One of the hallmarks of ADHD is the need for stimulation - and that can pose quiet the challenge as the need can derail your personal goals. It can be easy to get sucked into activities that you know are time-wasters, but you also know they work when you need that burst of excitement to get going. So, here’s a look at some common dopamine traps - and suggestions for related alternatives that are more aligned with your goals!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating motivation, reward, and mood. Essentially, it’s a chemical responsible for many ADHD-related symptoms. without it, we struggle with productivity and follow-through on tasks, even when we know they’re important.
Low levels of dopamine are associated with difficulty concentrating, problem-solving, and decreased working memory function. Not only that, but low levels of dopamine have also been linked to diagnoses like depression and anxiety as well as different addictions developed from dopamine-seeking behaviors.
So, our naturally dopamine-deficient brains seek out dopamine to function. That makes ADHD management a tricky task because, when searching for dopamine, ADHD brains are going to get it in the easiest ways possible. For example…
Notice yourself reaching for those carb heavy foods or maybe a sugar treat?
Remember, people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine. Guess what happens when you taste those comfort foods? A QUICK dopamine hit! Such a powerful hit that is hard to rival, which can trap you in a loop of seeking that dopamine high again (which is why it’s not so easy to stop at one brownie… rather than eating the entire pan). To break out of the cycle, let’s explore some alternatives that might do the trick for you!
What’s not to love about video games? The plot line, the social aspect, the rewards, the changing scenes, the hours passing by rapidly… wait. It’s 2 am? Video games become addictive because they’re giving the brain so much stimulation at once. It’s incredibly hard to pull yourself away from them. Here are some tips to find those gaming aspects in more helpful forms:
It feels so good to own something new! But then you bring it home… and it’s not new. It’s just another item on the shelf. Another item you said you wouldn’t buy, yet there it is, taking up space in your laundry chair (we’ve all got one). Maybe a sale enticed you, or you reasoned that this was the exception because it was 35% off! But deep down, you know it wasn’t needed. Instead of just swiping the card or laying down the $20 bill, let’s see if one of these suggestions might help:
We get it. Many of these things are easier said than done (or we wouldn’t need to write this post). One last suggestion? Try out an ADHD coach. They can help you identify the barriers and implement strategies tailored to you and your life.
In the whirlwind of modern distractions, understanding the dance between ADHD and dopamine is your secret weapon. By recognizing the allure of quick fixes, you're already one step closer to regaining control over your goals. Embrace the alternatives that align with your aspirations—treat yourself to the natural rush of berries, harness the power of gamified apps for achievement, and curb the spending urge by finding satisfaction in giving.
Remember, dopamine is your ally, not your foe. It's the driving force behind your motivation, your zest for life, and your triumphs. By making conscious choices, you can harness its power to fuel your journey toward success. So, as you navigate the thrilling landscape of life with ADHD, keep these insights close. Empower yourself with knowledge, embrace balanced habits, and craft a life that dances to your unique rhythm—one where dopamine becomes a catalyst for your dreams, not a hindrance.
Managing adult ADHD doesn’t have to be a solo quest. Check out Shimmer today!