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I need help with my ADHD and food addiction!

answered 07:22 PM EST, Sun December 29, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
Is my ADHD the reason why I am addicted to food? It’s weird because most people that have ADHD are all fidgety and skinny but I am fidgety and really heavy. If I take Adderall is this going to help me to lose weight even if I am a food addict?

Penny Bell Says...

Penny Bell P. Bell
Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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ADHD and food addiction are two separate issues that may or may not be related. Because I don’t know anything about your addiction history – when it began, what triggered it, what you have done to manage it up to now – I’m not sure of the answer to your first question.

Nevertheless, I can say this: addictive behaviours most often occur in response to emotional stress or pain. People with ADHD have a higher prevalence of addictions than is found in the general population, and it is thought the reason for this is that the addictive substance or activity is being used to self-medicate the stress of having ADHD symptoms. We self-medicate to change the way we feel, and in your case, food has become your “drug of dependency”.

I am assuming you have been diagnosed with ADHD but as yet you have not embarked on a treatment to ease your symptoms. There are several different drugs that can be prescribed for treating ADHD, one of which is Adderall. By helping you with your impulsivity, distractability, disorganisation, avoidance and other stressful symptoms, and improving focus and concentration, you may find that medication will help to ease your addiction to food by mitigating your stress levels.

If Adderall, which is a stimulant, is prescribed for you, it is also possible that your appetite will be decreased, but this is not necessarily so. Some people experience this as a side-effect and some do not. It would be a good idea to discuss your concerns about your weight, food addiction and ADHD medication with your doctor. If you decide to embark on a trial of using Adderall, and find that you are still struggling with food, your next step should be to seek help specifically for your addiction.

Other treatments for ADHD, which can be used alone or in conjunction with medication, are cognitive and behavioural therapies, relaxation training and stress management, life coaching and family therapy. All of these can help you acquire skills for living life to the full with a healthy self-esteem, manageable levels of stress, as well as giving you strategies for controlling your eating behaviours.

I hope this has helped you to move toward a decision for action for taking ownership of your health. Taking action will empower you to be more in control of your physical, psychological and spiritual health, leading to improvements in all these areas. We are at the beginning of a new year, and this is an excellent time to embark on something new and different that will enhance your life. I wish you all the best for your health and future!

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Page last updated Dec 29, 2013

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Penny Bell - Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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