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 To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit and I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on Facebook and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.


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  2. […] morning. If you walk away from this with anything, the key to a successful night’s sleep is regulating yourself. Put yourself in a good place before your head hits the […]

  3. […] how we text and message falls into self-regulation. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean we have to do […]

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