ADD, ADHD and Self-Regulation

Image courtesy of Ambro/
Image courtesy of Ambro/

What is self-regulation you might ask? I see this as one’s ability to monitor, maintain and plan. Individuals with ADD and ADHD have a difficult time with self-regulation. It doesn’t mean that it is always an issue, but it does present challenges. Here’s an example from my life. I have difficulty with self-regulation when it comes to food. Instead of maintaining a healthy eating pace, I will eat quickly. This will cause overeating. And with overeating comes weight gain. I’ve been known to eat a whole box of cookies. While it feels good at the moment, it doesn’t help us in the long run.

To combat this type of behavior both personally and professionally, I like to compare our need for self-regulation to that of using a credit card. Credit cards are convenient. You can buy something now if you want it. But the problem becomes having to actually pay for the item. Since many of my clients also have a tendency to make that impulsive purchases, the credit card scenario seems to make sense to my older clients.

For my younger clients (and this also applies to older ones as well), I like to incorporate the pause button.  How does this work? I create scenarios with my clients and ask he or she how that person will react. For example…When X happens, is Y or Z an appropriate response? Why should you pick one response over another? What are some other ways you can handle this type of moment? I’ve found the more we practice these scenarios, the more thought goes into specific moments. While there will be times where this doesn’t work as planned, but it’s helps develop the skill.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients all over the United States and World online, please visit for more information. To learn more about my other services, please visit & I can be found on Twitter at ADHDGuru. You can also find me on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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