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Coping with ADHD Burnout


Woman experiencing burnout

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If you have ADHD, you know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing a million things at once. At first, it might seem exciting, like you’re actually able to simultaneously achieve an infinite number of things. But there comes a point where you hit a wall. The tasks begin to pile up, unfinished. The simplest chores feel impossible. And a sense of shame pervades everything. What you’re feeling has a term: ADHD burnout. 

If you’re suffering from burnout and feel that it may be caused by ADHD, get answers today. Schedule an online consultation with a medical professional through Klarity.

What is ADHD Burnout?

Adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Untreated adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.

If you have ADHD, you’re probably not a stranger to feeling like you’re juggling a million balls at once. When you experience burnout, what starts out as feeling overwhelmed can result in excruciating exhaustion. You lose your sense of motivation, see everything as just adding onto your workload, and withdraw in the face of your long list of to-dos. 

You’re not alone, and there are ways you can prevent or alleviate symptoms of burnout so that you can take care of your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

ADHD Burnout Symptoms

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with ADHD burnout – and yet it is often overlooked. When you’re exhausted, other areas of your life can be impacted by your emotional and physical well-being. In addition to fatigue, you may experience the following:

  • Difficulty regulating your emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory issues
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Poor impulse control
  • Acute sensitivity to rejection
  • Irritability
  • Decreased motivation
  • Challenges with work or school

Are People with ADHD More Susceptible to Burnout?

Adults with ADHD are much more likely to suffer burnout compared to adults without it. There is a tendency to overcompensate, which stems from a lifelong sense of shortcomings and leads to taking on more than humanly possible to achieve. Lacking a sense of personal limits, an adult with ADHD will accumulate more and more tasks, and this, coupled with a feeling of guilt about resting, inevitably leads to the dead-end wall of burnout.

Why Does ADHD Burnout Occur?

The low sense of self-worth begins in childhood when a student with ADHD finds him- or herself having to work twice as hard to keep up with their peers but still finds themselves being reprimanded for not “trying” hard enough. Once they become adults and find a job, their tendency is to take on more and more work and to say yes to more and more activities because now they finally feel accepted, and by doing more, they can sustain that feeling. Coupled with a sense of selfishness when it comes to taking time for themselves, adults with ADHD keep going until all of their energy is depleted and burnout sets in.

The ADHD Burnout Cycle

Burnout tends to lead to resignation, quitting, giving up, and often actual physical exhaustion. Then the cycle begins again, at first with a flurry of hyperfixation coupled with routine procrastination, self-medicating with caffeine or tobacco, then guilt and neglect, paralysis, and ultimately giving up whatever the project was, only to begin again once the next hyperfixation on an activity or job arises.

How Do You Get Rid of ADHD Burnout?

When dealing with ADHD burnout, it’s important to focus on your needs and to listen to your body and mind. If you’re finding it hard to sleep, try to look into healthy ways to change your sleep schedule for the better. 

Take the time needed to acknowledge your symptoms by practicing skills such as self-awareness and acceptance. It’s also important to know you’re not alone when it comes to coping with ADHD burnout and that if you need help, that help is there. Check out some tips below to help you carve out time for self-care.

Practice Saying No

When you take on too much, it can exacerbate symptoms of burnout. Whether it’s an additional responsibility at work that you can’t handle right now or a social event with friends, practice saying no. Giving yourself space to focus on and ask for what you need will help you avoid burnout in the future. 

Prioritize Rest

Rest is essential to our overall well-being. It can be hard to slow down when we live in a society that tells you to go, go, go all the time. Carving out time to relax and unwind will help you sleep better, which will help offset fatigue associated with ADHD burnout. Your mind needs rest just as much as your body, so it’s also important to take time off from screens and electronics.

Overestimate How Long a Task Will Take

When you’re faced with a growing list of tasks, underestimating the amount of time it will take you to complete each one will only hurt you in the long run. Overestimating the length of time you need to finish a task gives you a cushion, which can help you relax, be more productive, and feel less stressed. 

Seek Professional Help

If you believe you have the symptoms of ADHD, it’s never too late to ask for help. The first thing that’s important to remember is you are not alone and that resources are available to not only help you manage ADHD but all of the attendant issues that arise as a consequence, such as burnout.

Klarity Offers Easy & Fast ADHD Diagnosis & Treatment

If you believe you have the symptoms of ADHD, take our free 2-minute Self Evaluation and then, if indicated that ADHD treatment may be right for you, schedule an online consultation with an experienced medical professional. At Klarity, getting a proper diagnosis is the first step in your journey. With more than a decade of experience in treating adult ADHD, the skilled team at Klarity is committed to providing simplified and personalized care for ADHD patients. 

Book a free call with a healthcare provider on Klarity today.

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