ChatGPT, ADHD, & Me

A practical guide to using Generative AI to manage ADHD symptoms


4 min read

Some time back, I had a conversation with Bart Farrell (of Data on Kubernetes Community fame) on his ADHme/ADHwe podcast about the general topic of how ChatGPT can be used to help with a range of ADHD symptoms (and of course, since it's a podcast by two ADHD people about ADHD, it went to a billion other places too! :D)

Here was that discussion, if you're curious!

(Major shout-out here to Dusty Chipura, a renowned ADHD coach who has been indispensably helpful to my journey of understanding executive dysfunction, ADHD, and how to manage it. ๐Ÿ’–)

Since I recognize that the idea of using essentially "autocomplete on steroids" to tackle real, tangible challenges with executive dysfunction might seem a bit far-fetched, I wanted to also complement that interview with a few specific, pragmatic examples (backed up with "receipts") of how I manage some of my ADHD symptoms with ChatGPT.

Analysis Paralysis

ADHD Analysis Paralysis comic

This is basically me, with everything, but in this one particular instance, with flowers. ๐Ÿ˜…

You see, I was going to be out of the country while my partner underwent a very stressful exam. I wanted to buy her some "good luck" flowers before I left. The only problem is, I know absolutely nothing about flowers. ๐Ÿ˜…

My general go-to with "analysis paralysis" is to either "deep dive" into research, and make a whole-ass spreadsheet for every single little stupid decision, or else shuffle around a store aimlessly for 20 minutes peering intently at every single option, feeling anxious and stressed out.

Instead, in this case, I used ChatGPT.

Sweet. But see previous problem of not knowing anything about flowers. ๐Ÿ˜… Once again, ChatGPT (well, DALL-E) to the rescue:

Now I go find the closest thing in the store to this!

A task that would normally have taken 3 hours instead took 3 minutes (and I was able to spend part of that time difference writing out the card :)).


Productivity Anxiety

A variation of analysis paralysis is difficulty with prioritization, especially when there are so many things to prioritize that you find yourself in a state of overwhelm.

Once again, ChatGPT to the rescue!

(Note: I couldn't find my initial chat so this is kind of a re-enactment.)

Ok buddy, you asked for it! *cracks knuckles*

There ya go. Good ol' ChatGPT whipping out an Eisenhower Matrix to save the day!

(Which is particularly helpful, since in a state of overwhelm you are absolutely never in your life going to have the wherewith-all to search for something called an "Eisenhower Matrix" :P)

Task initiation

May be a cartoon of one or more people and text that says 'have a hard time starting a new task @SENSINGGREATNESS Same What should we do? Wait til our brain senses urgency and releases the necessary dopamine What do we do while waiting? Feel overwhelmed'

Another reason you might be feeling overwhelmed is because you have absolutely no idea how to start. ChatGPT can help here too, acting in a "Body Doubling" or "Rubber Ducking" capacity.

Here's an opener for you:

ChatGPT: Always at the ready to assist! :)

<sound advice snipped for brevity>

Emotional Dysregulation

It can be tough for anyone to for example receive critical feedback at work even when you tried your best, or for a misunderstanding with a friend to blow up into an argument and ruin your whole week. However, that toughness can be magnified 1000-fold for those who struggle with emotional regulation (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is an extreme version of this and is common among ADHD folk).

ChatGPT however can take emotion out of an emotionally-charged situation, and also give you sound assessment on the situation and practical advice on what to do.

(Here's another "invented" example, I don't really want my own to be public. ;))

Some of the advice ChatGPT dispenses can be kinda generic, but there can be things in there that resonate with your situation. And either way, the conversation as it plays out can help steer you from angst and overwhelm to something more measured and solutions-oriented.

How about ChatGPT, ADHD, and YOU?

Have you used ChatGPT (or some other AI Assistant) to help you manage symptoms of ADHD? If so, what are some of your tips and tricks?