Each section below contains brief definitions of common terminology used in the ADHD community, as well as other terms that may relate to mental health conditions or general wellness.
A term for people with various conditions, including ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s and learning disabilities, that refers to atypical ways of thinking, communicating, socializing, paying attention, and emotionally regulating oneself.
How we mentally engage in daily goal-directed activities. This can include self-control, working memory, problem-solving and emotional regulation. Executive functions are at the root of how we decide to speak or act in any number of scenarios.
Regulation refers to the act of controlling one’s emotional state or emotional reaction to an event. Dis-regulation refers to the inability to exert control over an emotional response.
One classification of ADHD in which a person may have trouble paying attention to detail, staying on one task for an extended period of time, finishing tasks, performing routine chores, and/or activating him/herself to begin a task.
One classification of ADHD in which a person may have trouble physically restraining him/herself from speaking or taking action. In adults, this may be characterized by blurting out answers out of turn, talking excessively fast, interrupting others, and generally exhibiting low impulse control.
One classification of ADHD in which a person may exhibit behaviors and symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive types.
Extreme emotional sensitivity to rejection or the perception of rejection. May include an emotional reaction triggered by criticism, exclusion, or judgement from important people in one’s life.
When an individual has two or more conditions. This may include ADHD and a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, substance abuse disorder, or any other mental health or neuropsychological condition. Both conditions are typically treated separately but at the same time.
ADHD-Related Tools & Techniques
A self-regulation tool used to help a person calm their emotions/mind, pay attention, and practice active listening. Theoretically, anything you can play with in your hands can be a fidget toy, but the most common options you’ll find are malleable, movable, squishable, or otherwise tactile.
The use of another person to help someone with ADHD accomplish a task. The body double may serve one or more functions including: regular timed check-ins on progress; a physical presence for comfort or steadiness; assistance on a task, either at the beginning, the end or throughout; a sounding board for ideation; and/or a social presence to alleviate boredom through conversation.
A method for completing a task or activity that involves the user of a timer (“the Pomodoro”), wherein the user of the technique works on the task for 25 minutes, then takes a break, then continues to work with additional scheduled breaks that last longer each time.
Mental Health Conditions
A mental health disorder that affects one’s self view, and how one relates to others. It’s often characterized by mood swings, difficulty managing behavior and reactions, and unstable social relationships. Some manifestations of BPD and ADHD may overlap, or a person may have both conditions.
A mental health disorder that is characterized by a consistently depressed mood or state of being, loss of interest in favored activities, fatigue, and difficulty activating one’s self to perform routine daily tasks. Also referred to as Clinical Depression.
Seasonal affective disorder occurs during the time of year when there is little to no sunlight throughout the day (depending on your region). Symptoms include a depressed or lethargic state, difficulty with social interaction, fatigue and loss of interest in favored activities.
A mental health condition that causes a person to persistently worry about any number of things including money, health, family and friends. Though we all have worries from time to time, GAD is characterized by an anxiousness that is pervasive and that interferes with everyday life. GAD may be characterized by panic attacks and restlessness.
Mental Health-Related Tools & Techniques
A UV filtered light that mimics natural sunlight and is used for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, and/or sleep disorders.
A practice used to achieve mental clarity, emotional stability and calmness. May be guided with an app or podcast, or unguided. Can focus on general mindfulness, or a specific topic, activity, thought pattern, or emotion. Recommended to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, enable focus for athletes, and to help with sleep disorders.
A form of treatment for many mental health and neuropsychological conditions that focuses on challenging and changing unwanted or unhelpful behaviors. Essentially, CBT is “talk-therapy”, where a patient may work with a therapist or counselor to understand how and why they react or act in certain situations, and create coping strategies that allow them to modify their behavior.