The Life Empowerment Center


Professionals Working with ADHD: Avoid Intervention Fatigue

Original Photo Under My Branding by Matthew Henry

Original Photo Under My Branding by Matthew Henry

Intervention fatigue occurs when a person diagnosed with ADHD makes many attempts to get help, yet does not get the right help. It can look like helplessness, or powerlessness — a result of exhaustion from years of seeking help. Intervention fatigue can also be a result of misdiagnosis or lack of proper ADHD diagnosis.

Many professionals are not aware of Intervention Fatigue. The fact is, unfortunately, many professionals create more of an issue. They either do not recognize the symptoms of ADHD, or do not know enough to effectively help. This creates further frustration and feelings of defeat for those diagnosed, resulting in the PTSD-like Emotional Distress Syndrome (EDS) of ADHD. The EDS feeds the frustration, and the frustration compounds. This chronic state of disruption creates more issues over the lifetime of the person with ADHD.

The Intervention Fatigue cycle also makes professionals feel frustrated when their clients do not make progress. This leads to a feeling of “I can only help you so much.” From there, the therapy begins recycling feelings of hopelessness and triggers the EDS of ADHD further. This scenario leaves both professional and client feeling frustrated, defeated, and stuck in a cycle of little to no progress. Clients lose trust in themselves, and in our profession, that is tragic.

To help eliminate Intervention Fatigue, I am currently training 10 therapists in my methodology. One of them told me about an angry and resistant teenager. This teen client became active and engaged once the therapist pulled out the DSM-V. He and his client talked about ADHD together. Then his client revealed how hard his life had been, and how he felt like he was finally heard for the first time in his life. This activity helps a client find their voice and feel empowered to navigate their life with ADHD. It is an important part of the process for helping those with ADHD.

How Professionals Can Prevent Intervention Fatigue

When professionals learn about avoiding intervention fatigue, clients get better faster. Using this process has worked well for my clients:

  1. Begin by asking about Intervention Fatigue with clients. Ask how often they have felt frustrated or defeated in looking for help with their ADHD. This opens up a listening and trusting space that clients rarely have felt from others.

  2. The next step is to educate clients about what ADHD is and is not, in real terms. I teach professionals to go over the DSM-V criteria in detail with clients. This sets up a space of dialogue and debate about how ADHD shows up for them in their lives.

  3. Once clients clearly understand the diagnosis, setting up a regular agenda works well. Review how clients are doing in certain areas. Work to assist them in personalizing strategies that work for them. Do not assume a person diagnosed with ADHD is going know how to ask for what they need. The short sightedness, or under activity, of their executive functioning is what prevents this. They can learn to set agendas and personalize strategies. Professionals must be willing to teach them over a period of time.

I encourage professionals working with ADHD to create this very powerful tool box:

  • Set up treatment protocols to educate, direct actions, and teach empowerment

  • Perform an intake that overviews the client’s entire life

  • Help clients make sense of their ADHD

  • Write diagnostic summaries in plain language to help clients avoid confusion

  • Empower clients with effective meditation skills. Teach them the science of the mind’s powerful imagination in ways that are real and tangible

Learn Best Practices for Managing ADHD

My clients with ADHD tell me they no longer feel broken. They understand they process information differently than others. They understand how to ask for help. They sleep better, many for the first time in their lives. They learn to relax and not stay in their pain. They stand in the face of their ADHD storms knowing how to weather them powerfully.

Once professionals understand Intervention Fatigue and ADHD, their professional skills rise dramatically. Understanding the key factors to treating ADHD leads to happier clients. At the very least, professionals must work to not inadvertently harm their clients by not knowing what to do when a client is diagnosed with ADHD. Professionals can become powerful agents of change by getting trained on best practices for ADHD. My online ADHD training/consultation model for professionals begins in 2019. Join my mailing list to learn more about how you can best help those with ADHD.

James Ochoa1 Comment