The ADHD brain works differently. It is faster. More creative. Busy making connections. But, it can also be scattered and anxious. Sweating it out about what you forgot to do or what you missed.
So on the one hand, if you’re an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you may have a hyperactive mind. On the other hand, life with ADHD can feel like you’re running after feathers floating in the wind all day. While the ADHD brain can make you solve problems quickly or do well under pressure or a time crunch, it also has you up at night reviewing your day, searching for what you could have done better. ADHD can lead you to become frozen in the face of new problems to solve or when figuring out how to get started on a problem with too many moving parts. You can spend so much time in an ADHD thought loop that you begin to feel like most of your time is spent thinking instead of doing.
The Brain and ADHD Thought Loops
The brain is essentially a massive communication network, where messages are relayed between neurons. However, in the ADHD brain, there is a dysregulation of the neuron system. The messengers have gone a little awol and are not sticking to the routine structure of daily life. Because of a dysfunctional system of communication within the brain’s neurochemical communication system, the brain with ADHD actually moves faster than the brain without ADHD.
The reasons your fast mind gets stuck in ADHD thought loops:
ADHD adults have a different way of regulating a particular set of brain functions called “executive functions” than people without ADHD. In theory, there is decreased electrical control in the frontal lobe of the brain, so the executive functions have to work harder in life to hold it all together.
Here are some executive functions that impact ADHD thought loops:
Folks with ADHD struggle with activating themselves on non-preferred tasks. This can create an internal battle inside. Example: “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Tomorrow: “I’ll do it tomorrow, ugh, I always do this…” etc, etc.
Folks with ADHD are great problem solvers. However, since executive functions impact problem solving, you might feel stressed in the face of small (or big) problems, struggling to prioritize what needs to get done first.
ADHD and Anxiety
ADHD and Anxiety often go hand in hand. In fact, 50 percent of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. How to know where anxiety begins and ADHD ends? Well…not knowing where to start? Feeling frozen, panicked, and always worried? That one is anxiety. Anxiety is when you overestimate a threat and/or underestimate yourself (sound familiar?). Anxiety is often based on a history of stressful experiences, causing a “fight, flight, or freeze” response. In other words, you might avoid, feel paralyzed, or have a panic response. All lead to overthinking (in an effort to avoid fears or repeats of stressful past events) or rumination (reviewing the same thoughts over and over, a common symptom of anxiety).
By the time ADHD adults reach adulthood, it’s often the case they haven’t been diagnosed. Either way, a lifetime of being criticized for unintended mistakes adds up. This can create strong feelings and high motivation to avoid making mistakes or receiving negative feedback. However, as time goes on, this can lead to overworking or avoiding risk completely, leaving you feeling stuck and overwhelmed.
The best way to get out of your head is to find balance.
- Create a lifestyle that better supports ADHD; self-care, exercise, and overall health.
- Find ways to calm your mind, such as mindfulness or meditation.
- Get to know your emotions and find outlets (e.g. creativity, therapy, etc.).
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, OH
At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer adult ADHD treatment and anxiety treatment for ADHD. ADHD treatment can help you start getting things done. You can find the answers you’re looking for. An ADHD specialist from our Columbus, OH-based therapy practice would love to help you. To start ADHD testing, follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.
- Meet with an adult ADHD specialist.
- Stop overthinking. Start feeling in control of your own mind.
Other Services Offered With Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
ADHD testing and treatment in Columbus, OH isn’t the only service offered at our Columbus, OH-based counseling practice. Since ADHD impacts people in different ways, we offer a variety of services. We provide ADHD testing, adult ADHD treatment, counseling for men with ADHD, depression counseling for ADHD, and anxiety treatment for ADHD. Feel free to learn more by scheduling a consultation or visiting our blog!