Welcome to my blog! Today, we're going to delve into a topic that affects many of us: ADHD and fatigue. Have you ever wondered why you feel tired all the time, even after a full night's sleep? Or do you find it difficult to muster up the motivation to start new tasks or socialize with friends? Don't worry, you're not alone. Even if you're doing everything right, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and meditating, you can still experience overwhelming fatigue. In this blog, we will explore the reasons behind this fatigue and discuss practical strategies to address it.
I, personally, have recently gone through a period of extreme fatigue that left me feeling worried and unmotivated. It got to the point where I couldn't find the purpose in doing anything. I wasn't even making videos anymore, and every idea seemed pointless. All I wanted to do was lie on the couch and binge-watch Netflix. If it weren't for my wedding planning during that time, I might have never gotten out of bed. To understand why I was feeling this way, I immersed myself in research, watched numerous videos, read research papers, and listened to podcasts by industry experts. Eventually, I discovered that fatigue, rather than depression, was the culprit. However, I must emphasize that self-diagnosis is not recommended. If you believe you need help, it's important to consult with your doctor and seek guidance from an experienced therapist. Nonetheless, I feel privileged to share the results of my research and experimentation with you, as I now feel like a whole new person.
Understanding Fatigue Symptoms:
Let's begin by recognizing the signs of fatigue. These include persistent tiredness, regardless of how much sleep you get; decreased motivation, making it difficult to perform even simple tasks like cleaning the house; difficulty concentrating, with frequent distractions throughout the task; memory problems, such as forgetting what you had for lunch; a foggy mind, experiencing all the aforementioned symptoms; muscle weakness, aches, and difficulty falling and staying asleep; a leaky gut; and extreme emotional changes, such as mood swings, irritability, and feeling physically and mentally drained. If you can relate to these symptoms, don't worry—I made this blog because I spent the last year thinking I was depressed. Had it not been for wedding planning, I might have spent my days on the couch. I will share more about my experience in future posts, but for now, let's focus on the connection between ADHD and fatigue.
Why People with ADHD Experience Fatigue:
People with ADHD often struggle to stay focused and manage their daily responsibilities. The constant battle to stick to schedules and to-do lists can take a toll on energy levels. It's like having an endless list of tasks running through your mind all the time. If you have ADHD, you may relate to feeling sleepy during the day, as studies have shown that adults with ADHD experience higher levels of fatigue compared to others. The severity of ADHD symptoms also correlates with the level of fatigue experienced.
Factors Contributing to Fatigue in ADHD: While the exact reasons for increased fatigue in individuals with ADHD are not fully understood and may vary from person to person, some general factors can contribute to it. One key factor is executive functioning difficulties. ADHD is characterized by impairments in executive functions, such as attention, organization, planning, and time management. Sustaining attention and staying focused throughout the day can be challenging, requiring constant effort to redirect our energy to the tasks at hand. Difficulties in managing relationships and regulating emotions can also lead to emotional exhaustion. All of these factors make it harder to regulate and manage energy levels, resulting in increased fatigue.
The Role of Dopamine and Cortisol:
To better understand fatigue in ADHD, let's take a closer look at two important chemicals in our bodies: dopamine and cortisol. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in motivation, reward, and attention. In individuals with ADHD, dopamine levels can be imbalanced, leading to decreased motivation and difficulty sustaining focus. Cortisol, on the other hand, is a stress hormone that helps us deal with challenges. However, in ADHD, cortisol levels can be dysregulated, leading to increased fatigue and a constant feeling of stress. Understanding these chemical imbalances can help us address fatigue effectively.
Practical tips on how to reduce cortisol:
1. If you're not going to meditate incorporate deep breathing As many times as possible through out the day! Make a deal with yourself, every time you pick up your phone to look at Instagram or TikTok, do 1 min of deep breathing before and 1 min after before you put your phone down. This little tip is so useful and it will stick because and it follows what we learnt from Atomic Habits video; it’s easy and it’s attached to something we do regularly anyway. So it should be easy to follow.
2. If you don’t want to exercise, taking walks in nature is a great way to get rid of the stress. Walking 30-40 minutes per day can do wonders for you.
3. If you're not going to sleep early, you can pay attention and develop a routine that you follow everyday, even the weekends. Once you establish a consistent sleep routine, your body will learn how to make the most our of your sleep. Also taking a quick luke warm shower & following a good sleep hygiene before bed will help the quality of your sleep.
4. If you don’t have time to cook, make the healthiest choices as possible.
5. If you’re going to drink coffee, drink the same amount everyday and don’t drink after 1 pm.
6. Socialize. Don’t put too much focus on the people you're socializing with instead focus on the act of socializing. This way you enjoy the time you spend with friends and family instead of stressing about the drama.
Vitamins and Minerals for Energy:
In addition to understanding the chemical imbalances, certain vitamins and minerals can support energy levels. These include B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating foods rich in these nutrients into your diet or considering supplements under professional guidance can help restore energy levels and alleviate fatigue.
The Importance of Gut Health:
Our gut health is closely linked to our overall well-being, including our energy levels. A healthy gut lining helps in the absorption of essential nutrients and supports a strong immune system. However, a condition called leaky gut, where the lining of the gut becomes permeable, can lead to inflammation and contribute to fatigue. Taking steps to repair and support our gut health, such as consuming probiotics, prebiotics, and reducing inflammatory foods, can have a positive impact on fatigue levels.
Living with ADHD can be challenging, and experiencing fatigue adds an extra layer of difficulty. However, understanding the factors contributing to fatigue and implementing strategies to address it can significantly improve your quality of life. By recognizing the symptoms, acknowledging the role of dopamine and cortisol, incorporating the right vitamins and minerals, and supporting your gut health, you can regain your energy and feel more vibrant. Remember, it's essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance on managing ADHD and fatigue.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this blog helps you on your journey to overcoming fatigue with ADHD. Stay tuned for more insightful content, and don't forget to take care of yourself!