ADHD and Overwhelm

Life gets overwhelming for a lot of people. It is normal to get overwhelmed when there’s so many things going on at the same time.

However, the feeling of overwhelm looks different for those with ADHD. It tends to affect ADHDers differently than it does for many neurotypicals.

On that note, let’s talk about ADHD and overwhelm.

ADHD and Overwhelm

As I mentioned, those with ADHD experience overwhelm different. Overwhelm may not be unique to just those with ADHD. However, it seems that ADHDers are get overwhelmed more often and get MORE overwhelmed.

When we start feeling overwhelmed, it can just go spiraling down from there.

So many things may feel overwhelming to ADHDers. The small and simplest task that may not be overwhelming for neurotypicals may have the opposite effect to ADHDers. Those same tasks may be overwhelming to ADHDers.

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Why Are ADHDers More Prone to It?

It pretty much all comes down to how our brain is wired and filters things. The ADHD brain does process or filters information the same way a neurotypical brain does. Instead of sorting the information and hang on to the important thing, your brain is pretty much just left with all of it. 

What may not always help is that our brain may not always have an easy time regulating our emotions. 

Our executive functions, which are supposed to help us manage daily life, don’t function properly.

It can send us all in so much overload.

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What Can Overwhelm ADHDers

There are so many different things that may overwhelm the ADHD brain. Here are some things that overwhelm ADHDers.

  1. Too many thoughts. ADHDers have so many thoughts and ideas running through their heads. They just keep going back and forth, non stop. It can be hard to try and keep following each thought. It’s kind of like a game of ping-pong.
  2.  All the clutter. So many ADHDers may find themselves surrounded by clutter and piles of things. ADHDers can struggle with finish tasks, or putting things away. So clutter and mess piles up. All this can easy overwhelm the senses.
  3. Finding things. Those with ADHD often tend to lose things, such as keys, wallets, phone, just to name a few. ADHD hinders short-term memory, which is why we often lose or misplace things.
  4. The To-Do List. Those with ADHD struggle with task initiation, prioritizing and organizing, which means that tasks on a to-do list may be left undone. We know we should do them and may have every intention of doing them. Unfortunately, the way our brain is wired does make it more difficult for ADHDers than for neurotypicals.

These are just a few examples of what we will easily lead us to feel overwhelmed. 

Author :


  • It’s important to learn about how people can become overwhelmed. I don’t have ADHD myself, but have plenty of friends who do. And understanding how and why they can get overwhelmed helps them and me in our interaction and when we are working towards something.
    You did a great job at highlighting some major parts and it opened my eyes to some things I didn’t catch before but will keep an eye open to from now on.

    • Thank you for reading and your comment. I do appreciate it. I’m glad you were able to learn from it.

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