ADHD and stress

10 October, 2017 / Mateusz

Even when we omit the aforementioned chain of actions and reactions and assume that a person with ADHD experiences nothing but sympathy from the environment, we must consider that stress would accumulate in such a person anyways. Why? Because the limitations caused by ADHD make the afflicted person experience a feeling of loss of control and frustration. Even further, it might result in apathy, sleep disorders and depression. Is it possible to function properly under such states? Most certainly not. That is why it is necessary to limit the amount of stress.

Good and bad stress

Stress itself is not bad in its nature. In moments of danger or in the need to prove oneself in a particular discipline, stress can help you focus, react more quickly and think more creatively.

When can stress be bad? First of all, excessive stress is highly detrimental – it is overwhelming and inhibiting instead of motivating. Secondly, long-term stress is damaging to a person undergoing stress for too long and is prone to:

  • autoimmune diseases (i.e. type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto, rheumatoid arthritis),
  • tics or Tourette syndrome,
  • fibromyalgia,
  • neurosis or depression,
  • heart and cardiovascular diseases and many others ailments.

Managing stress with ADHD disorders

How can a person with ADHD manage stress?

Maintaining stress at an appropriate level is hard. In order to master this, it is necessary to develop skills in the areas of:

  • efficient communication with the environment,
  • expressing one’s self aspirations and needs,
  • avoiding stressful situations,
  • problem solving.

Hence, it is worth taking care of your stress level on a day-to-day basis by applying well-proven solutions:

Relaxation techniques

Coping with stress can become much easier thanks to numerous relaxation techniques, such as meditation. Biofeedback might also prove helpful in order to minimize the level of stress.

Limiting stressors

In times of increased tension, it is worth reducing the influence of some stressors, i.e. by limiting the amount of extra-curricular activities or even giving them up for a specific period of time.

Adjusting activities to one’s own capabilities

Both children and adults ought to try to adjust their activities and work to their own capabilities. However, one ought to remember that such “adjusting” cannot restrict a person with ADHD but rather re-modulate his or her path of life. The aim is to use one’s strong sides as much as possible while taking weaknesses, predispositions, habits and preferences into account.

Let us remember that many famous people were able to reach their goals even despite the limitations resulting from ADHD (here are only some of the examples: painter – Salvador Dali, Agatha Christie – writer, physicist – Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway – traveler and writer, John Lennon –singer and many other marvelous characters).

Healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the first step for obtaining good wellbeing. Furthermore, optimistic approach can help cope with stress. How to live healthy? You ought to:

  • reduce caffeine and nicotine,
  • introduce a balanced diet,
  • exercise regularly,
  • get enough sleep.

Support from others

Above all, it is also worth seeking support from family members and friends as well as other persons with ADHD and therapists. A sense of acceptance and the opportunity to both share one’s problems with others and listen to them can support and help you cope with stress and self-limitations.

Bearing in mind that treating ADHD disorders ought to be conducted in accordance with recommendations by doctors and therapists (both pharmacological treatment and behavioral therapy), it is thus highly recommended to inform the attending physician about any changes that you plan to introduce into your lifestyle.