If you have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, you’re not alone. Even though most people are diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, it doesn’t always go away. As many as 4% of American adults are diagnosed with ADHD, but many people believe the true number is much higher. Fewer than 20% of adults with ADHD are accurately diagnosed and treated.
There’s a good reason why we need to take adult ADHD seriously, other than just the fact that it impacts your functioning: there’s a known link between ADHD and addiction. That means the conventional treatment of stimulant medication isn’t always a good option. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about how exercise is an effective (and often underutilized) treatment for ADHD.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
The symptoms of ADHD in adults are a bit different than they are in children, which is one reason it becomes so easy to overlook. Most adults don’t have the hallmark symptom of hyperactivity that appears in children, as most people outgrow that behavior.
However, the inattentiveness that’s a sign of the illness in childhood often becomes a bigger problem as the children become adults, creating problems in the workplace and social life.
Other symptoms of adult ADHD include:
- Limited working memory
- Poor organizational skills
- Trouble with time management
- Limited ability to focus
- Difficulty maintaining attention on a task
Men with ADHD are more likely to have difficulty with impulsive behavior and anger management. Women with ADHD are more likely to feel like their life is out of control and to have higher stress.
If you think you might have ADHD, screening tests performed by 2nd Chance Treatment Center can help you get an accurate diagnosis.
How exercise can help
Getting effective treatment for ADHD can be difficult, especially if you have any history of addiction. The typical treatment is a stimulant medication, like Ritalin or Adderall, which has a high potential for abuse.
But the good news is that exercise works in a similar way as stimulant medications do — without the potential for addiction. Stimulant medications increase the amount of dopamine in your brain. Exercise also increases dopamine levels in your brain.
Other benefits of exercise include:
- Improves executive functioning, the part of your brain responsible for skills like planning, organizing, and remembering details
- Reduces your stress and anxiety
- Improves your working memory
- Reduces compulsive behavior and improves your impulse control
- Increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein involved in memory and learning
It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do. Any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping should be enough to reap the benefits. Health experts recommend that you get 150 minutes a week — or just 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
If you suspect or know you have ADHD, you don’t have to resort to risky stimulant medications in order to get relief. To learn more, call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center today, or request an appointment online.