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Old 11-16-11, 12:59 PM
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Wink Restless Leg Syndrome?

Is this a regular thing for people with add/adhd? I think I have it and I know im self diagnosing myself here, but sometimes when I lay down to watch a movie, or sit for long periods of time, I'll get this itch, almost as if something is crawling under my knee! It's so annoying and disruptive because I have to start kicking my leg, or walking around just to stop it, and then it'll come back a few seconds after I sit again! It's been like this since I was a little girl, my dad admits to having it too, so i never thought about it. but my sister and boyfriend told me it's not a normal thing and I should get it checked out. :/ I just wanted to know if anyone else has this weird knee thingy.
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Old 11-16-11, 01:16 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

Yes, there is some evidence that RLS is more common among people with ADHD (and vice-versa).

Both RLS and ADHD seem to involve alterations in dopamine pathways, so it's plausible that there is some partially-shared underlying problem.

It also seems possible that in some people with ADHD, needing to move the legs may just be one manifestation of hyperactivity (that happens to have its own name), though that wouldn't necessarily explain some of the day-night patterns seen in RLS.

I have never been formally diagnosed with RLS, but I've always been a leg-jiggler. But it was a need to wiggle my legs in bed and flex and relax my ankles, which I attribute to RLS/hyperactivity (?), that made it difficult for me to sleep unless I stayed up until I was utterly physically exhausted -- and by extension, that made it difficult for my partner to sleep.

I started taking clonidine for the ADHD (not for this symptom specifically), and it has greatly reduced the discomfort and the need to move my legs. It makes it much easier for me to lie in bed at night without disturbing my partner.

It has a brand name (Kapvay, the first version of clonidine approved specifically to treat ADHD), but we routinely refer to it as my "anti-kick-kick-kick" medication because that's been its most noticeable effect! (And my partner and I are both grateful for it.)

I know there are other meds used to treat RLS (without ADHD), and I don't know if they play nicely with other ADHD meds. (And I don't know if you take other ADHD meds.)

I'm not sure there are many good non-pharmaceutical ways to manage bothersome RLS symptoms, though stretching and getting enough exercise seem to help some people.

But in any case, restlessness is by definition part of some ADHD, and there are biological reasons why RLS and ADHD may co-occur, so you're in good company!
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Old 11-16-11, 01:37 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

I'm prone to it.

It got pretty miserable while I was taking Celexa (for anxiety). I read somewhere that RLS might be related to serotonin, and Celexa is an SSRI, so the connection was clear.
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Old 11-16-11, 02:27 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

I definitely find stretching helps, but when it's really bad, I have zopiclone.
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Old 11-16-11, 02:28 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

There's a similar thing called Periodic Limb Movement Disorder which is very common with ADHD.

I always kicked and tossed and turned at night, and I didn't realize that was a manifestation of hyperactivity until I was on medication. I used to be half asleep and I'd stick my arm up in the air and vaguely wonder why. And I'd wake up with all my blankets on the floor.

A tiny amount of stimulants will put me out like a light at night. Methylphenidate rebound makes it a lot worse.
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Old 11-17-11, 06:18 AM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

Try taking magnesium supplements (preferably chelated). Works for me. Interestingly, before my meds I used to have huge cravings for chocolate and cashew nuts... both rich sources of magnesium.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:41 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

I always have to move my legs because I cant sit still but I also have noticed that my legs start to go numb if im sitting for too long. But I think that might have to do with blood circulation.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:49 PM
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Re: Restless Leg Syndrome?

Quote:
Originally Posted by namazu View Post
Yes, there is some evidence that RLS is more common among people with ADHD (and vice-versa).

Both RLS and ADHD seem to involve alterations in dopamine pathways, so it's plausible that there is some partially-shared underlying problem.

It also seems possible that in some people with ADHD, needing to move the legs may just be one manifestation of hyperactivity (that happens to have its own name), though that wouldn't necessarily explain some of the day-night patterns seen in RLS.

I have never been formally diagnosed with RLS, but I've always been a leg-jiggler. But it was a need to wiggle my legs in bed and flex and relax my ankles, which I attribute to RLS/hyperactivity (?), that made it difficult for me to sleep unless I stayed up until I was utterly physically exhausted -- and by extension, that made it difficult for my partner to sleep.

I started taking clonidine for the ADHD (not for this symptom specifically), and it has greatly reduced the discomfort and the need to move my legs. It makes it much easier for me to lie in bed at night without disturbing my partner.

It has a brand name (Kapvay, the first version of clonidine approved specifically to treat ADHD), but we routinely refer to it as my "anti-kick-kick-kick" medication because that's been its most noticeable effect! (And my partner and I are both grateful for it.)

I know there are other meds used to treat RLS (without ADHD), and I don't know if they play nicely with other ADHD meds. (And I don't know if you take other ADHD meds.)

I'm not sure there are many good non-pharmaceutical ways to manage bothersome RLS symptoms, though stretching and getting enough exercise seem to help some people.

But in any case, restlessness is by definition part of some ADHD, and there are biological reasons why RLS and ADHD may co-occur, so you're in good company!
Great info! I didn't even realize there was something called periodic leg syndrome! I don't know what i technically have, but I'll go check it out some day.
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