Self-Regulation with ADD and ADHD

Image courtesy of pakorn/

Image courtesy of pakorn/

ADD and ADHD is a disorder of self-regulation. I’ve come to this realization after living with this disorder for almost 40 years and my professional experiences. My statement certainly simplifies the whole process, but let’s take a deeper look into what exactly this means.

In some of my other entries, I’ve mentioned things like The Internal Pause Button as a way of controlling one’s behavior. But what if we don’t even know what things we’re trying to control? Or that there’s an issue at all? What if we see a box of cookies sitting on a table and eat the whole thing, but don’t recognize these cookies are for a group of people? It is hard to implement any strategy without understand why it needs to be implemented. Or to use an old analogy, it is like putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Let me take a step back…what is self-regulation??? In the simplest of terms, it is one’s ability to control certain impulses or behaviors in relation to the environment. Let’s go back to the box of cookies example. We know we’re hungry, we know there are cookies, so two problems are solved. But what we don’t recognize is the expectations that we take a few cookies so other’s can enjoy these too. It isn’t that we don’t care, it’s more that we just aren’t regulating ourselves to the environment.

Due to this issue, many of my clients struggle in social situations. Whether it be in the workplace or other activities requiring attention to how one fits in, it presents some real challenges. That’s why many of my clients shy away from these types of events or have trouble maintaining work relationships. However, these things can be addressed through working with a qualified professional.

So how do we improve our self-regulation? This isn’t an easy question to answer. It will not go away, just like any other area of self-improvement, it has to be addressed regularly. But understanding it is a start. The best advice I can give is to study yourself in certain situations, take notes and learn from yourself. Learn from your own behavior and identify things to improve.

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, so please visit for more information. 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, Google Plus and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.


  1. […] and life situations. I know when I get excited about a thought or feel that I have to be heard, self-regulation can become an […]

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