ADHD and Fatigue

You’re always tired… could it be related to ADHD?

We all get tired every now and then, with work schedules, responsibilities and unexpected life stressors that always seem to get in the way of things. It makes sense to be tired if you slept three hours every night during finals (it makes sense but it’s still unhealthy). However, some people are constantly feeling tired, fatigued and worn out regardless of sleep that they get.

Would you believe me if I said that fatigue or constantly feeling tired can actually be a symptom of ADHD, the disorder known for “hyperactivity” and “impulsivity”?Hyperactivity and Impulsivity are just two facets of ADHD and actually, feeling fatigued and tired is strongly connected to the way ADHD affects your body.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a chronic disorder which involves the persistent state of feeling fatigued, tired and with no energy. People with CFS are subject to headaches, concentration issues, pain and cognitive difficulties.

Newer studies are finding that people suffering from CFS can sometimes meet criteria for ADHD as well! Both disorders are marked by inattention, lack of concentration and forgetfulness.  More specifically, people with ADHD-Inattentive are susceptible to this overlap with CFS. 

ADHD and Fatigue (Constant Fatigue Syndrome)

CFS and ADHD can both be caused by the brain being unable to regulate certain neurotransmitters like dopamine or serotonin. This makes it harder for the brain to focus or concentrate, something present in both ADHD and CFS. Understanding ADHD-Inattentive type, better explains how ADHD and fatigue can be closely related!

Sometimes if ADHD goes untreated it can possibly turn into CFS. People shouldn’t just assume they have CFS if they feel tired because perhaps they left their ADHD untreated too long. A lot of times people with inattentive ADHD don’t realize they have ADHD because they may be more quiet and passive which is not quintessential ADHD behavior. Inattentive ADHD type is marked by concentration issues but more day dreaming, sluggish and slow behavior unlike ADHD impulsive/ hyperactive. 

Studies are also showing that ADHD stimulant medication can also be used to treat cognitive deficits caused by CFS. This overlap of medication and diagnosis is further supporting this new theory that ADHD and fatigue are related.

Why is this important?

It is really important for people to be aware that feeling fatigued and tired all the time can actually be related to ADHD. ADHD is associated with attentional issues but other side effects are related. Someone may assume they just have CFS or they are just worn out but really they may have ADHD left untreated.

Tips to feel Rested

  1.  If you are taking medication, remain consistent. Remember to take it every day to give yourself an extra boost. When you don’t take your medication as always you can feel more worn out
  2. Give yourself little “boosts”. Take time to exercise, get a massage or just amp in the day!
  3. Don’t stay up late! set up a bed time routine and remember how important it is
  4. If you feel really fatigued see a doctor and determine what really is going on. Maybe your not the naturally exhausted person you thought you were!


Work Cited