View Full Version : fatigue and ADHD


inNoooTime
08-07-17, 09:31 AM
Not long ago, at the age of 39 I've been "half" diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist. I say half because it's not a formal diagnosis, and I can't remember well my childhood, if I had some of the symptoms already.
Anyway, I have the symptoms now, and it's getting more and more debilitating.
The main issue is the unbearable fatigue, culminating on the week-ends. I've been taking wellbutrin for a few months now (since I was diagnosed) and it helped a little but is losing effectiveness. (I also take an antidepressant venlafaxine, and Gabapentin for my restless legs syndrome that makes my body go nuts at night.)

Does fatigue usually correlate with ADHD? What are you experience with that, and what are the "patterns" in time?

userguide
08-08-17, 02:00 AM
I remember many posts here answering YES to your question.

I wonder what the mechanisms of fatigue are - there are many spots on the long road from muscle to brain and back which can be disregulated.

work on your latate curve if you can.

sarahsweets
08-18-17, 09:33 AM
Not long ago, at the age of 39 I've been "half" diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist. I say half because it's not a formal diagnosis, and I can't remember well my childhood, if I had some of the symptoms already.
Anyway, I have the symptoms now, and it's getting more and more debilitating.
The main issue is the unbearable fatigue, culminating on the week-ends. I've been taking wellbutrin for a few months now (since I was diagnosed) and it helped a little but is losing effectiveness. (I also take an antidepressant venlafaxine, and Gabapentin for my restless legs syndrome that makes my body go nuts at night.)

Does fatigue usually correlate with ADHD? What are you experience with that, and what are the "patterns" in time?

IME fatigue can be more mental than physical for me. Its like I cant keep up with my own mind.

ToneTone
08-20-17, 11:00 PM
To bluntly answer your question, "no."

People typically don't get diagnosed with ADHD based on a symptom of feeling tired. Feeling frustrated yes. Feeling like they aren't accomplishing anything in their lives? Yes ... Some people with the condition do socially withdraw.

But no, for fatigue, I suggest you go to your general doctor/family doctor ... There could be hormonal problems, thyroid problems (hypothyroidism is surprisingly common--my mother had that ... and it's fair fixable) ... Could be sleep apnea ... several people I have had sleep apnea ... one used to be tired and sleepy all the time ... He now uses the sleeping machine ... and has tons more energy ...

Depression ... But it seems like you're getting antidepressants.

But no, people don't come for questions about whether they have ADHD because they feel tired on weekends ... Yes, because of the chaos that feelings overwhelm that ADHD can create ... yes, people are sometimes tired on weekends ....

But start with your regular doctor ... Let them rule out all the basic stuff first ...

Good luck.

Tone

jdpjr969
08-21-17, 11:12 PM
People with ADHD will struggle with fatigue but one does not always equal the other. ADHD and fatigue can be a "chicken or the egg" type of question and might be a little complex. For example, how does one tell the difference between fatigue and problems with motivation? What if someone struggles with fatigue due to sleep disturbance because their thoughts race more at night and it takes an hour or more to fall asleep and then they don't stay asleep so they may get 6 hours total of sleep but are doing good to get 2 consecutive hours of sleep (big difference). Do they dream a lot when they sleep? REM state sleep (dream sleep) is not that deep restful recuperative sleep. People who dream a lot will often report feeling chronically tired. What if someone has trouble initializing due to an executive functioning problem (i.e. ADHD) and becomes depressed about what they are not able to get done? Speaking of depression, what about apathy and boredom. When was the last time you saw an energized, happy, and engaged apathetic bored person? Or, what if you have someone who has a high concentration type of job that requires documentation, etc.? Or when you were in school growing up, did studying ever make you sleepy? Like you could lie down and immediately go to sleep type of sleepy? And lets not forget about combinations of some of the above. Hopefully you get the picture. All of those could be ADHD related, but that doesn't say anything about the cause.

Sarahsweets is absolutely right when she notes fatigue being mental. Concentration, attention, focus, etc. meaning things that require mental effort especially sustained mental effort are a more "heavy lift" for us than others and therefore we WILL mentally fatigue faster. Btw, mental fatigue feels VERY physical. If you are brain tired, you will feel body tired.

If I were the shrink assessing your symptoms, I would want to know a few things. First, when was the last time you had a physical with bloodwork? If your shrink does not ask you this right off, RUN! Second, what is your sleep pattern like and then I would have you describe your sleep hygiene. Third, the Wellbutrin makes me suspicious. I would ask how long you have been on it, do you stay on schedule with it, does it affect your appetite, other side effects, etc. And I would definitely ask you if you "like" the Wellbutrin. If someone says they think a stool softener would work just as well, that tells me a lot. Does your Wellbutrin decrease the target symptoms? That is a yes or no question [A word about medications. Here is how you know you are on a good medication. If you eat the pill and you feel better, that's good medicine. If you eat the pill and you don't notice any difference or feel worse, that ain't a good thing].

Fourth, I would be curious to know how blood sugar sensitive you are; how good is your appetite, what you eat for breakfast and how you eat throughout the day. We ADDer's LOVE SUGAR... AND CHOCOLATE!!! I have a Tupperware container in my desk at work that holds over $50 bucks worth of peanut M&M's and that mother NEVER stays full!!! My co-workers make fun of me all of the time about my sugar cravings, chocolate especially. Co-workers will ask me if they can have some and I tell them to go to hell they're not gettin' sh**!! For some ADDER's, sugar could possibly cause "functional impairments"... so I have been told. Moral of the story, watch out for sugar crashes, eat more protein-based foods, blah, blah. I had a shrink tell me at a conference once that he treats his ADHD patient's as if they had a mild case of Diabetes. Meaning he strongly recommended a Diabetic diet. I agree with that approach. You would be amazed at how blood sugar effects fatigue and ADHD symptoms. What's worse, is that some of the ADHD meds can actually drive down blood sugar! Psychostimulants are notorious for this. I actually had a shrink prescribe me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with double the peanut butter when I took my morning meds! I told him he was nuts! Funny thing, I got on average 2 extra hours of coverage with my Adderall!! I thought the guy was a moron but he turned out to be very clever. I can't remember if Wellbutrin screws with blood sugar directly but it can mess with appetite. For what its worth, I was on Wellbutrin years ago and could have sworn I had the worst case of Mono imaginable. Turns out, my shrink put me on too much too fast and it was a disaster. He was one of those "half diagnosis" type of MD's.

Finally, I would want to know what kind of functional impairments you are having. What are you no longer able to do in different settings like work, home, school, relationships, parenting, even sex, etc. because of the fatigue. Meaning, do changes in energy cause a matching amount of cognitive decline? For example, someone with diabetes whose sugar is dropping will start having cognitive decline right along with the drop in blood sugar. The same is true with anemia, and hemorrhoids, etc. Okay not hemorrhoids. But ADHD is a total pain in the ***. Because what you are describing seems more like exhaustion than just fatigue and that is something different. Exhaustion could very well be medical. I would consider asking for some bloodwork. Might be overkill, but if there is a medical problem bloodwork will most likely catch it. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure out what's causing "ADHD related fatigue" and it end up being low testosterone! Don't ask me how I know this... damn shrinks! Shrinks see mental and medical doctors see medical. Keep that in mind.

I apologize for the long response. I remember being in my 30's and trying to get info on adult ADHD and there wasn't much. But we have discovered a lot in the past 10 years. There were several times when it was some tidbit of info in someone's ramblings that ended up being a game changer for me. Remember, we will chase tangents looking for answers when the answer can be right in front of us. I hope some of this helps. I hope all works out.

One other thing. You probably have an ADHD psychiatrist because they forgot to give you the other half of your diagnosis.

Good luck

CharlesH
08-22-17, 02:17 AM
To bluntly answer your question, "no."

People typically don't get diagnosed with ADHD based on a symptom of feeling tired. Feeling frustrated yes. Feeling like they aren't accomplishing anything in their lives? Yes ... Some people with the condition do socially withdraw.

But no, for fatigue, I suggest you go to your general doctor/family doctor ... There could be hormonal problems, thyroid problems (hypothyroidism is surprisingly common--my mother had that ... and it's fair fixable) ... Could be sleep apnea ... several people I have had sleep apnea ... one used to be tired and sleepy all the time ... He now uses the sleeping machine ... and has tons more energy ...

Depression ... But it seems like you're getting antidepressants.

But no, people don't come for questions about whether they have ADHD because they feel tired on weekends ... Yes, because of the chaos that feelings overwhelm that ADHD can create ... yes, people are sometimes tired on weekends ....

But start with your regular doctor ... Let them rule out all the basic stuff first ...

Good luck.

Tone

I would agree with this poster. ADHD is a complex condition, and it certainly could indirectly lead to someone feeling fatigued. But being fatigued, in and of itself, it not a classic indicator for ADHD. On the other hand, feeling frustrated, inpatient, restless, etc would be more likely indicators.

Have you looked into Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? It's not officially recognized by the DSM, but it's been getting a lot of academic attention lately. If it is indeed a true distinct disorder, then fatigue would be a direct indicator, and this disorder would share many overlapping symptoms with ADHD - PI, though it would actually be separate from ADHD.

concentric
10-06-17, 07:55 AM
Do you self-medicate with coffee? I found that before I got my proper ADD medication, I self-medicated with coffee and this caused extreme fatigue where I would need naps throughout the day. Once I took a break from coffee (and dealt with the horrible withdrawal symptoms) I felt like a new person and the fatigue completely lifted. It can be tempting to turn back to coffee again but I can tell you that is a horrible idea as the cycle will start again. I find drinking tea helps but does not cause me the fatigue nor make me crash.