Whats The Biology Behind The Adhd
ADHD sleep problems may be a side effect of impaired arousal, alertness, and regulation circuits in the brain. Other researchers believe that ADHD sleep problems can be traced to a delayed circadian rhythm with a later onset of melatonin production. Despite similarities between certain sleep disorders and ADHD symptoms, research has failed to find consistent sleep abnormalities in people with ADHD.
Some individuals find it easier to sleep with the calming effects of stimulant medications that are commonly prescribed for ADHD. However, for many people, stimulant medications cause a number of sleep problems in their own right. Co-existing disorders such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse, as well as poor sleep hygiene, likely also play a role in sleep difficulties.
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Do you feel like you cant focus on anything? Do your thoughts seem to scatter everywhere, and its hard to keep track of them?
Are you having trouble remembering things? If so, you might be experiencing ADHD brain fog.
Brain fog is a common symptom of ADHD that can make everyday tasks very difficult.
In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and remedies for ADHD mental fog.
We hope that this information will help you better understand this condition and find relief from the foggy thoughts!
So, lets get started.
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Difficulty Waking Up With Adhd
More than 80 percent of adults with ADHD in my practice report multiple awakenings until about 4 a.m. Then they fall into the sleep of the dead, from which they have extreme difficulty rousing themselves.
They sleep through two or three alarms, as well as the attempts of family members to get them out of bed. ADHD sleepers are commonly irritable, even combative when roused before they are ready. Many of them say they are not fully alert until noon.
Difficulty Finding The Right Words
People with ADHD may have difficulty keeping up in an argument, or getting their point across in the way they intend to. Sometimes the ADHD brain moves faster than you can speak, so words may be tripped over, clinical psychotherapist and ADHD expert Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, tells Bustle. Also, quite a few people with ADHD also have social anxiety, which can worsen this, she says. According to Meyer, the communication between the internal mind and the external mind can be fraught. People with ADHD might be in one place in their head, and another with their words. Often, its after the initial conversation that the internal and external minds sync up, which can be a disadvantage to someone in a heated debate verbal clarity comes after the conversation is over, even though the thoughts were already there.
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How Decision Fatigue Affects Different Areas Of Life
Struggling with frequent decision fatigue can make just about every part of your life more challenging. In your personal life, decision fatigue can put a lot of strain on your relationships.
If you tend toward impulsivity, you might not think through the things you say and end up saying something inconsiderate, offensive, or just not helpful. It can also lead to impulsive actionslike ordering that extra round of shots when you should have just called it a night or agreeing to foot the dinner bill even though you’re already over budget.
Impulsive decisions in the workplace can lead to mistakes and oversights in your work. The same is true for homework and class assignments if you’re a student.
Avoidance and procrastination can be just as harmful. If you often procrastinate or avoid giving a firm answer to friends about plans, they might assume it’s a lack of interest rather than decision fatigue. When your boss asks if you’d like to take on a new project, waiting too long could both signal a lack of ambition and hurt your chances of career advancement.
When All Else Fails Just Flip A Coin
Some decisions need to be made on the spot, like whether to say yes or no to the friend that just invited you out for a drink or which dish to pick from a menu at a restaurant. In these cases, when its not a major life decision and you cant afford to procrastinate, just let random chance decide.
Flip a coin and just go with what it tells you.
Should I get the chicken nuggets? No. Should I get the bacon cheeseburger? Yes. Youre done.
Similarly, you can crowd-source these decisions in some cases. Dont know what cocktail to order at a bar? Just ask the bartender to make you their favorite one. Dont know which sheets to put on the bed? Text a friend and ask them to pick a color.
As long as the consequences arent life-altering, its better to save your brain the effort by leaving it up to chance.
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It Can Be Difficult To Recognize Fatigue Until Were In Deep Though Especially When We Live With Adhd
So what to do? Everyones needs will be different, so check in with medical professionals to strategize around what habits will be most effective for you. But here are some general ones to get you started:
- Chill the hell out, in whatever way works. Work that stress out of your body with exercise, find some quiet with meditation, or get into a form of treatment that targets fatigue and sleep deprivation, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Energy levels are
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic disorder which involves the persistent state of feeling fatigued, tired and with no energy. People with CFS are subject to headaches, concentration issues, pain and cognitive difficulties.
Newer studies are finding that people suffering from CFS can sometimes meet criteria for ADHD as well! Both disorders are marked by inattention, lack of concentration and forgetfulness. More specifically, people with ADHD-Inattentive are susceptible to this overlap with CFS.
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Use Routines To Eliminate Cold Decisions
Sticking to a routine might sound like one of the most impossible things you could ask a person with ADHD to do, but when it comes to these everyday cold decisions we have to make, it can be easier to keep a routine than it is to overcome the paralysis of decision fatigue.
For example, I used to agonize over deciding what to eatthree meals a day, and they all have to be different? Are you kidding me?
You can eliminate that problem by making a meal plan for yourself. For best results, keep it simple. You dont really need seven different breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each week. You can get away with picking two or three dishes for each meal and then just alternating days.
In my case, I eat the same breakfast every day: fruit with yogurt. The only thing that changes is the type of fruit I add. It might sound monotonous, but its routine has made it so much easier to get myself to eat breakfast consistently because I dont have to think about it. Before I started meal planning, Id often skip meals entirely and wouldnt manage to feed myself until late at night. Now, its as automatic as making my coffee in the morning.
For lunch and dinner, I usually pick two recipes for each week from a list of go-to recipes that I like and know how to make. In most cases, theyre also recipes that I can easily make in bulk to reheat leftovers for the next day or two.
How To Prevent Adhd Fatigue
Although fatigue is a common symptom of attention deficit disorder, you can prevent it. Be sure to talk to a medical professional about the most effective habits you may use.
Below are some tips to get you started:
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Should You Consider Ritalin For Me/cfs
While research does suggest a connection, ADHD pharmaceuticals are not typically prescribed for chronic fatigue that’s not caused by ME/CFS. Some healthcare providers do prescribe ADHD medications off-label for ME/CFS, and these drugs work for some people.
If you are experiencing difficulty with staying focused and attentive, and especially if you’re depressed, this may be a medication to bring up with your healthcare provider.
Difficulty Falling Asleep With Adhd
About three-fourths of all adults with ADHD report the inability to shut off my mind so I can fall asleep at night. Many describe themselves as night owls who get a burst of energy when the sun goes down. Others report that they feel tired throughout the day, but as soon as the head hits the pillow, the mind clicks on. Their thoughts jump or bounce from one worry to another. Unfortunately, many of these adults describe their thoughts as racing, prompting a misdiagnosis of a mood disorder, when this is nothing more than the mental restlessness of ADHD.
Prior to puberty, 10 to 15 percent of children with ADHD have trouble getting to sleep. This is twice the rate found in children and adolescents who do not have ADHD. This number dramatically increases with age: 50 percent of children with ADHD have difficulty falling asleep almost every night by age 12 ½ by age 30, more than 70 percent of adults with ADHD report that they spend more than one hour trying to fall asleep at night.
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How Does Adhd Affect The Brain
There is still much to learn aboutADHD and the brain. However, we do know that ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects the way the brain functions.
People with inattentive type ADHD have difficulty focusing and concentrating, controlling their impulses, and regulating their emotions.
ADHD can also affect a persons working memory and ability to learn.
The cause of ADHD is still unknown, but researchers believe it may be caused by genetic factors, environmental influences, or both.
How Do People With Adhd Wake Up
Many adults with ADHD report trouble staying asleep, in particular, multiple awakenings until about 4 am, at which point they fall into a deep sleep from which they have extreme difficulty awakening. They will sleep through multiple alarms, and are commonly irritable, or even combative when woken up before they are ready. Many feel they are not fully awake and alert until later in the day.
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Adhd Drugs For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Could drugs meant for hyperactive children be an effective treatment for chronically fatigued adults? As illogical as it sounds, they might be.
Some healthcare providers prescribe attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs for their patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and say they’ve seen positive results. We have a growing body of evidence to back this up, although more research is needed.
These drugs are classified as neurostimulators, which means that they stimulate brain activity. They’re used for ADD/ADHD because, paradoxically, they have a calming effect on ADD/ADHD brains. Given that, it makes more sense that they’d be helpful in a condition defined by fatigue.
The most popular neurostimulators are:
- Ritalin and Concerta, which contain methylphenidate
- Dexedrine, which contains dextroamphetamine
- Adderall, which contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
- Vyvanse, which contains lisdexamfetamine
Tips For Dealing With Adhd Fatigue And Burnout
Those are just a few examples of why ADHD fatigue is real, and our stigmas and beliefs surrounding ADHD play a part in how we relate to aspects of our treatment. For this reason, I want you to keep the following tips in mind when you come across this in your life:
- Focus on your needs, and listen to your mind and body if you become overly hard on yourself, or find yourself not able to sleep, or experience other signs of burnout. Take the time needed to acknowledge those symptoms through practicing skills such as self-awareness and acceptance.
- Practice being mindful of positive and negative emotions, and remember that sometimes its ok to not be ok. Use tools such as healthy self-talk, and the SMART to approach to setting goals. These are great tools and helpful for creating healthy routines.
- Take time to acknowledge your own stigmas surrounding self-care, and remember, self-compassion is way more helpful than self-loathing.
- Learn psychological tools such as grounding techniques, and dont make excuses for skipping doctor appointments, because your treatment is a vital part of your wellbeing.
- Technology can help with burnout, as well there are plenty of apps out there such as Youper, that are incredibly helpful to track thoughts and feelings through journaling and CBT exercises.
- Setting a time each night to disconnect read or do whatever you find relaxing. Watch your screen time though! It affects the quality of your sleep and thats important for everyone.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Adhd In Adults
In adults, attention deficit disorder often looks quite different than it does in childrenand its symptoms are unique for each individual. The following categories highlight common symptoms of adult ADHD. Do your best to identify the areas where you experience difficulty. Once you pinpoint your most problematic symptoms, you can start implementing strategies for dealing with them.
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Hot Vs Cold Decisions
When the choices are emotionally charged enough, we can act on instinct and intuition rather than consciously and methodically processing information. Intuitive “hot” decision-making like that is exactly where people with ADHD usually excel.
I have often noticed that while I can get easily overwhelmed in typical situations, I tend to feel calmer, and my thinking seems clearer in moments of crisis. Once, while I was still learning to cook, I accidentally started a grease fire in my oven. I’d spaced and forgotten to cover the ribs to prevent splatter.
When my non-ADHD roommate saw the flames, she froze in panic, unable to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, I sprang into action. I sent a friend out to find a neighbor with a fire extinguisher since we didn’t have one, tasked my panicked roommate with going outside and calling the fire department, all while I went to get our very frightened cat into his pet carrier so we could all get away from the fire until it was extinguished.
Within a few minutes, we’d secured a fire extinguisher, and the situation was under control without any serious injuries or damage. I then ordered a fire extinguisher to keep in our apartment for any future emergencies.
We’re not putting out literal fires most of the time, though. Most days, we’re making thousands of emotionally-neutral decisions like what to eat, what to wear, what to watch on TV, and how many bagels to bring to the morning meeting.
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We Feel Guilty For Resting
When weâre already combating a stereotype of laziness, many of us feel guilty about resting. It can feel easier to be in constant motion because it feels safer to be doing something than risk the judgment that can come with doing ânothing.â
We might even believe that if we were to allow ourselves to rest, we would never get anything done, because we would struggle to get started again . The irony is that denying yourself rest is the quickest route to exhaustion, and can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. It can be hard to pump the brakes and practice rest when there are so many negative associations with it. After a lifetime of being told to âtry harder,â it can feel counterintuitive and even impossible to try less and rest more.
Restless Sleep With Adhd
When individuals with ADHD finally fall asleep, their sleep is restless. They toss and turn. They awaken at any noise in the house. They are so fitful that bed partners often choose to sleep in another bed. They often awake to find the bed torn apart and covers kicked onto the floor. Sleep is not refreshing and they awaken as tired as when they went to bed.
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Practice Saying No Without Apology
You canât be everything to everyone, and your capacity is not limitless, no matter what your brain tells you. Give yourself full permission to say âno, I canât,â âI donât have time for that,â âIâm not available at that time,â and every other variation on that. You may disappoint someone, sure! But you arenât responsible for managing other peopleâs emotions.