Good regimenting wristwatch for ADD/ADHD?
June 2, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I have an undiagnosed psychological problem (I currently have an appointment scheduled with a psychiatrist, but it's still a ways off) that manifests similarly to descriptions I've heard of adult ADD and ADHD. For the sake of other aspects of my overall health (remembering to take my blood pressure medicine, for instance) I'd like to self-medicate with excessive regimentation while I wait for the appointment. I've heard good things about this timex model, but I'd like to ask about any other alternatives. I'm computer-literate enough to administer the timex model, and I don't mind that it doesn't vibrate.
posted by The Confessor to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Additional things that work in a self-medication vein are doing excessive exercise and watching what you eat [my former SO swore by flax seed and eating lots of fish and very little sugar/caffeine]. We also had a pretty tight routine that involved a list-a-day [what do you want to accomplish today, when do things need to be done by, who is responsible for each thing] that we wrote every morning. Additionally his calendar [which he carried with him everywhere] was color-coded by type of thing so that he could do a quick glance at it and see that he had homework to do or a class to prepare for. So, there was a regularized morning which was making the list, which always went in the same pocket, over coffee which was the beginning to every day. Wearing a watch helps.

Above all, be kind to yourself and try not to set yourself up for failure. If you realize you are having a hard time doing things like meeting deadlines or getting things like laundry done, try to give yourself some room to actually achieve those goals, not pressure yourself about them and then stress out when you are falling behind. It's easy to make ADHD type issues turn into larger stress issues with related insomnia, irritability and panic which should be your goal to NOT have happen in the time before your appointemnt. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 10:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's very common for Adult ADD sufferers to have a problem with "temporal distortion" - basically not being able to consistently detect the passage of time.

The best way to combat this is to regularly (several times per day) take a guess at what time it is or how much time has passed from the last time you checked, and *then* look at the time to check how close you were. Continuous practice will get you much closer, although it'll never be perfect.
posted by Citrus at 10:20 AM on June 2, 2009

My husband has ADHD, and while he's on medication, he has cultivated other helpful habits.

- Putting his wallet/keys/phone in the same place every time when he comes home from work.
- Using the alarms on his cell phone (or a PDA) for everything.
- Asking people to email him information rather than relay it over the phone (when he's unable to write it down)
- Setting his medication on the nightstand with a glass of water so he can take it as soon as he wakes up (of course, the trouble is remembering the glass of water the night before)
posted by desjardins at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think the Data Link USB is virtually the only wristwatch option for this kind of thing.
posted by Theloupgarou at 12:00 PM on June 2, 2009

I have Adult ADHD, and am not on meds for it. I also have a Google Calendar account, and a cell phone with a text plan.

One thing I do is set an appointment in Goggle Calendar, then set reminders to be sent to my phone via the SMS function. If it's really important (like a doctor's visit or catching a plane), I may even have 3 or 4 reminders sent to me, but I definitely won't miss that appointment!

It may not be the most efficient way, but it works for me.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:54 PM on June 2, 2009

I have ADD, had it since I was a kid. Things that I've found useful:
A paper calendar in addition to an electronic one. I tried a PDA once and it just was another distraction. Look at the calendar every morning, carry it everywhere with you. Despite that, use the calendar function on your cell phone. It helps a lot. When you write something in the paper calendar, put it in your cell phone with a reasonable alarm. Train yourself to respond instantly to alarms and actually move when you hear them.

Aerobic exercise helps for a few hours afterwards.

If you do find a system that works, stick with it. After approximately 4-6 weeks the excitement fades and it becomes easier to forget what you were doing that worked. That's the hard period. If you push through it, you'll get the habit.

Caffeine- this will probably help, as it is a stimulant. Try not to get addicted, but if your concentration is really out the window, get a cup of coffee.

Get enough sleep. I'm bad about this, but 7-8 hours of sleep will do wonders to help combat ADD. Conversely, get 5 or less and you've just doubled the severity of your symptoms.

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it, figure out what you should have done and move on. Don't dwell on it, but do learn from it.

I hope that helps. A good book that I'm working with right now is Mastering Your Adult ADHD by Safren, Sprich, Perlman and Otto. It's meant to be used in conjunction with a therapist, but even on its own, it's useful.
posted by Hactar at 6:42 PM on June 2, 2009

As I've advised in other threads before, the key to managing yourself in this case is to simplify, simplify, simplify!

In regards to time management, my iPhone has been a lifesaver. It's quite easy to sync stuff back and forth and it's always on me. Appointments, notes, grocery lists, time sheets, phone numbers, the lot.

Make a plan every night for what you want to accomplish the next day. Organize it so that one task flows into another.

Label anything that you could forget about or lose. It seems a touch neurotic to some people, but I have actually labeled drawers and bookshelves around the house. This helps me know exactly what I'm looking at in seconds. No need to waste time rummaging through to see if it's what I need.

As for notebooks, I try to keep one at a time and write down all I need to in there. This eliminates the chance of me writing down some vital piece of information on a napkin and then losing track of it. If I'm feeling that the information is really important, I also type it into my iPhone.

I like desjardins' suggestions, especially having things relayed to you via email instead of phone whenever possible. One of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had is to try and recall an address or phone number that someone dictated to me after the fact. It's also nice to be able to go back and confirm something in black and white when you're foggy on a certain detail.
posted by arishaun at 10:32 PM on June 2, 2009

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