Exercises effect on ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)


  • Jul 20, 2007 4:27 AM GMT
    Having suffered from depression and a severe case of ADHD, I know first hand the benefits exercise can offer someone like me.

    I wanted to avoid taking psychostimulants since I was well aware of the potential short and long term side effects. It took a long time, but I learned how to balance exercise and good nutrition so my ADHD was not so severe.

    By limiting my caffine intake, limiting the amount of sugar I consumed and working out on a consistant scheduled basis.

    There is a whole science behind the neurotransmitters that are released during exercise but I dont want to bore anyone with all that data.

    I do take Wellbutrin XL to manage my depression since the amount of working out I would have to do in order to sure the symptons of depression would have occupied the majority of my day.

    Medication is necessary sometimes but popping pills are not only solution. Combine a medication regimine along with a consistant workout routine and I know your depression and ADHD will be helped drastically.
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    Jul 20, 2007 4:39 AM GMT
    I assume you know that antidepressants are often the first treatment of choice for ADHD. And among the antideps used for that, Wellbutrin, which has a stimulant effect, is usually considered the most effective.
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    Jul 20, 2007 6:26 AM GMT
    Yes, sometimes wellburtrin alone is used for ADHD.
    You might try doing stuff outdoors as well, as there is some evidency that spending time outdoors helps ADHD sufferes -- about an hr every day, or close to -- don't quite remember off the top of my head -- was the what was recommended.
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    Jul 20, 2007 1:50 PM GMT
    The world would be a more focused place if everyone fucked more outdoors.
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    Jul 20, 2007 2:08 PM GMT
    Coming from OW, I wouldn't be surprised if it were both.
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    Jul 20, 2007 2:16 PM GMT
    Until I started fucking regularly outdoors, I was an easily distracted person. Now I'm completely focused... on getting laid.

    Come on over. I just cut the grass.
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    Jul 20, 2007 2:39 PM GMT
    Splendor in the grass?
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    Jul 20, 2007 4:21 PM GMT
    I love that poem.
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    Jul 20, 2007 5:48 PM GMT
    Actually I read a really cool book about ADD - a term that has only recently been adopted by society called "ADD - A Different Perspective" By Tom Hartmann
    Talks about how ADD is nothing more than the "hunter" DNA. People who arent good at becoming factory robots and "do as theyre told" all seem to have "ADD"..
  • code_joe

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    Jul 20, 2007 9:53 PM GMT
    I have Dealing with ADD all of my life.
    My AntiDepressant (Lexapro) helped with it. But since I have started to work out my ADD has spun back out of control.

    Lately I am not sure what to do with everything since it seems I have been tipped out of Balance. I enjoy working out and it helps with my depression. *Usually at least, Not soo much today :(

    I wish I could find a way to get control of my ADD but not leave me in a numb mindless state. I enjoy thinking and multitasking. It seems when ever they try to adress the ADD issue both of those go away and all I want to do is lay around the house.
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    Aug 25, 2007 9:40 AM GMT
    Based on reading articles about ADD, I think I have it. But I still want to seek professional advice for accurate diagnosis and treatment, if necessary.

    Exercises especially cardio will help mental alertness but for me it doesnt work. I still become inattentive when it comes to intensive training and meetings. Worse, I really get sleepy even if I already take "brain vitamins".

    Coffee gives temporary cure for like an hour since it is a stimulant. But I still look for long term benefits.
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    Aug 28, 2007 6:31 PM GMT
    Not to discount those on this board who have their own specific circumstances, but I cannot believe how many people have told me they have ADD/ADHD over the past five years. It has become very trendy.

    At worst, I think it's often a convenient excuse to be lazy and not listen or invest in another person. But I also think it's often a symptom, rather than a discrete disease. I think ADD/ADHD could very often simply a symptom of substance abuse, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. etc. Yet drugs seem to be all-to-often prescribed to "band-aid" it, without exploration into the root cause (a big problem across all of US medicine right now).

    Granted, the root cause may, in many cases, be years of childhood development involving the TV remote.

    Y'all can rip me apart on this one. Like I said the stories above are probably true ADD/ADHD situations. I just cannot believe it's simply a current epidemic, but a fad and frequent misdiagnosis as well.

    I've always been fascinated by all this ADD/ADHD talk, because for some reason I am attracted to guys who display some ADD/ADHD characteristics. But for now, let's not go diagnosing me. ;-)
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    Aug 28, 2007 6:41 PM GMT
    As a side, I like the DNA explanation and the "hunter" profile. There are some careers where ADD/ADHD folks can thrive beyond their non ADD/ADHD counterparts. I have had friends like this excel in sales and photojournalism to cite a few examples. Heh...why medicate when you can turn it into a good salary? :-)
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    Aug 28, 2007 6:46 PM GMT
    RuggerATX - I'm with you on this one, and to avoid a flame war (I'm really tired of them) I think my comments are more directed at yours here...

    My dad almost certainly would be diagnosed with ADD in today's world. He dropped out of high school, is clearly dyslexic (you can see even if he tries to write a basic note), and can barely read the classified ads of a local newspaper. In the 1940s and 1950s, before healthcare became an entitlement and it was trendy to blame one's life challenges on disorders, people pretty much had to simply play the hand they were dealt.

    Somehow, despite his challenges, my dad formed a successful business, raised a family, and became a respected member of the community -- all without ever complaining about shortcomings or struggles. In fact, few people outside the immediate family even know about his literacy issues.

    There is definitely a degree to which this is a societal fad. Suddenly, every second person has some "disorder."

    I also agree with you and find that I too am prone to be more attracted to people who display some traits of ADD. I find that such people often seem to have more original personalities, and are more prone to think outside of the box, so to speak.
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    Dec 28, 2008 5:58 AM GMT
    i take adderall and it works well enough....there's a noticeable difference in which I can really focus on a very repetitive task or separate many things occurring at once in something I'm analyzing more efficiently.
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    Jun 10, 2009 7:30 PM GMT
    for me caffeine help my ADHD, it kept me calm. When I was a baby I would go after my parents coffee cups and eat the grounds.
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    Jun 10, 2009 7:48 PM GMT
    I actually ADHD that has this which i had no clue he had until I told him about a opening at my job and was sorta of prepping him for the interview which i end of doing and he told me how he uses having ADHD to his advantage to focus on his job.

    He mentioned how working out has played a big part in keeping under control and getting involved in a bunch of different activities. But i could see where some people may feel that others are using it as an excuse for just being lazy. I've seen a few people who don't even make an attempt they just say oh I have ADHD and i'm like umm ok what is that suppose to mean? Just because you have ADHD it means you can't be successful? I doubt it.
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    Jun 10, 2009 8:00 PM GMT
    Southpark A.D.D. cure
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    Jun 10, 2009 8:13 PM GMT
    I think the competitive swimming definitely helped me with my ADD when I was in high school and college... not just because it wore me out enough to calm down and focus, but it also got me to manage my time around practices, classes and eating. Maybe I oughta get into a Master's program again!
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    Jun 11, 2009 2:47 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 saidI think the competitive swimming definitely helped me with my ADD when I was in high school and college


    Swimming also helped ADHD sufferer Michael Phelps.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/sports/olympics/10Rparent.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
  • DiverScience

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    Jun 11, 2009 2:54 PM GMT
    I have borderline ADD, and mild cyclothemia. Mostly, I moderate them with diet and exercise, and a lot of sugar and caffeine.

    I know, you're saying, "What? Sugar? Caffeine? Aren't those... stimulatory?"

    Caffeine puts me to sleep. So it's good for settling me down.

    Sugar helps me focus (and has been shown in several studies to do so for other people, can't find the links right now).

    The cyclo... I probably should be treated for, but I'm really really leery of brain drugs (of which caffeine is one, really). The diet and exercise moderates it, but doesn't fix it.

    I'm definitely borderline not full blown, with coping mechanisms I can function pretty normally. I'm highly distractable when I'm not hyper-focusing, but that's something that can be dealt with.
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    Jun 12, 2009 10:51 AM GMT
    Buffhunk64 saidI have a question about all the acronyms....when I was in school no one had ADDHDDPDF. From what I understand ADD is way over diagnosed and very few kids...usually males actually have ADD or ADHD. .


    ADD is attention deficit disorder
    ADHD is attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity

    Since the disorder is a psychiatric issue, the diagnosis can be very subjective. There is no blood test or radiological study that can make a diagnosis. Parents and teachers frequently force a physician to treat a hyperactive boy with medications because he is so disruptive in the class room and at home.
    More tolerant parents and teachers may just put up with the boys behavior rather than seek medications for him. If the child just has ADD and not failing in class, he may never be diagnosed since he is not disruptive.

    A very vocal group of parents and physicians express concern that a generation of addicts are being created. The other group believe the addiction potential is overblown.

    The hyperactivity part tends to resolve in adulthood. The ADD part may plague the individual through out life. Untreated adults with sever ADHD often have chaotic life-styles, may appear to be disorganized and may rely on non-prescribed drugs and alcohol to get by. They often have such associated psychiatric comorbidities as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, or a learning disability. I have a relative that was treated with Ritalin since age 9. When he was a HS senior he developed overt bipolar disorder, substance abuse and attempted suicide twice.
    Teachers and parents are now more aware of ADD which leads to more frequent diagnoses. A similar event occurred with Autism. When I grew up no one ever heard of the diagnosis. You were labeled as retarded. Now there is an epidemic of Autism. Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be overdiagnosed also.
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    Jun 17, 2009 7:53 PM GMT
    Re: Over Diagnoses
    Buffhunk64 said... ADD is way over diagnosed and very few kids...usually males actually have ADD or ADHD... My godson is in a study there now because he actually has ADD/ADHD...most people taking drugs for it do not...they just need to learn to focus.

    Yes, but...

    Yes, I do believe that ADD is over diagnosed, as are many (most?) mental illnesses due to drug company promotions.

    But Functional MRIs (FMRIs) and other tests that look objectively at real time brain function reveal distinct differences in the workings of the brains of ADD and non-ADD subjects.

    Fortunately, these tests are being used increasingly to make definitive diagnosis and for med management. They're still expensive so use is not widespread. But MRI makers including GE have a stated objective of bringing the cost of the machines and the cost of the procedures down to a very affordable level.

    Your godson might benefit from seeing a neurologist or psychiatrist who uses FMRI or neurofeedback for diagnosis and treatment.
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    Jun 17, 2009 8:22 PM GMT
    kneedraggen said... Since the disorder is a psychiatric issue, the diagnosis can be very subjective. There is no blood test or radiological study that can make a diagnosis.


    Kneedraggen, I hope you'll be pleased to red in my post, above, about the relatively new tools available for making objective diagnoses of ADD and other mental illnesses. You describe the prevailing conventional diagnostic practices to a T. But things are moving in the right direction.

    You might be interested in the books on ADD by Daniel Amen, MD (though he usually uses a somewhat different scanning method).

    The hyperactivity part tends to resolve in adulthood.

    Actually, about half of adults retain the hyperactive characteristic but learn to control it. In the other half it becomes a predisposition to rambling and long winded speech, leg shaking and fidgeting (I have the leg twitch and fidgets). The hyperactive symptom is associated with a structural abnormality in the brain that can be seen by FMRI in juveniles. And it persists into adulthood.

    [Adults] often have such associated psychiatric comorbidities as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, or a learning disability.
    This is another area where brain scans have shed fascinating new light. Whereas many mental illnesses are associated with a single set of brain structures and function patterns, others appear to be analogous to a sore throat. That is, they're symptoms that can present in connection with a variety of very different underlying problems.

    Depression, for example, can present in association with a variety of brain injuries, with single abnormalities in any of at least three brain areas, or in association with very minor abnormalities in a combination of areas. In fact, depression can present in association with abnormalities of the heart, pancreas and other organs in cases where no abnormalities of brain structure or function can be found.
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    Jun 17, 2009 8:41 PM GMT
    Buffhunk64 saidI have a question about all the acronyms....when I was in school no one had ADDHDDPDF. From what I understand ADD is way over diagnosed and very few kids...usually males actually have ADD or ADHD. That is what UT Southwestern says. My godson is in a study there now because he actually has ADD/ADHD...most people taking drugs for it do not...they just need to learn to focus.


    if you look at the History of ADHD, ADD, you will find it's had it's moments, for sometime now. Then I new thought will come alone, and ADD, or ADHD is dismissed all together, and then it has come back in faviour agin.

    Yes I belive a number of people who have had the tag of ADD put on them, were missed diagnosed, and the parent was happy with the tag ADD, instead of being told, your child is a result of your bad parenting skills. Most mothers would rather hear ADD, or ADHD, than be told you are a bad mother.