Managing ADHD as an Introverted Adult: 5 Tips to Help!
Life as an introvert can be, for the lack of a better word, confusing. Don’t get me wrong, as an introvert, there are times when I just can’t find it in me to socialize with anyone, much less a crowd. Now, add in the complexities and uniqueness of ADHD and you have an introvert living through a challenging experience.
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that can have traits such as impulsiveness, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity. So, it won’t come as a surprise when an extroverted person is accepted as having ADHD. After all, hyperactivity is an extraversion trait!
Extroverts gain energy from the people around them whereas introverts lose energy the more they are around other people. Because of this, introverted people often need to take solace apart from socializing to “recharge their batteries”. This particular activity also makes introverts the most misunderstood. If an introvert takes alone time to recharge, they are often categorized as shy and quiet. But it is a misconception that we still believe in.
Even though introverts face challenges in their social life, they can still be diagnosed with ADHD. However, the symptoms of ADHD may manifest differently in introverts from how they present themselves in extroverts.
Let’s explore the uniqueness of ADHD and introverts, how the symptoms of ADHD affect introverted people, and how you can manage ADHD as an introvert.
Can an Introvert be Diagnosed With ADHD?
Yes! You can be diagnosed with ADHD as an introvert. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and has little to do with your personality traits. There is a connection between ADHD and introversion, more than we realize. Symptoms of ADHD – predominantly hyperactivity and inattentiveness – can cause a person to socially isolate or withdraw from social interactions that they may find too overstimulating.
We often have this image of a person with ADHD. They are talking, outgoing, and energetic – exactly like an extrovert. The same symptoms are present in an introvert as well, but the way the symptoms of ADHD present themselves in an introvert can be quite different. ADHD is a very broad term – more than what we are presented with.
For example, a person with inattentive ADHD is more introspective and quieter and enjoys thinking about different ideas at the same time. Sounds like an introvert, right? Now, just because inattentive ADHD might be on the quieter side, doesn’t mean that everyone with this symptom is an introvert and vice versa.
Your behavior based on your personality trait, does not define your ADHD symptoms and vice versa. Let’s take a look at how ADHD symptoms manifest in introverts.
ADHD Traits in an Introvert
Your personality might not define your ADHD, but it can influence how your symptoms may manifest or present themselves. Hyperactivity is just one symptom of ADHD and it doesn’t matter who you are – an introvert or extrovert – you’ll struggle with it.
It’s just that introverts can be hyperactive in a different way than how an extrovert will be. Here’s an example; an introvert might “nerd out” over a topic of interest whereas an extrovert might expend their energy socializing all night long.
Other traits that can be found in an ADHD introvert can include;
- Time blindness
- Lack of motivation
- Disorganized thoughts
- Impulsive behaviors
- Trouble concentrating
- Over stimulation
- Social isolation
Managing ADHD as an Introvert
1.Set BoundariesWith Others
People around you may not get hyperactivity and inattentiveness if they aren’t related to traits of extroversion. So, to step up and protect yourself from such “expectations”, you can set boundaries. These boundaries can also help you preserve your energy. Know that it’s OK to set boundaries for yourself. It’s OK to set a time limit to your social interactions or tell your loved ones when you need to be alone.
2.Set Boundaries With Yourself
As an ADHD introvert, you may not be comfortable staying socializing all night long, but you may find yourself caught up in a conversation that keeps you staying socializing. To prevent this from draining your energy more than necessary, you need to set boundaries with yourself. This includes sticking to a sleep schedule, staying hydrated, and keeping your social activities in check.
3.Release Energy Differently
An extroverted person with ADHD might be able to expend their energy by partying all night or socializing, but if you’re a hyperactive ADHD and an introvert, then you can try to release your energy differently. You can try;
- Engaging in DIY projects
- Creating crafts
- Learning a new language
- Gardening, or
- Playing games
4.Take Time For Yourself
As an ADHD introvert, please understand that it’s OK and even normal to say no to social interactions when you don’t have the attention or the energy to do so. If you’re required to attend social gatherings, then try to take a few minutes to yourself alone as needed to avoid overstimulation or getting too overwhelmed.
5.Use Virtual Assistants
Sometimes ADHD management techniques such as working on mundane tasks with others – also known as body-doubling – might not work on ADHD introverts. However, it’s good for people with ADHD to keep accountability to manage their time. For this, when working with others is not an option, an ADHD introvert can use virtual assistants to set alarms and help them stay accountable.
It is possible to be diagnosed with ADHD as an introvert – even if you have hyperactive ADHD. While ADHD symptoms may remain the same in both personality traits – introverts and extroverts – the manifestation and presentation of said symptoms may differ. With the right help, support, and treatment such as behavioral therapy, medications, and self-help, you can learn to manage ADHD as an introvert.
If you’re still unsure about how or where to get started, you can reach out to a therapist by clicking the link below or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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