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A Little Coping Is Better Than None

In black-and-white terms, we will never win against ADHD. We have a hodgepodge collection of coping mechanisms, good intentions and pills. ADHD has brain chemistry on its side.

With those ground rules, the game can seem a little rigged. At the worst of times, it can seem downright hopeless.

Here’s the catch, though: the goal isn’t outright victory. The goal is just to live the best life we can.

A Little Coping Is Better Than NoneWhen it comes to managing symptoms and developing coping strategies, it’s fine to move in gradual increments. In fact, it’s the only way. Eliminating all our symptoms in one fell swoop just isn’t a thing.

Take procrastination, a topic I wrote about in my last post. If you’re prone to procrastination, it’s unrealistic to expect that any coping strategy will entirely remove this tendency. Instead, knowing that it can take time to make even small changes in your life, try targeting the one or two instances of procrastination that cause the most problems in your life.

Don’t even worry about stopping procrastination generally. Just focus on the few areas of your life where your tendency to procrastinate causes you the most problems. Then look for a system that will help you organize these areas of your life in a new way.

This approach works for any symptom. Rather than try to remove the symptom from your life altogether, look for the parts of your life where this symptom wreaks the most havoc, then find a way to minimize the impact of the symptom in those parts of your life.

The more you do this, the more it becomes clear that treatment isn’t absolute – it’s not about “curing” your symptoms. A little progress in figuring how to live with them can make a real difference in your life.

In fact, it’s not us against the ADHD at all – that’s a losing battle. It’s us learning to live with the ADHD, which means that while there’s no perfectly effective way coping, a little coping is better than none at all.

Image: Flickr/Kristian Golding

A Little Coping Is Better Than None

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). A Little Coping Is Better Than None. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Apr 2017
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