While many people have some vague idea of some of the characteristics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) such as difficulty paying attention and hyperactivity, what most are not aware of is how this disorder impacts one’s overall mood. Individuals with ADHD can present to others as irritable, experiencing “mood swings” or generally seen as an impulsive person. These individuals typically experience difficulty with mood regulation and poor frustration tolerance. Individuals who live with ADHD are also more likely to also live with an anxiety-related disorder such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and mood-related disorders such as depression are frequently comorbid. Common behavior problems such as conduct disorders and substance abuse can also be seen in adolescents and adults with ADHD.
While medication can be highly effective in assisting individuals stabilize their mood it also requires them to follow a scheduled medication regime. At times an individual may feel they do not need to follow their regime because they are not in school or do not have to engage in tasks that require a great deal of concentration. This causes inconsistent or improper use of medication which can exacerbate mood instability and negative mood states which over time can become harder to treat.
Suggestions for success for individuals suffering from symptoms of ADHD include:
- Follow the prescribed medication regime as this will help minimize mood disturbance and improve frustration tolerance.
- Minimize distractions in the environment when the individual needs to remain focused.
- Learn and utilize many different self-soothing techniques and activities.
This will help the individual to feel more at ease, especially when uncomfortable feelings and situations arise. This will also help the individual to maintain a more positive and stable mood states over longer periods of time.
About the Author: Jennifer Barry, LCSW