View Full Version : ADD and Eating Disorders

08-23-11, 08:12 PM

Very interesting article about the increased incidence of anorexia and bulimia in ADD'ers.

It caught my eye b/c my SIL is ADD, and she has struggled with bulimia since the late 80's. I dunno, it's like another sign post in a heap of sign posts. Too bad her parents didn't understand ADD. Treating her ADD has helped the bulimia a lot!

08-24-11, 12:11 PM
This is a cool find! I suffered from Bulumia and Anorexia but now I've just recently been diagnosed with ADD-PI

08-25-11, 12:55 AM
I have anorexia and ADD and I feel like there were so many girls I've been in treatment with that have ADD symptoms. When I was finally medicated for my ADD my eating disorder symptoms improved drastically. Im not "cured" but I've done a lot more work in therapy since!

La Sleepy
01-28-12, 01:06 PM
C-digs, I have the same diagnoses that you do, although major depression and anorexia were the main ones that got me hospitalized in 1982 (for way over a year) and between 1980 and 1982 they tried every medication they could think of, even haldol added into the mix. Nothing worked, ever, And back then the side effects of some of those meds were horrific. Then they sent me to a psychopharmocologist for just one visit (literally drove me to his office from the mental hospital in Pasadena) and he had the results of days of intensive testing they had done, IQ and every psychological test they had. He put me on dexedrine and nardil with a lot of restoril and a lot of ativan with about 10 mg of ativan prn a day.

This was the magic bullet for me. Like you said, it didn't cure my anorexia (which later morphed into bulimia) but it made my life literally new. And the only reason I can think of that I would finally snap together like that within a few days of the new medications is that I had ADD - inattentive type in the mix of all my other disorders.

I tried to get my records from that hospital and they said they haven't kept them from that far back.

I think that the anorexia rituals of tightly controlled eating and exercise and focus on your own body is probably a way of coping with the out of control feeling of untreated ADD. You find one area in your life that you can have real control over and it gives you a sense of mastery that you couldn't get from anything else.

Anorexia never goes away completely, as you all know, but it gets so much better with time if treated. For those of you struggling with it in your teens, 20''s and 30's, it's pretty bad, but for most of us, it really gets better after 35.

The bulimia is a tricky thing. I think it is influenced enormously by medication and by life circumstances.

La Sleepy
01-28-12, 01:09 PM
I'm afraid to even go look at any kind of eating disorder forum because I'm going to get sucked back into it by reading about it.

01-31-12, 10:28 AM
I'm afraid to even go look at any kind of eating disorder forum because I'm going to get sucked back into it by reading about it.

I have the same problem. My other meds have caused weight gain and I'm becoming obsessive and very crazy over my weight again. I'm afraid I'll start going back to ED forums again. I also have a friend who is struggling with anorexia and that's bringing me back down the same road again.

01-31-12, 10:02 PM
Bulimia is a terrible terrible disorder. I do not wish it on anyone. That being said help is definitely possible. When I was put on medication for adhd and depression 2 years ago it was like turning off a switch. Good luck to any men and women struggling with eating disorders. I know it can be hell.

01-31-12, 10:47 PM
I've always been considered "underweight", but it was never really seen as a problem. I have however been putting it on rapidly in the last year or so. I seem to find myself eating more out of boredom these days.

01-31-12, 10:52 PM
Sorry I meant our lives back!!

And thanks to anyone who has read my post!

You think people with ADHD have never tried the diet approach?

I consume omega-3 fish oils on a daily basis and although they're extremely healthy for the mind and i'd strongly encourage anybody to take them.... they do NOT cure ADHD.

ADHD isn't something thats curable. Anybody who claims to have found a "cure" or to have "cured" it themselves, never had ADHD in the first place.

06-18-12, 02:15 AM
Thanks Impetus for posting the article!! I have an ED and have been in treatment for a while. I've wondered for years if those were connected. It wasn't until I began seeing a shrink for the ED that I got diagnosed with ADD. I, like most of you, got better EDwise once I got meds for the ADD. It's so nice to be able to focus on "normal" things instead of trying to trick myself into thinking I can focus just fine by overly focusing on weight.

KUDOS to those who posted who are working so hard to stay healthy!! It takes a lot of energy and courage, but is completely worth it.

06-24-12, 05:41 PM
I have just joined the forum, as I have recently been diagnosed with adult adhd and "disordered eating." I am really looking forward to being able to take advantage of this great support!:)

I meet with the MD next week for the medication referral, as I have finished all the testing. Looking forward to learning more!!

07-10-12, 04:01 AM
It is essential that both add and eating disorders are treated.Too many people are struggling with their eating disorders because they have undiagnosed or untreated add.When add is properly treated,the individual is better able to focus and follow through with treatment for their eating disorders.They also have greater control of their impulses and less of a need to self-medicate their add symptoms

07-10-12, 07:41 PM
I struggled with body image and i'd say a mild case of an eating disorder before being properly diagnosed. I was obsessed with nutrition, fitness and all that stuff. I counted every calorie, and obsessed over my already low weight.

The day I started treatment for my ADHD, miraculously, it all went away :yes:

But anyone struggling with disordered eating, I know how hard it is, and I'm praying for you all :grouphug:

07-10-12, 09:15 PM
Me Too!! I just started Adderall 20mg XR and feel like a completely different person in 5 days!! No more starving, overeating, and constant perseveration on food, eating, calories, exercise. It feels great!

07-11-12, 06:16 AM
Me Too!! I just started Adderall 20mg XR and feel like a completely different person in 5 days!! No more starving, overeating, and constant perseveration on food, eating, calories, exercise. It feels great!

:grouphug::yes:I'm so glad to hear that! Congrats!

07-30-12, 03:25 PM
Hehe. The ED centre was pretty quick to start me on ritalin when the diagnosis was made! Maybe also because I was disrupting the group. But, I'm doing better since starting Ritalin.

07-30-12, 07:01 PM
i suffered with full blown anorexia back in 07-09 :( horrible horrible times..i still struggle with food/weight issues but i have to keep it together or theyll stop the adhd meds :(

07-31-12, 04:47 PM
I have a 12-year history with anorexia and bulimia.... I'm labelled 'chronic'... and I don't really care. What's important is that I can function normally again, and I've maintained my weight for 6 months already, but I'm still marginally underweight.

11-18-12, 11:37 PM
I also have had an eating disorder since I was about 15 yrs old (bullimia). I get it under control, and for the most part its nearly gone. I hadn't realized it could be connected to ADD, just realized this week that I have ADD even though I have always had symptoms.... Just never did the math.

11-24-12, 06:12 PM
I am curious for some advice on ADD medications for a recovering bulimic.

I have been dealing with bulimia for about 10 years. The first five were the worst. I was diagnosed with ADD and put on Adderall for about 3 years. My dose got too high and I experienced terrible skin issues so I wanted off of it. My bulimia was very much under control while my ADD was being treated.

I took a year and half off of meds and have had relapses and my ADD is terrible. I'm spacey. I am scared to go back on Adderall though. I've heard it may make things worse. Yes I lost weight, but it wasn't a fix.

This month I started Concerta and I've having strange reactions. My doctor said it was less likely to be abused and calmer. I'm not seeing great improvement. He also said I may want to stick to what my body knows. I'm just hesitant going back on Adderall.

I wanted to maybe try a low dose of Adderall now that I know what is too high and only when needed for school in addition to therapy so I don't spiral. The concerta just isn't doing much and I seem grouchy and zombie like.

Is this a bad idea?

11-24-12, 07:53 PM
If I read correctly
• Girls with ADHD have 5.6 times higher rates of Bulimia Nervosa than controls according to a study in The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
• 8% of girls with ADHD-Combined had engaged in at least one DSM-IV defined binge eating ( episode in the last year ...relative to 0% of girls with ADHD-Inattentive and comparison girls. Study in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

I am adhd inattentive and suffered bulimia from the age of 17 to 27 (even though the study suggests that adhd inattentive donīt suffer from bulimia. I didnīt just have one episode of binge eating in one year, I had a least one per day.

At this time I was also suffering from relationship issues, I kept destroying perfectly good relationships with lovely considerate partners and I didnīt know why, I just got bored and wanted drama.

I had pyschotherapy which helped tremendously and the bulimia went completely but my adhd still wasnīt diagnosed until 20 years later.
I donīt know how they define bulimia, but it states that

12-19-12, 03:50 AM
This was the fast fix for me. Like you said, it didn't cure my anorexia but it designed my way of life generally new. And the only objective I can think of that I would finally piece of cake together like that within a few periods of the new drugs is that I had ADD - inattentive type in the mix of all my other circumstances.

11-30-13, 05:25 AM
I previously had anorexia in my early teens and was hospitalised for about a month for re-feeding. When I came out I developed bulimia, which subsided for a short amount of time, it got a lot better until recently. I've been quite bad but have only just been diagnosed with ADHD and am seeing my doctor next week to talk about medication.

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this and that some of you have had very positive experiences in regards to ADHD medication helping you begin to recover from your ED.

12-28-13, 03:44 PM
In 2006 a Doctor wrote a book "Peices of a Puzzle: The Link Between Eating Disorders and ADD" Some doctors have known for years that treating both the ADHD and the ED concurrently leads to better outcomes. But, most of the treatment facilities in the country refuse to do this based on outdated concepts. There is one place of treatment in Minnesota, The Emily Program, that will treat adolescents with stimulants once they are in their goal weight range. I'm not sure how they handle adults. I believe that since adults are responsible for their own meal planning that it is important to treat both from the start if they are in any kind of lower level of care. Timberline Knolls outside of Chicago is also a very good place to get concurrent treatment, but unfortunately they are quite expensive and out of most insurance networks.