woman eating midnight snack
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Compulsive Eating

Having ADHD often means you struggle with the ability to set limits on your behavior (like eating). What’s more, ADHD often lowers your level of dopamine, the hormone involved in your brain’s pleasure center. Gorging on food is a way to temporarily raise your dopamine levels and get that good feeling again.

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woman biting nail
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Worry that won’t go away and keeps you from living your life like you want to is a sign of anxiety. About half of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. Sometimes your ADHD symptoms cause that on-edge feeling. When that’s the case, treating your ADHD also helps your anxiety.

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man asleep holding drink
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Substance Misuse

The same “thrill-seeking” behavior that leads to out-of-control eating can play a role in the overuse and misuse of drugs and alcohol. Doctors think there may be a link between ADHD and drug or alcohol use disorders.

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woman driving with sore should
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Chronic Stress

Your ADHD symptoms can be stressful. It’s likely that your stress level stays up for longer than most when you have the disorder. Over time, stress can lead to other issues like:

  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart issues
  • Trouble controlling your blood sugar
  • Digestion issues
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restless leg syndrome
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Sleep Problems

ADHD can affect your ZZZs. It raises your chances of snoring, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome (an urge to move your legs when you’re at rest). It can also throw off your body's internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. That means your sleeping gets out of sync with the natural rising and setting of the sun. That can make you struggle to fall asleep and wake up at regular times.

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employer dissatisfied with report
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Employment Problems

Though all workplaces are different, most expect you to be organized, on time, attentive, focused, and do the work you're asked to do. ADHD can make all of these harder. As a result, you may not be able to live up to your employer's expectations. So it may be a struggle to keep a job.

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meter reading time expired
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Trouble With Deadlines

ADHD can make you forgetful and distracted. You’re also likely to have trouble with time management because of your problems with focus. All of these symptoms can lead to missed due dates for work, school, and personal projects.

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car trunk filled with shopping bags
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Impulsive Spending

Buying things just because you want to gives you a brief boost in those “feel-good” hormones. But that can come at a price. You may find yourself with a drained bank account or bad credit from all of your unplanned spending.

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woman on floor reviewing bills
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Financial Issues

Dropping deadlines and having risky spending practices are just two of the things that raise the chance you’ll leave bills unpaid. You also have to keep up with paper statements and your checkbook -- two tasks that are much harder when your ADHD symptoms aren’t under control.

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man using smartphone at dinner table
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Screen Addiction

It’s true that ADHD makes it hard to keep focus. But when it comes to smartphones, video games, and televisions, your attention can get hooked by the constant change of images, comments, graphics, and games. Your brain craves the reward it gets when you’re on a screen, which can make it hard to tear yourself away.

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couple talking on bed
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Sexual Problems

If your ADHD symptoms show up during sex, they can really dampen the mood. Your mind can wander off your partner and the overall experience. Lack of patience can keep you from going the distance. You also need good communication for a healthy sex life, and that may be a struggle for you.

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couple on park bench arguing
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Relationship Problems

It’s common for couples to struggle with communication when ADHD is part of the relationship, especially if you aren’t treating your symptoms. It may feel like you're constantly nagged by your partner as they try to deal with certain traits of yours, like forgetfulness or lack of focus.

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Emotional Outbursts

One way ADHD affects your brain is that it makes it harder for you to control how you respond to things. You could explode in anger or lash out in annoyance or impatience. It can also be why you worry so much over minor things.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 05/26/2020 Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on May 26, 2020


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Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): “ADHD, Eating Disorders, and Weight Issues,” “Workplace issues,” “Managing Money and ADHD,” “Too Much Screen Time?” “Marriage and Partnerships.”

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).”

American Academy of Pediatricians: “ADHD and Substance Abuse: The Link Parents Need to Know.”

American Psychological Association: “Stress effects on the body.”

College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: "ADHD and Sex."

The American Journal of Psychiatry: “Emotion Dysregulation in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on May 26, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.