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8 Ways To Help Someone With ADHD In Crisis

We all need help from time to time ...
We all need help from time to time …

Recent events in my life have caused me to compare ADHD to other mental health issues. There hasn’t been a lot of insight to be gained from that, and yet I needed to do this comparison for personal reasons.

In my greater community of neighbours, I live in a smaller community of friends. And in that smaller community of friends I’ve discovered that many of them have ADHD. Those that don’t, by and large, have other mental health issues. Some of my friends are vocal about those issues, a few have confided in me, and some are keeping their own counsel … possibly from themselves as well as friends and the public.

But the majority of my friends have issues ranging from excessive stress in their lives through clinical problems that are diagnosed, right up to a select lucky few who have hit the jackpot and can claim a smorgasbord of multiple alphabet soup syndromes and issues with names like ADHD, OCD, ODD, BP … you get the picture.

What to do about a breakdown?

And what happens when someone is in crisis in this community? Sometimes it’s just a matter of being there for them. Sometimes they need their space. Some need to have space but can’t seem to step away and some should be in the company of others but can’t stop themselves from seeking seclusion.

Some need you to be there but be silent, a kind of emotional seclusion with proof that they are not alone. Some just need to know you’re there for them if and when they need you to be.

But what about us?

What about ADHDers? Are we ever in crisis? Oh boy, are we ever! Sometimes they are dramatic, sometimes they are quiet and contained, but any one of us can be in crisis at any time.

Some of these troubled times seem like they are our own doing, and to be fair, I can’t deny that. But two things come to mind when those situations happen, a) so what? The crisis is real and here and now. It exists, and b) now is not the time to lecture or teach, you’ll only make yourself look bad in comparison to our self administered punishment.

So what about when we have a crisis?

Is there anything that those who love us can do for us when things go pear shaped? Probably lots. But like my friends whose issues look like the flotsam in a bowl of alphabets, our needs when in crisis might be different from one crisis to the next.

And they might change from one part of the crisis to another. That’s very confusing, to say the least.

But there are a few things that we need during a crisis that I can easily list here, things that won’t change from one crisis to the next. Some of them may even help to head off an ADHD crisis if done when no crisis is currently happening.

  1. Respect our thoughts and our space
  2. Tell us when you think we’re wrong … once!
  3. Don’t try to tell us how to fix what’s wrong
  4. Don’t assume our problems are simple just because they aren’t problems that you have. Not having a problem isn’t the same as knowing how to solve it
  5. Don’t centre us out for our uniquenesses thinking that will help us. It won’t
  6. If you don’t know what to do to help, ask
  7. If we tell you what will help, listen
  8. If we tell you we need space, give it to us … really! If we don’t tell you we need space, congratulations, you’ve probably mastered the first seven points. Go you!

We aren’t stupid, in fact our collective average intelligence is higher than the average. We may not know what will help, exactly, but we can easily determine what won’t help. And you trying to fix something you may not understand won’t help and may well add to the problem.

Lastly, if you don’t want to help, stay back. We aren’t a street-side accident scene provided for your amusement. When we want to amuse you, you’ll know. We’ll be on stage.

And hey, thanks for reading this.

8 Ways To Help Someone With ADHD In Crisis

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2014). 8 Ways To Help Someone With ADHD In Crisis. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Jan 2014
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