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Section 7
Balance Issues - Parent Training

Question 7 | Test | Table of Contents

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In the last section, we discussed the Five Stages of Grief that the ADHD adult experiences following diagnosis. As you know, the Five Stages of Grief were Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

In this section, we will discuss the Balancing Issues that ADHD adults face.

Darnell, age 37, has used his ADHD symptoms to his advantage to climb the career ladder at his business. Darnell stated, "Sure, I’ve got ADHD, but I try not to let that stop me. I’m still pretty smart, so I just use my creativity and energy level to convey that. People notice, and I get bumped up the ladder at work." However, Darnell’s determination at his job has left his wife, Tosha, feeling neglected at home. Darnell works long hours and rarely sees her for more than an hour at night before going to bed.

Darnell’s work schedule has been this way for years, but Tosha is now concerned because their son, Jason, age 2, is approaching an age where he will become increasingly aware of wanting to spend time with his father. Darnell stated, "Tosha thinks I don’t want to make time for my boy. I want to, but she doesn’t understand that I have to work all these hours to make enough money to keep them happy. Sometimes I have to put in extra hours because my ADHD slows me down at different tasks, and she just doesn’t realize that! I’m trying my hardest – what more does she want?" Sound like the problems an ADHD client of yours may be experiencing?

It seemed to me that Darnell was struggling with balance issues. Have you found, as I have, that there are six common balance issues for ADHD adults? In my experience, these six common balance issues are Work vs. Play, Your Needs vs. Others’ Needs, Overstimulation vs. Understimulation, Hyperactivity vs. Hypoactivity, Detailed vs. Global Thinking, and Depression vs. Euphoria. As you can see, Darnell was struggling with the first balance issue of Work vs. Play.

♦ Balance Issue - Work vs. Play
I stated, "I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’" Darnell chuckled and said, "People have warned me about that, but I never took it to heart. I mean, I feel like I’m doing fine." To help Darnell evaluate the his balancing issues, I asked him to participate in a couple of exercises. I stated, "First, I want you to simply answer some questions." I handed him a notebook and stated, "If you don’t know the answer, that’s OK. You can just write down ‘I don’t know,’ and we’ll come back to it."

♦ "Evaluating Balancing Issues" Exercise
I then listed the "Evaluating Balancing Issues" questions for Darnell:

  1. What is your daily/weekly work capacity?
  2. How much sleep and rest do you need, including "down time" when there are no demands placed on you?
  3. What is your financial bottom line? How much income do you require to maintain an acceptable standard of living?
  4. How much time should you devote to family and friends?
  5. What must you do to renew yourself spiritually, not just in the sense of religion but regarding anything that gives your life meaning?
  6. How much and what kind of recreational activities are critical for your well-being?
  7. How long can you work efficiently without taking a break?
  8. What obligations must you fulfill?
  9. What things are cluttering your life and should be eliminated?
  10. How much time do you spend daily on self-maintenance: grooming, dressing, or health care?

Darnell frowned as he looked at his answers. He stated, "Gee, I really don’t know for some of these. I mean, I really don’t have much down time. And I have no idea how much time I should devote for family and friends. I just know that the amount I devote to them now isn’t enough. But I just have to work so much!" As you know, the juggling act is often daunting for ADHD adults.

I stated to Darnell, "If you just go with the flow, you’ll likely find yourself drifting in directions that aren’t particularly helpful. You can get immersed in work and forget that you have a family. Since you have, as we’ve talked about before, an elastic sense of time, you can’t expect balance in your life to take care of itself."

♦ "Daily Log" Exercise - 3 Steps
To help Darnell find the answers to some of the questions he couldn’t answer in our session, I asked him to do a homework assignment. The homework assignment is an exercise I call the "Daily Log" exercise. I stated, "In your Daily Log, track all of your activities for the next few weeks."
-- Step # 1 - First, I explained to Darnell that he would need to note the activity he did.
-- Step # 2 - Second, next to the activity, I asked him to write down how much time the activity took.
-- Step # 3 - Third, I asked Darnell to rate the difficulty of each task on a scale of one to ten. I stated, "At the end of the few weeks, the fourth step will be to examine your log for observable patterns regarding how much time you devote to different types of activities, such as work and family. This should help you answer the questions you couldn’t answer earlier in the Evaluating Balancing Issues questions."

Do you have a client who, like Darnell, struggles with the balancing issue of Work vs. Play? Or maybe your client struggles with one of the other balancing issues, like Your Needs vs. Others’ Needs, Overstimulation vs. Understimulation, Hyperactivity vs. Hypoactivity, Detailed vs. Global Thinking, and Depression vs. Euphoria. If so, would your client benefit from evaluating his or her balancing issues? Would the "Daily Log" exercise be appropriate for helping them evaluate those balancing issues?

In this section, we have discussed the six common balancing issues ADHD adults face. These six common balancing issues were Work vs. Play, Your Needs vs. Others’ Needs, Overstimulation vs. Understimulation, Hyperactivity vs. Hypoactivity, Detailed vs. Global Thinking, and Depression vs. Euphoria.

In the next section, we will discuss the ADHD adult’s Moral Inventory. The ADHD adult can develop a Moral Inventory by answering three questions. These three Moral Inventory questions are: "What Can I Do Well?", "What Can I Do Adequately?", and "What Can’t or Shouldn’t I Do?"

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Reference:
Acuff, S. F., Soltis, K. E., Dennhardt, A. A., Borsari, B., Martens, M. P., Witkiewitz, K., & Murphy, J. G. (2019). Temporal precedence of self-regulation over depression and alcohol problems: Support for a model of self-regulatory failure. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(7), 603–615.

Atherton, O. E., Lawson, K. M., Ferrer, E., & Robins, R. W. (2020). The role of effortful control in the development of ADHD, ODD, and CD symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118(6), 1226–1246.

Kofler, M. J., Sarver, D. E., Austin, K. E., Schaefer, H. S., Holland, E., Aduen, P. A., Wells, E. L., Soto, E. F., Irwin, L. N., Schatschneider, C., & Lonigan, C. J. (2018). Can working memory training work for ADHD? Development of central executive training and comparison with behavioral parent training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(12), 964–979.

Loren, R. E. A., Ciesielski, H. A., & Tamm, L. (2017). Behavioral parent training groups for ADHD in clinical settings: Does offering a concurrent child group add value? Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 5(3), 221–231.

Musser, E. D., Karalunas, S. L., Dieckmann, N., Peris, T. S., & Nigg, J. T. (2016). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder developmental trajectories related to parental expressed emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(2), 182–195.

What are six common balancing issues that adults with ADHD face? To select and enter your answer go to Test

Section 8
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