Does ADHD cause stress? Do they feed off one another and leave those with this brain type in a vicious cycle? Stress and ADHD are linked, and the more demanding your life and responsibilities, the more you may be intensifying your ADHD symptoms.
The Link Between Stress and ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD like trouble focusing, impulsivity, restlessness, hyperactivity, and poor organizational skills are likely to cause more stress in your life.
If you lack the coping mechanisms and habits to overcome these things, then yes, your stress level could be elevated.
Stress Causes More Challenges
So, you’re stressed out. You have ADHD, and you’re looking for a way out. Where can you find comfort? All too often, stress causes overeating, which causes even more complications.
When stress persists, the adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol, which increase appetite. Not only does it drive you to want to eat more, it also impacts your choices. Many studies have shown that high emotional and physical distress increases the desire for foods high in fat, sugar, or both.
Stress is also linked to inflammation. A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that the effects of psychological stress inhibits the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. This makes sense since those with stressful lives often complain about physical ailments.
Further, research has found that stress plays a leading role in additional health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Premature death
What to Do About Stress and ADHD?
Stress is bad for you. That we’ve certainly confirmed. But as humans, we can’t realistically live a stress-free life. The fact that you have ADHD can only make the world more stressful. However, there are things you can do to reclaim your life and manage stress better.
- Talk about how you feel with a therapist, ADHD coach, or confidant
- Meditate regularly (take lots of deep breaths!)
- Exercise at least 30 minutes every day (you don’t have to hit the gym but at least consider a walk)
- Focus on being present in the moment
- Reframe the situation (find a more peaceful perspective even in times of high stress)
- Develop more effective problem-solving (you can learn this by working with an ADHD coach)
- Formulate strategies on how to deal with situations that rachet up the stress
- Be a self-advocate (speak up for yourself and your needs)
- Eat a balanced diet
- Get restful sleep every night
Stress and ADHD don’t have to be the “power couple” that rule your life. You can find a better way to deal with the everyday episodes of life. If you’d like help, then explore how ADHD coaching could get you on a new path.