADHD symptoms, though you should always speak to a doctor or nutritionist first. Research suggests that a high-protein diet in particular can be beneficial for the brain and may also optimize the effectiveness of stimulant medication. Prioritizing foods that provide certain micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, and magnesium may also be helpful, as may cutting down on sugar levels.
  • Getting enough sleep. As one study puts it, “relationships of ADHD with sleep problems, psychiatric comorbidities, and medications are complex and multidirectional”. It’s not uncommon for those with ADHD to experience sleep problems, which can then exacerbate symptoms. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene—such as sleeping and waking at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bed, and sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet environment—may help.
  • Cultivating a mindfulness practice. A regular mindfulness practice may help with things like focus and emotional control. More research into its applications for ADHD in particular is needed, but one study suggests “promising preliminary support for its efficacy”.

Seeking Symptom Support

If you’re experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s typically recommended that you meet with a qualified healthcare professional. A medical doctor can conduct an exam and any necessary testing to determine whether there may be an underlying physical condition that’s causing symptoms. Next, a mental health care provider can conduct an evaluation to see if ADHD and/or another mental health condition may be at play and suggest a treatment plan accordingly.

For those who are interested in meeting with a therapist to address symptoms, they can connect with one online or in person. If you’d prefer to attend traditional, in-office sessions, you can search for a provider in your local area. If you’d prefer to meet with someone virtually from the comfort of home, you might consider online therapy. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging to address the challenges you may be facing. Research suggests that online and in-person therapy can offer similar benefits in most cases, so the format you choose is typically up to you.


Treatment for ADHD in adults can include medication, therapy, and/or lifestyle changes. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it may be worth meeting with a qualified healthcare professional for advice and guidance on the recommended treatment for your unique situation.

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