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disordered eating/sleep & untreated ADHD

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my current tdoc is convinced i have adhd. however, i am still waiting on an official evaluation by an adhd specialist. at this point i don't know if that's going to be sometime in the next few months or in the next couple of years. 

in the meantime, tdoc has recommended me some books and websites for more information to see if i think the diagnosis fits. in my research i have noticed that issues with sleep and eating come up quite frequently. i have had problems with disordered eating and sleep since early childhood (along with anxiety and depression and other symptoms that i now recognize as being possible/probable adhd symptoms). 

i yo-yo between insomnia and hypersomnia. i cannot fall asleep at night and i struggle with getting up in the morning. i have constant daytime sleepiness no matter how much sleep i get and the sleepiness always increases when i'm trying to focus on something i don't want to focus on.  it gets to the point where i will sometimes even try to pinch or slap myself to prevent myself from falling asleep during class or when i have to socialize and i don't want to. i struggle severely to regulate my eating habits. i'm currently experiencing out-of-control binge eating. i have the hardest time not relying on food to calm myself down and try to focus and relax. even the short-term relief seems better than nothing in the moment. it's led to a lot of issues with self-worth and low self-esteem. self-fulfilling prophecy alert.

in fact, i struggle to regulate just about any normal day-to-day function. i have a hard time with showering, with leaving the house, getting to places on time, remembering thingsorganizing, managing social relationships, getting up in the morning, going to bed at night. trying to manage stress and anxiety is brutally difficult for me. i never can shake this feeling of being utterly overwhelmed and lost within my own life. these things have never gone away. not for a week, a month, a year. they've been with me since i can remember.

does any of this sound familiar to any of you folks with ADHD? i am especially interested in hearing about your experiences with eating/sleeping issues. if you do have those symptoms, did they become a lot easier to manage when you got on the proper meds?

i used to think all these issues were related to a combination of uncontrolled anxiety, depression, and personal failings/defectiveness, but now i'm not so sure if a lot of this can't be contributed to the undiagnosed and unmedicated adhd i've potentially had since childhood,

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You need serious therapy. There are therapists or nutritionists for eating disorders. They will teach u mindful eating.

I lost 20+ lbs.

Also for ur sleep problems. a therapist can help.

i am in therapy (although not specifically for my ED issues right now), and i've seen nutritionists. my food issues are not based on a lack of knowledge concerning proper nutrition and exercise or how to lose weight in a healthy manner. 

the same goes for sleep problems. i've learned quite a bit about sleep hygiene and have a lot of tools at my disposal help with my sleep issues. they help marginally with making insomnia easier to handle when it rears its ugly head, but they don't do anything for excessive daytime sleepiness. i have a sleep study scheduled for january to look into possible medical reasons behind it.

i was curious about these factors in the context of adhd, hence the title.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cosima, for me the insomnia is my mind can't / wont shut down. At all. It's partially the adhd but also anxiety/OCD related. I think it's all intertwined anyway.

i could lay there for hours wide awake with my own thoughts just going going going.

i take nightly Valium (it treats a few things for me not just the insomnia) and drink 325 mg of magnesium (more natural if that's your thing vs pharm) gets me to sleep right quick.

marijuana also. So those three get me to sleep and keep me asleep. Every once in a great while I get med resistant insomnia. 

The eating issues may or may not be related. I know I used to just forget to eat, didn't feel hunger like others do, so I would have to set a reminder to eat. 

Good luck. 

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the insomnia i experience is pretty much identical to what you describe but i also have anxiety so it could be from either. i'm not opposed to taking meds to sleep (psych meds or supplements, i don't care - as long as its affordable and it can help me). my doc right now is reluctant to prescribe them so i'm just managing on my own by trying to pay attention to sleep hygiene and relaxation as best as i can.

your input is appreciated, thank you.

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Hi Cosima

why, if you don't mind me asking, is your doc reluctant to prescribe? Anything at all, or just adhd meds?

although I knew since childhood I was different, I did not know why until my son was about 5 and I was reading book after book about adhd (he was diagnosed around then ) and was like umm this book could be the story of my life.

i do also have wicked anxiety and OCD, predominately O.

but I think it's all intertwined. When I'm treating myself right they all calm down a bit.

my suggestion to you, especially given the reluctance to prescribe right now, is prioritize sleep.

this isn't medicine but in case, here's the standard disclaimer that I'm not a doctor this isn't medial advice...

Natural Calm is powdered magnesium. I got a big tub on Amazon about 6 months ago, take it every night, and have 1/3 of the tub left. It was about $16 pretty affordable. (I hope, I don't pretend to know your financial sitch). 

It puts you to sleep and healthy mag levels help anxiety, hence the name Natural Calm :)

read the Amazon reviews it's good stuff. Organic raspberry lemonade flavor too! Win/win

im older now, was officially dx at about 24/25, but im now 36 and have had to come off my adhd meds (was very successful on Concerta, but since it's a stimulant it made my anxiety skyrocket at a therapeutic dose, so I had to discontinue).

i now do what I can to manage my anxiety/OCD and just sort of cross my fingers where thr ADHD Is concerned.

eating is another story. Because I am prone to binges and because the adhd made me forget to eat and the Concerta took my appetite for so long I have a pretty fucked up food thing going on. I eat adequate calories, and am quite slender (my doctors words), but eating is weird for me.

i find it intimate, I can't eat with randoms or with co-workers. Only close family and friends. 

I think it's partially sensory issues, I hate smelling other people's food so it's likely a control thing too.

good luck to you, I would find why doc is reluctant to prescribe, then first things first get a handle on the sleep.

when my sleep gets messed up no one wins, it sets off major anxiety issues like if the sleep interruptions get too bad it makes me just barely functional.

i have three kids 5,5,16. I must be able to function. 

Good luck really this is hard to live with and I truly wish you well and hope you are able to get some relief. Living with this stuff untreated is just no way to live.

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anything at all, she is very cautious and doesn't feel comfortable putting me on too many meds (she's not a psychiatrist, she's a GP). she tried me on ritalin and even the lowest dose, it gave me constant panic and extreme mood swings. my anxiety is not very well controlled at the moment so that may be why my anxiety became so extreme with a low dose stimulant added to the mix.

i feel like i'll never be able to successfully manage taking ADHD meds because of my anxiety. i agree that sleep is so important. i'm going to look into the "natural calm" powder. thank you for sharing what has helped you. any bit helps and it's nice to know there are others out there that have managed with similar issues. i agree, it really sucks to have to deal with this and i can't imagine dealing with three kids while in this state! i can barely take care of me. 

thank you. :)


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