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  • Writer's pictureLiliana Turecki

Emotions and ADHD

When you’re living with ADHD, you carry an avalanche of emotions in your mind. Be it joy, confusion, or anger – you feel each feeling deeply.

Minor bumps in the day make you overly frustrated. You can’t stop worrying about the smallest things. It takes every ounce of energy to calm down during or after an intense emotional episode. Even gentle criticisms trigger your ADHD brain to build massive walls of defense. If you want “something”, you want it NOW.

Emotional dysregulation certainly forms the bulk of ADHD even if it’s currently not included in the official diagnostic description of ADHD. But what makes emotions and ADHD inseparable? Here’s how ADHD Weaves the Web of Emotions:

· It all starts in the brain. The brain structure and connectivity networks – responsible to carry

the bits and pieces of emotional information – don’t exactly perform well in an ADHD brain.

· A momentary emotion is all it takes. The working memory impairments that accompany ADHD

can sometimes cause momentary emotions to flood the brain with overwhelming intensity.

· Reasoning fails sometimes. With a single, intense emotion occupying the entire brain, there’s

barely any room left for other information that might help regulate behavior.

· Emotions and instant gratification. A new term proposed by Dr. Barkley is emotional

impulsiveness (EI). EI is an aspect of poor inhibition associated with ADHD that is illustrated by

low frustration tolerance, impatience, quick to anger, aggression, greater emotional

excitability, and other negative reactions. All of these are related to the impulsivity of the


· Small problems trigger a mountain of stress. It can be hard for an ADHD brain to differentiate

between a minor issue and a dangerous situation. This explains their extremely frustrated

reaction to seemingly small problems.

Taming Your ADHD Emotions

Treating the emotional challenges of an ADHD brain often requires a multimodal approach. Medications may help with improving the brain’s emotional networks. But you also need coaching to manage issues that spring out of mild emotional dysregulation.

Living with ADHD comes with sudden, powerful, and unrestrained emotions. Don’t blame yourself for the recent emotional episode you went through. Instead, try to actively seek out the right help to get your emotions under control. If you’re looking for a start, visit my website and get a glimpse of what approach to ADHD coaching is all about.


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Oct 12, 2022

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