Things That Make Your ADHD Worse

Living with and managing ADHD can be difficult.  It affects every facet of your life and can be rather intrusive.  Symptoms can appear or worsen for what seems to be no reason at all, which can be frustrating.  While there isn’t a cure for ADHD, you can be mindful of your habits and other things that can trigger it.  There may be everyday activities, items, or places you never thought about as a cause for symptoms. It’s important to take those things into consideration and attempt to understand what may be affecting you. It can help you to better manage your condition and improve your life.


Eating Habits


Everyone knows that a healthy diet is important, but it may also be a part of managing your symptoms.  While there hasn’t been a complete agreement on the subject, studies suggest that certain artificial food colorings can cause hyperactivity.  These additives are often found in junk food where excess amounts of sugar and calories can also be found. All three of these things may lead to an increase in symptoms, so it’s important to check the labels on the products you’re purchasing and take that into consideration.  


It’s also extremely important to eat breakfast.  It can be a challenge when meds interfere with an appetite, but even some fruit or yogurt is better than nothing at all; though, it’s always better to sit down and eat if you can.  Eating breakfast has been shown to prolong attentiveness as you get your day started. It’s also important to note that eating meals on a regular schedule throughout the day helps to improve overall mental health.     


Caffeine intake can also influence symptoms.  Just like there are stimulants in some medications to help with ADHD, the caffeine in coffee and tea can act in the same manner.  Inattentive behavior and symptoms of hyperactivity may be lessened with caffeine intake. So, if you stop your morning tea or coffee, it may make your symptoms worse. 




A messy home or office can increase symptoms of ADHD.  Clutter can be overwhelming and distract from the task at hand.  It’s best to declutter before you start your work. Piles of paper, laundry, or other messes can remind you of things you have to do.  Clutter can cause unnecessary worry over projects you’ve been putting off which will decrease productivity.


Hoarding and impulse buying can also lead to a cluttered home and increased symptoms.  It can be difficult to curb impulse purchasing that eventually leads to hoarding and other problems.  To combat this, you can try following the “one in, one out” rule. Whenever you bring a new item home, you get rid of an old one.  


General location may also be a trigger for symptoms.  Your body associates certain areas with certain activities.  So, the environment you’re in can have a big impact The places that trigger symptoms are different for everyone, but once you learn the locations that affect you, you can avoid them and help prevent the problem.  




Exercise and being active are part of healthy living, but did you know they can have an impact on your ADHD?   Inactivity can harm cognitive functions. Regular exercise can lead to an increase in memory and decrease certain behavioral problems.  Even just walking for thirty minutes a day has been shown to help relieve symptoms associated with ADHD.


Sleep is another habit that is important to mental health.  When people don’t get enough sleep, they tend to become less attentive and more prone to making mistakes.  There is also drowsiness, which can be difficult to combat on its own. Hyperactivity may occur when the body attempts to combat the feelings of sluggishness.  So, it’s important to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.


In the modern world, we’re always on the go and often looking at our phones.  Excess time with electronic devices has been known to aggravate ADHD symptoms, and Internet addiction can cause a major issue as well; though, there is no concrete link between the two. We do know, however, that the blue light from screens is disruptive to normal sleeping patterns.


Other Causes


It’s always important to discuss things with your doctor, especially when it comes to medications.  Certain prescriptions for one illness may make your ADHD worse, and habits or lifestyle problems may prevent medications from working correctly.  So, look closely at your symptoms and lifestyle; it might be that you’re not being treated correctly and need a different plan.


Therapy can also be an important tool in managing symptoms.  Some people do well with either medication or therapy; others require both.  There is no right or wrong when treating your mental health, but quitting therapy may be a bad idea for some.  You might feel with a combination of medications and therapy that your ADHD is under control and you no longer need therapy, but stopping either of these may cause your symptoms to worsen.


This isn’t an exhaustive list of occurrences and habits that may affect you, but it’s still good to take them into consideration and do your own research.  Everyone is different, after all, and what bothers you may not bother someone else with the same condition.

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