Recent news headlines may be stating the obvious for you and your partner: ADHD medications are in short supply here in the U.S. Has your partner gone to have their meds refilled, only to be told, “We don’t have any, and we don’t know when we’ll get more?”


There’s no doubt that ADHD medications make a difference for those who take them. They help with focus, concentration, and ability to get through the day. If your partner can’t get their medications, however, Plan B for managing life needs to be implemented. And actually, these tips are useful even if your partner is on medication, as organization and coordination can still be an issue, even when your partner is properly medicated.

Here are some strategies for your partner to minimize ADHD symptoms:

  1. Exercise: Burning extra energy helps with focus. The exercise needs to be fairly difficult in intensity (think running or cycling), and last at least 30 minutes, three to four times a week. Adding in some weight training is advised as well. It’s the new year–many gyms offer great deals for memberships this time of year. Take advantage!
  2. Eat nutritiously. Has your partner ever analyzed which foods make them feel good versus feel hyped up? This might be a good time to do an experiment. How do they feel when eating whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains versus fast food, sugary snacks and high-fat items? What about drinking water versus caffeinated drinks?
  3. Commit to using a calendar and reviewing it daily. There are calendars to meet every personality style, from paper to electronic. Your partner’s excuse of “I can’t find a calendar I like” is bogus. (Being able to remember where said calendar is is a whole other story…!) Encourage your partner to find a calendar they like, and treat it as if their life depends on their using it. Your partner should consult the calendar several times a day: in the morning to plan for the day, at lunchtime, at dinner, and again before bed. Everything needs to be in that calendar as well, from work obligations to family needs to exercise time to downtime.
  4. Break up long tasks into small chunks. This technique works for any task that is going to take longer than 20 minutes to finish. Encourage your partner to set a timer for 20 minutes, and commit to doing nothing but the task at hand until they hear the timer go off. Then they can take a short break (no more than 5 minutes) and do something else, like answer a text message or check Facebook. If the task needs more time to finish, repeat the sequence of 20 minutes on, 5 minutes off until it’s complete.
  5. Consider hiring an ADHD coach. These people will help your partner identify the main areas ADHD affects in their life and target ways to make then less troublesome. Like a personal trainer, the ADHD coach will put together a plan for your partner to follow, and be available for coaching when your partner is struggling or needs other ideas about how to reach their goals.