Your ADHD Mind: Learning how to recognise what triggers your ADHD symptoms

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There is no cure for ADHD.  But it is entirely possible to minimise the effect your ADHD symptoms can have on your everyday life.  Some common triggers include sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, overstimulation and certain foods.  Once you understand and recognise what is triggering your symptoms, you have more control over managing the impact they have on you.  

As with any neurodiverse condition, everyone is different.  What triggers our symptoms and the way we react is completely different.  So here are some steps to in learning how to recognise what triggers your ADHD symptoms.  

Sleep Deprivation 

It’s so important to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  When we’re tired it can cause all sorts of problems.  But for someone with ADHD, it can lead to a decline in our work, lack of concentration, slower reactions, mistakes happening, forgetfulness and lethargy.  In others, it can come out as hyperactivity to compensate from feeling tired.  By having enough sleep each and every night, we allow our minds and bodies to rest.  Giving us the best chance to make each day count.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common triggers when it comes to ADHD.  When we don’t find ways to manage our stress and anxiety levels, they can become out of control.  Not only can this reduce our quality of life, but it can often make us physically ill too.  Unmanaged stress and anxiety act as cofactors in ADHD, bringing with them other symptoms on top of your existing ADHD symptoms.  These can include things such as: 

  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviours
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
  • Change to eating habits
  • Worsening of existing health problems such as IBS, eczema, psoriasis

By identifying what is causing us to feel stressed or anxious gives us a much better chance of putting steps in place to managing these triggers.

Overstimulation

Another common trigger can be overstimulation by sights or sounds going on around us that makes us feel overwhelmed.  Maybe you’re someone who feels uncomfortable in loud and crowded places.  Or perhaps the complete opposite of trying to be still and quiet in somewhere like a library or cinema.  By understanding what causes us to feel overstimulated, we can, where possible, avoid certain places OR find ways to adapt.  Perhaps going to these places on a different day or time when they are less busy or asking someone to come with you for moral support or someone who helps you to feel calm and relaxed.  

Foods

Eating a varied and healthy diet can help us both our physical and mental health.  It’s worth paying attention to whether there are any specific food or drinks that cause your symptoms to exacerbate.  If you recognise a certain food is triggering you to become more hyperactive than normal, as an example, make a note of it and try to avoid it from your diet.  For some suggestions on foods to include and avoid, read my blog ‘How your diet can affect symptoms of ADHD’.

While you’re trying to figure this all out, remember to be patient with yourself.  There are no quick wins.  However, by learning more about the way your mind works, what your symptoms are, how they are triggered and the way you react to things can certainly help to make everyday life so much better for you.  If you’re ready to start living your best life, to get your ADHD mind working with you and find techniques to help manage your symptoms, then book in for an assessment consultation today.  If you want to find out more about how my sessions work and how I can help you first, then get in touch with me here.