How can I speak if I have ADD? — ADD Tip o the day 163

Someone just called and asked for a prescription for propranolol for stage fright, anxiety before public speaking.  This is a beta blocker, often used by musicians and other performers before a performance.  It counter acts norepinephrine and blocks anxiety symptoms.

There are good strategies for coping with this problem and they are  particularly important for someone struggling with ADD or ADHD.  This person’s situation is a little unusual, in that he will be broadcasting on Skype – modern technology!  The strategies still apply with a little modification.

1. Get there early (get set up early).   Get familiar with the room and the set up.  Make sure you have all your papers,slides, props etc in order –  and that the AV system works!

2. As the audience comes in, or just before you start if they’re already there, go out and meet a few people.  Introduce yourself, ask why they’re there, what they’d like to hear, etc.  Now you are not speaking to a bunch of strangers.  (You can do this on Skype).

3.  Pick one or two friendly and interested looking faces in the audience and when you speak, talk to them, not to the audience.  (on the Skype, it would be great to have one or two friends in the room and talk to them rather than to the mike or the monitor.)

4. the old trick of course is to imagine your audience sitting there in their underwear.  they are not supreme court judges, they are just people like you, with their own troubles and anxieties.

the propranolol will help on occasion, but you don’t want to train your brain to believe that you can’t function without it. Use strategies.  Use the 3 deep breaths tool and the self talk tool for anxiety.


this applies to anyone with anxiety about public speaking. this particularly applies to add or adhd in the part of making sure you have everything you need and it’s all set up and is working properly, well before time to start.  You might wonder about tranquilizers/benzodiazapines – might work ok, might make you sleepy, groggy, forgetful, uncoordinated (avoid Xanax/alprazolam at all times-extremely addictive)

i am reposting this with a  better title  10/19/11

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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