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The Crossover Between ADHD and a Dysregulated Nervous System

Posted by Liz Tenuto on

Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a daily challenge. For many individuals, understanding the underlying dynamics of this condition is crucial for effective management. But there’s one key aspect of ADHD that’s often overlooked…

ADHD perpetually dysregulates your nervous system.

ADHD is more than just a label; it's a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention, impulse control, and executive functioning. However, what many people might not realize is that ADHD often comes hand-in-hand with a nervous system that’s stuck in a constant state of hyperarousal.

Your Nervous System

Your nervous system has two modes: the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest).

When your sympathetic nervous system becomes activated, your window of tolerance for stressors, triggers, or stimuli enters a state of hyperarousal. This means that your body is preparing to face a threat with exaggerated vigilance. So your reaction to those stressors, triggers, or stimuli will also be exaggerated. And this is a completely natural physiological function to protect yourself from danger.

However, when you’re exposed to multiple stressors over a long-period of time, and your nervous system is prevented from going back into a state of ’rest and digest’, your nervous system will become stuck in its hyperarousal.

When this happens, even things that aren’t inherently stressful or triggering will bring out that exaggerated hypervigilance. So you react in a way that’s inappropriate for the actual situation. And you’ll notice signs including trouble focusing, inability to sit still, impulsivity, emotional outbursts, and mood swings.

Do those symptoms sound familiar!?

ADHD & Hyperarousal

When you’re living with ADHD, your nervous system naturally leans toward the sympathetic side — so your nervous system is not only hyper aroused more regularly, but you can also get stuck in that state of hyperarousal more easily.

And those with ADHD have been repetitively told that the symptoms of hyperarousal are simply characteristics of the condition itself. 

But that’s not necessarily the case!

Because if those with ADHD are more prone to living in a state of hyperarousal, there are strategies to get yourself out of that state (without just relying on medications)!

For instance, the restlessness commonly associated with ADHD is not only a product of attention difficulties, but also a manifestation of your nervous system's struggle to find a state of calm. And acknowledging the constant dysregulation of your nervous system is a crucial step towards a more productive and successful approach to ADHD management.

Those with ADHD are not merely dealing with a lack of focus or impulsivity; they’re navigating a world where their nervous system is constantly on high alert.

More signs of hyperarousal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Persistent feelings of anxiety
  • Racing thoughts
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Being easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Impulsivity
  • Racing or intrusive thoughts
  • Hypervigilance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mind constantly "on the go"
  • Feeling on edge
  • Sensitivity to lights, sounds, or smells
  • Impatience
  • Digestive issues (e.g., stomachaches, nausea)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Emotional hypersensitivity
  • Frequent fidgeting or restless movements
  • Excessive talking or interrupting
  • Emotional outbursts

How To Manage Your ADHD Symptoms Naturally

There is good news though! You can manage the hyperarousal symptoms of your ADHD by healing your nervous system!

Heal Your Nervous System is a 60-day somatic exercise course that offers a transformative experience designed to create new neural pathways so your nervous system can efficiently come out of hyperarousal.

Somatic exercise has proven to be immensely beneficial for individuals navigating the complexities of ADHD. And this course goes beyond conventional treatments to alleviate the impact of stress, emotions, and trauma on your nervous system.

Start managing your ADHD naturally with a 60-day somatic exercise course to heal your nervous system! ✨