Managing ADHD as an Expat

January 2024
As an expat managing ADHD, the challenges that come with moving to a new country can sometimes exacerbate your symptoms. Combined with being further away from your usual support network, it can all leave you feeling even more overwhelmed than usual. We are here to help you thrive in your new host country despite these challenges. We cover simple and effective ways to manage ADHD while living abroad.

Managing ADHD abroad may pose unique challenges compared to managing it back home.. In your new host country, the availability of doctors with experience in treating ADHD may vary. If you depend on medical support from a doctor or psychologist, it is advisable to plan for your medical care well in advance before you relocate.


Look out for expat forums and expat support groups for those managing ADHD in your host country. Finding these local resources abroad will only help make your relocation as smooth a transition as possible. 

Managing ADHD at work can sometimes be a juggling act. It can create extra challenges when it comes to getting your work done on time, meeting deadlines, sitting still in meetings or managing cultural differences. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective coping strategies for expats managing ADHD. This may involve creating a structured routine, breaking tasks into smaller manageable chunks, or utilising tools such as task timers to stay organised.

A key aspect of managing ADHD as an expat is self-awareness. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses related to ADHD will help you manage it effectively. Knowing what you need to improve on can help you tailor your approach to work. 


When you get to know your strengths, you can also start to introduce them into your role. Maybe you are energetic and creative, which might mean you are more suited to drive innovative projects in your team. The more you get to know yourself, the more you can find joy in your unique perspective, helping you manage symptoms and thrive in expat life.

Having a consistent routine can be very helpful in maintaining focus and productivity at work. If your routine changes frequently, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. A good way to boost your productivity is to establish a regular schedule for starting work and taking breaks.
When you have important tasks with tight deadlines, you need to minimise your distractions at work. Turn off your phone and shut down notifications during your work hours. You can also schedule specific times during the day to check your calls and chat with colleagues, without letting it interfere with your other work priorities.

Make sure you have a clean and clear workspace - that means clearing any extra paperwork or additional clutter. Cleaning up your space will help to free yourself of any other unwanted distractions. 

Next, you will want to make sure your space is optimal for comfort. Avoid sitting at an awkward angle. Adjust your desk and chair accordingly. It's much easier to focus when you're comfortable. Sometimes sitting with ADHD can make you feel restless. Having a chair that gives you a little more freedom to move around can help with this. Wobble stools are highly recommended for people with ADHD who must sit for long periods during the day. 

If you are struggling to keep up with work, consider talking to your employer about additional accommodations. This could include flexible working arrangements or extra time to complete tasks.
Individuals who struggle to manage ADHD symptoms can often deal with bouts of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. To combat these feelings, try introducing some stress management techniques into your daily routine. Prioritise eating well, getting regular sleep and exercising a couple of times a week. This combination can really help you stay calm and manage any anxious thoughts.  
Expats who have international health insurance with Allianz Partners will have access to our Expat Assistance Programme that offers 24/7 confidential professional counselling - available face-to-face or via phone, video, email and online chat. Prioritise your mental wellbeing as you navigate the unique challenges of managing ADHD as an expatriate.