ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It can happen to anyone, be it children or adults. It is a mental condition in which several continuous problems occur such as difficulty in paying attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity.

Is There Any Relation Between ADHD And Obesity In Adults!

In adults, it can lead to several difficulties such as poor performance in work or school, relationship issues, low self-confidence, etc. The condition starts to develop in the early stages of your life only but people understand it in the later stages of their life and thus it is called adult ADHD. It also happens because the symptoms of ADHD are not clear.

Some of the major symptoms include impulsiveness, problems in being focused, low frustration tolerance, mood swings, poor stress management skills, restlessness, etc.

ADHD And Obesity In Adults!

According to several studies, ADHD is highly linked to obesity. People who have ADHD are four times more likely to be obese. It’s because people with ADHD have poor or no control over their lifestyle and follow poor sleeping schedules along with an unhealthy diet which leads to weight gain. ADHD largely affects your overall health and makes you prone to several health conditions as well. 

Does ADHD cause obesity?

Yes, there is a strong correlation between obesity and ADHD. People with ADHD are less likely to do any physical activity and have no control over their eating habits as well as sleep patterns. They also have a higher body mass index than others. The symptoms of this condition such as low concentration levels, restlessness, mood swings, impulsiveness, poor multitasking, etc. make them less productive and affect their career as well as relationships and thus leading to unhealthy diet and zero exercise. 

ADHD is a mental disorder, especially neurological, and is associated with the neurotransmitters of the brain. People who suffer from ADHD have low levels of dopamine and GABA in their brains. The chemical called dopamine controls and supports arousal and lower levels of dopamine lead to a bored brain. On the other hand, GABA is responsible for controlling inhibition. People who have the required amount of these chemicals in their brain have the sense of stopping themselves from eating the entire box of food items, whereas people with low levels of these neurotransmitters do not receive the signs from their brain to assess the situation and process the long term harm it may cause. This is a continuous process and thus leads to obesity. 

What percentage of people with ADHD are obese?

There are various studies that suggest different percentages and the relation between ADHD and obesity. According to several reports, there is a 50 to 70 percent chance in adults that they will develop obesity if you already suffer from ADHD. However, the risk of obesity decreases if you take medications for ADHD and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Why do ADHD patients overeat? 

People with ADHD misunderstand their impulsiveness and restlessness completely and find comfort in overeating which leads to obesity. There are various other factors that lead to overeating as well. 

  • Dopamine- People with ADHD have low levels of dopamine and seek the same in order to feel good. There are several food items that can increase the dopamine in the brain such as processed foods and food items that are rich in carbs and make you feel good that you keep eating for longer than usual. This makes it difficult for people with ADHD to resist their cravings. 
  • Restlessness- Feelings such as boredom and restlessness can easily trigger the feeling of hunger. People with ADHD are mostly restless and bored since they do not have the right amount of chemicals named GABA and dopamine to send signals to their brains. 
  • Impulsiveness- This is one of the major factors of eating disorders. Impulsive behaviour is a normal symptom of ADHD and people tend to eat whenever they feel impulsive. 
  • No routines- People who suffer from ADHD do not follow any routine. They eat whenever they want without prior planning. Since they tend to overeat food items that are rich in carbs and processed food items, the calorie intake is so high which leads to weight gain. People with ADHD also tend to forget to eat and consume so much when they feel like it, which results in various health conditions along with obesity. 

ADHD and obesity treatment

It could be difficult to maintain ADHD and obesity at the same time but it’s not impossible. Fortunately, a few changes in your lifestyle are enough to control both conditions. Here is how you can manage your ADHD and obesity levels.

  • Set your goals- You need to set strict goals for your day since ADHakes it difficult to follow routines. You will have to figure out what to eat when to eat, and how much to eat and be consistent with it. This is the only way to get rid of obesity. Figure out which workout routine works best for you. Do not go all-in with the physical activity as your mind will not be able to cope up with the situation. Take small steps and try to do higher levels of physical activities as you progress. With a clear picture in mind, you will be able to focus more. 
  • Healthy meals- Plan out an entire healthy diet with the help of an expert. ADHD may make you feel like you’re not hungry or you want to eat more but with a proper and healthy diet chart, you will be able to control your cravings to an extent. A well-balanced meal makes you feel good and does not even make you hungry after some time. This does not mean you cannot enjoy your favourite food. You just need to realize when to stop. You can also set aside a particular day in a month or week for your cheat day. Set alarms for your meals so that you do not skip them. Try to eat healthy food items that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. With a bit of practice and consistency, it will become easier for you to follow a healthy diet. 
  • Sleep cycle- A good and sound sleep plays a major role in being healthy. People who suffer from ADHD have messed up sleep schedules and are mostly night owls. Sleep makes your brain work smoothly and provides your body with the energy it needs. It also regulates the hormones in your body and keeps you calm. Follow a healthy sleeping pattern so that you don’t feel lazy and be unproductive. 

Verdict

ADHD is much more than what people think it is. It could lead to various mental as well as physical conditions such as depression, high blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, weight gain, etc. The symptoms are such that you would not even be able to notice them and the condition would only get worse with age and would affect your personal as well as professional life too. While you can take medications and health supplements for obesity, lifestyle changes are the best way to bring these conditions under control. Obviously, it is going to be difficult for people with ADHD and obesity to follow routines, healthy diets, and workouts, but these methods are worth it in the end. It will make your life easier and reduce the medical risks associated with these conditions. 

You May Read More: Asthma And Obesity In Children.

Author

Isla Zyair is a registered nutritionist with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in plant nutrition and sustainability. She has completed a master’s in Sustainable Food Systems, Prescott College. She is known for her love for green vegetation and has been a plant-based dietician. She has a love for natural food and has been living a vegan lifestyle. Isla lived with her parents They were farmers who grew their own food living in the suburbs. She is a knowledgeable person who published books on Nutrition Eating Plans for Achieving Optimal Health. She is one of the most sought-after personalities on social media and has been part of books on nutrition.

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