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ADHD and Stress

Posted by on Oct. 12, 2009 at 11:45 PM
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Can ADHDcause stress? Can stress cause ADHD? Does it turn into a vicious cycle? How can you stop the cycle? Whether you're looking for information about ADHD and stress for children, teens, or adults, find answers here.

Is ADHD Linked to Stress?

It's not surprising that anyone dealing with ADHD might also have to deal with stress. ADHD symptoms, such as having trouble focusing attention or hyperactivity, can lead to frustration, a sure set-up for stress. ADHD may also be accompanied by other mental health conditions -- conditions that are also linked to stress:

  • Depression
  • Negative thoughts
  • Feeling anxious
  • Having trouble sleeping

Which is the cause and which is the result? No one really knows for sure. But that doesn't mean you can't take steps now to address stress in the midst of dealing with ADHD.

Why Worry About ADHD and Stress?

Everyone feels stress. Stress helps you focus on something that requires attention -- and that's good. It can make you work harder and react quicker. Otherwise you might stumble into something dangerous.

Stress becomes bad when it overwhelms your ability to act. When stress levels remain high for long periods, problems like depression and heart disease can result.

So what's the connection between stress and ADHD? ADHD presents ongoing challenges that can make stress and frustration grow out of control. If you have ADHD and a lot of unmanaged stress, it could raise your risk of some health problems, such as:

  • Worsening of related health issues, such as tics or Tourette's syndrome
  • Depression or anxiety attacks
  • Physical problems such as fibromyalgia

ADHD and Stress in Children

Anyone with ADHD -- children, teens, and adults -- can do a lot to manage stress. These strategies can be adapted for any age.

Follow through on ADHD treatment

Follow through on the ADHD treatment plan, whether it's medication or behavior therapy. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan.

Learn stress management skills

You can learn the skills needed to deal effectively with stress. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Strategies for dealing with stressful situations
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Learning to speak up for yourself and your needs

Develop relaxation techniques

Learn techniques for meditation, prayer, or relaxation. Biofeedback may also be useful to help monitor your level of stress and how you respond to it.

Remove stressors when appropriate

Some stressors can simply be removed. Others can be avoided. For example, for a child with ADHD you may want to schedule play dates with only one other child and monitor the play closely. A teen or adult may want to cut back on extra activities during stressful times.

Take control of your life wherever you can

This can be especially helpful to children and teens who often feel lack of control. Teens, for example, should be part of any school planning team that reviews the student's educational needs and plans.

by on Oct. 12, 2009 at 11:45 PM
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