April 28, 2023

What is ADHD Paralysis?

By: Design
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Medicially Reviewed By:
Dr. Priya Chaudhri
credentials here

Picture ADHD paralysis like a panel of spinning gears. Each gear is twirling in motion until finally one of the gears jams up, bringing all the other gears to a grinding halt. This is how ADHD paralysis feels. Your mind is reeling, trying to engage in multiple tasks at once when suddenly you just freeze right up. You become overwhelmed, you can’t think straight, and you feel paralyzed.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a challenge to live with on a daily basis. It doesn’t take much at all to leave you feeling swamped and stressed out. If you are struggling with ADHD and want to learn more about ADHD paralysis, read on!

Learn About ADHD

Most people assume that ADHD is a childhood condition featuring hyperactive children who can’t sit still at school. While most cases of ADHD begin in childhood, many continue to struggle with the neurodevelopmental disorder long past grade school.

About fifty percent of childhood ADHD cases will resolve by the teen years. However, about half of those kids will still have symptoms into their teen years, and one-third into adulthood. ADHD symptoms, and the disruptions caused by the condition, are slightly different for each age group.

ADHD is classified into three types. Symptoms of adult ADHD include:

Predominantly inattentive:

  • Trouble paying attention over a sustained period.
  • Difficulty following instructions.
  • Misses details, and makes careless errors.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Forgetful
  • Trouble managing their schedule, and poor time management.
  • Struggles with multitasking.
  • Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort.
  • Often misplaces things.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive:

  • Extreme restlessness.
  • Interrupts others.
  • Has trouble sitting calmly or remaining seated.
  • Excessive activity level, busy all the time.
  • Engages in impulsive behaviors.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Easily frustrated.
  • Lacks patience.
  • Blurts out answers before a question is stated.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Has a bad temper.

Combined: There are presenting symptoms of both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.

Common Traits of ADHD in Adults

When not addressed or managed, adult ADHD can have a disruptive effect on daily life. ADHD can make it hard to keep up with the demands of a job or family. It can also manifest in such traits as job-hopping, substance abuse, and impulsive behaviors.

Common traits of adult ADHD:

  • Chronically late to work or for appointments.
  • Chronic boredom.
  • Forgetful
  • Difficulty controlling anger.
  • Low tolerance for frustration.
  • Difficulty delaying gratification.
  • Poor organizational skills.
  • Mood swings.
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Has low self-esteem.
  • Procrastinates
  • Has problems completing tasks and assignments at work.
  • Impulsive, high-risk behaviors.
  • Difficulty concentrating when reading.
  • Low motivation.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Substance abuse or addiction.

What is ADHD Paralysis?

ADHD paralysis refers to a common state of mind when someone with ADHD feels utterly overwhelmed. He or she may have so much on their plate that they lose the ability to focus on the tasks at hand. This causes the person to freeze up, something known as an overwhelm-shutdown mode.

ADHD paralysis can be triggered by job-related tasks that seem overly challenging, but can also be caused by mundane tasks like housework. In the case of the latter, the task itself is uninspiring to someone with ADHD so they simply choose to ignore it.

ADHD paralysis may feature:

  • ADHD choice paralysis. This is sometimes referred to as “analysis paralysis,” when you are so overwhelmed with choices or decisions to make that you just freeze up.
  • ADHD task paralysis. This happens when you have so many tasks on your plate that you simply give up procrastinating or avoiding them altogether.
  • ADHD mental paralysis. This occurs when you cannot sort out all the feelings and thoughts running through your head. You find it hard to convey your thoughts or to even speak.

Symptoms of ADHD Paralysis

Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of ADHD paralysis:

  • Unable to stay focused.
  • Overthink or overanalyze presenting problems.
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Unable to start on a project.
  • Lack of focus.
  • Brain fog.
  • Unable to manage tasks.
  • Being unaware of the passing of time.
  • Can’t keep a train of thought.
  • Avoidance of tasks.
  • Rapid mood changes.

7 Strategies for Managing ADHD and Curbing ADHD Paralysis

Your first step in dealing with ADHD should involve a therapist. ADHD is managed by a combination of therapy and medication. Thankfully, there are some tools that can also help you manage daily life more productively. Try these handy tips to help prevent ADHD paralysis:

  1. Edit your tasks and prioritize. When you start feeling overwhelmed, take a minute and list all the tasks that are swirling through your head. Part of the problem is a fear of forgetting a task or not finishing all the daily to-dos. Once you have written down all the tasks, get realistic about what you can actually finish during the day. Cross off any tasks that can wait.
  2. Simplify. It is very easy to bite off more than you can chew, which only leads to stress and paralysis. Try to simplify your schedule. Allot enough time to complete tasks so you don’t feel undue pressure. Allow time for commutes and appointments, but don’t overbook your day.
  3. Take short breaks. If someone with ADHD has a job that involves repetitive actions it can quickly cause boredom and avoidance. If the work involves a great deal of mental effort and concentration, it can cause exhaustion. In both cases, ADHD paralysis can set in. To prevent that, get up every hour to move around and get your blood pumping, such as taking a short walk around the building.
  4. Find work-life balance. To avoid burnout and exhaustion trying to keep up with everything, be sure to add some fun to your life. Make room for your hobbies, whether they are playing sports, the arts, or joining a hiking club. Finding balance helps you avoid getting stressed out and overwhelmed.
  5. Aim for task completion. Sometimes we get wrapped up in striving for perfection. This can cause us to dwell too long on a task, which then puts us behind schedule on other tasks. Instead of perfection, try to focus on completing a task. That is a source of satisfaction in itself.
  6. Break down tasks. A large task can be perceived as overwhelming, such as deciding to clean the house or embark on a work project. Break the task into chunks and spread them out over two days instead of trying to complete it in one.
  7. Change things up. If your office cubicle is boring and uninspiring, change it. Why not add some personal touches to your workspace? Add some photos in pretty frames, a plant, a colorful new mousepad, and some fun word art to inspire you.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Residential Mental Health Support

Elevation Behavioral Health is a private residential mental health treatment center that can offer a more intensive treatment approach to ADHD. If you are dealing with ADHD paralysis and wish to learn ways to overcome it, reach out today at (888) 561-0868.

Our team of experts is here to help you.