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My husband can’t sit still. He’s always on the go. My partner is always restless. Never relaxes. He says it’s because he’s type A, but this never stops. Even on vacation. The hyper-activity of childhood ADHD usually diminishes in adulthood, but it can still be there, and shows up in a sense of restlessness. The ADHD adult feels the urge to pace. Or fidget. Always have to be doing, doing, doing, they can’t leave well enough alone. They have to fiddle with stuff, tinker, mess with it.
Restlessness. Kids with ADHD move a lot. They constantly fidget and they squirm. It can be quite irritating to teachers or parents or spouses.
And exhausting for them.
Although Adults with ADHD display less hyperactivity than when they were kids… You rarely see them running around the office yelling…
Look at me, I’m a jet fighter airplane!…
They still feel a sense of restlessness.
And so they may need more frequent rest breaks.
But here’s what separates someone who is restless and fidgety when they are under stress at work, or dealing with a family crisis at home, and ADDer. They can’t relax. Wherever they are or what the stress level is. They feel (Makes a humming noise) at work, and at home. On vacation or just puttering at their hobby. They even move more frequently when they are asleep.
ADDers have a difference in the way they get information from the outside of their body versus from inside their body. Right now you can probably feel your left big toe. Do it now. You might feel it better if you wiggled it. Go ahead. Wiggle. Guess what, if you couldn’t feel your body, that is what you would have to do, wiggle. No wonder ADDers bump into things so much or they just can’t get comfortable. They have to move.
ADDers do physical activity the best because they would rather be outside than sitting in a classroom sitting still.
Medications that stimulate your brain increase the arousal to one’s body while, at the same time, reducing the amount of external noise that comes in. Satterfield, in 1979, suggested that this was related to a filter that we all have that may not work so well in the ADDer.
There are lots of ways of making the filter work better. Medications make it easier to understand what your brain should feel like but we always encourage ADDers to try to make adaptive changes.
I’m a jet airplane, pow pow pow….
For example exercise is a very effective way to saturate and stimulate the portals that are open, getting more good stuff to the brain, more fuel for the frontal lobes, to force a change in the filter.