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This Month In Life
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    Many people find their ADHD symptoms worsen with certain triggers. By identifying and avoiding those triggers, you can help lessen the severity or frequency of your symptoms. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Pay Attention!

Have ADHD? Here’s what can make your symptoms worse.

Trouble paying attention, impulsive behaviors, difficulty sitting still, forgetfulness, and hyperactivity are just a few of the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Often beginning in childhood, ADHD is a neurological condition that can continue into adolescence and adulthood, making it difficult to get things done in a timely and orderly fashion.

While medication and behavioral therapy can help treat ADHD, there’s no cure. Many people find their ADHD symptoms worsen with certain triggers. By identifying and avoiding those triggers, you can help lessen the severity or frequency of your symptoms.

Not sure what your triggers are? Here a few of the most common.

Trigger 1: Skimping on Sleep

After a night or two without quality sleep, anyone is likely to feel distracted, impulsive, and forgetful, but people with ADHD are more prone to feel the effects of a bad night’s rest. Symptoms such as drowsiness, inattention, and problems with motor skills are worsened from poor sleep. Children are especially at risk for becoming more hyperactive to make up for the fatigue they feel. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and kids and teens need even more. Make sleep a priority and see if your symptoms improve.

Trigger 2: Stress

Stress is a big trigger for ADHD symptoms, and ADHD symptoms are a big reason for stress. Unfortunately, ADHD can lead to an ongoing cycle of stress. Small things become overwhelming, missed deadlines cause anxiety, and the inability to focus leads to more stress. To combat stress, get regular exercise and take time to relax and unwind.

Trigger 3: Too Much Technology

The constant stimulation from television, video games, cell phones, and computer screens may exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Flashing lights, changing images, and loud noises can make it hard for someone with ADHD to focus and concentrate. When the brain is used to constant action, it can be hard to switch modes and concentrate in a quiet classroom where sitting still is required. With that in mind, it’s recommended that children under the age of 2 not watch any television or movies. Kids who are older than 2 should be limited to two hours a day, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not.

Trigger 4: Certain Foods

While studies are inconclusive regarding which ingredients in your food may worsen or improve ADHD, many people claim they notice a marked difference in their symptoms when they eat certain foods. A diet that includes fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, protein, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B has been shown to reduce episodes of ADHD. Talk with your doctor about taking supplement vitamins.

It’s also a good idea to track your diet to see if the following foods exacerbate your symptoms: added sugars, unhealthy fats, sodium benzoate (a preservative), artificial red and yellow food dye, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Whether or not you have ADHD, artificial dyes and chemical preservatives are known to increase hyperactivity. Besides, everyone can improve their physical and mental health by avoiding junk and unhealthy fast food.

Trigger 5: A Messy Home

Some people aren’t fazed by a messy home or office, but many people with ADHD find their symptoms flare when surrounded by clutter and mess. When your home is out of order, you may feel overwhelmed, like you can’t keep up, and even more scatterbrained than usual. While it may be hard to focus on cleaning your house, getting rid of the clutter can help you focus on other important things in life.

Trigger 6: Overstimulation

Similar to the effects of technology and clutter, a stimulating environment can lead to sensory overload. The sights and sounds of an amusement park, concert, a crowded restaurant, or rush hour traffic can cause someone with ADHD to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and frustrated.

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