Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms & ADD

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    • #137436

      Has anybody else struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome type symptoms? I’ve been struggling with them for about 15 years now and was incapacitated to the point where I couldn’t work about 8 years ago. My therapist (I also struggle with anxiety and depression) made the comment a few weeks ago that she wouldn’t be surprised if I had ADD. This sent me researching and it turns out that ADD is not what I thought it was and I actually have a lot of the symptoms. A google search a couple of nights ago turned up the fact that some people with CFS symptoms actually have undiagnosed ADD/ADHD. I’ve set up an appointment to follow up with my doctor, but I’m wondering if anybody here has had CFS symptoms and been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD?

      Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated!

    • #137441

      I suffered chronic fatigue syndrome for many year I as well couldn’t work for so many years,I broke my spine in 2009 which put me in a huge lull for along time,I was tired all the time I didnt have a job for 10 years,I felt lost,I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was four,I’ve been on Stims on and of my whole life for me it was the right stim that would pull me out of the darkeness,im on 50mgs of VyvNse at the moment and have been for a few months npw,its been the icing on the cake (knock on wood) you mentioned you might have ADD if so I’d get checked our which I believe you already have,stims might help with the CFS,they also might help take your mind off of the issue,hope things work out for you,any questions I’m here to listen.

    • #137474
      Penny Williams

      There are so many things that can affect our physical energy, although chronic fatigue always seems the most obvious. Many with ADHD say they feel exhausted all the time. It’s tough working harder to achieve some things.

      Stress (related to ADHD or not) can also make you feel like you have zero energy. And it can deplete your adrenal system which will reduce your physical energy.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #137669

      I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (more properly known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, sometimes also called Systemic Exercise Intolerance Disease) before meeting my husband who has Inattentive ADD. There is a constellation of symptoms required for ME/CFS diagnosis you can find at It is basically an immune dysfunction with brain inflammation, although that is still under research. Yes, fatigue is one of the main symptoms, but as Penny pointed out there are many things that make us feel tired. Many with ME are so depleted they become bed-bound for periods of time, as I was before I met my husband.

      For my ADD husband, I’ve observed that when he is motivated and excited about something, he seems to have plenty of energy. But when he overdoes it or when feels “lost”/not focusing, he can easily take a nap at almost any time of the day or night. He falls asleep easily if his brain isn’t stimulated. And he tends to sleep long hours overnight, too. ME/CFS has disordered sleep/insomnia as a primary symptom. So there are definitely some differences.

      • #141756

        Hi penny, this is my experience. Everything I dis in my career involved a great deal of effort in order to mitigate my adhd symptoms. This increased stress eventually led to HPA axis disfunction. I think many undiagnosed adhd people are under a lot of stress trying to dunc ion like everyone else in the workplace etc. thanks

    • #137670

      I will also say that ME/CFS does mess with your brain. Brain fog is another common symptom. So I can see how forgetfulness or inability to focus could affect both people with ME/CFS and ADD. But I think the causes are different.

    • #170853

      I came to the conclusion that I most likely have ADHD, and my mother too. She has always been a bit of a whirlwind, highly emotional and very creative, very obsessed with her work (teacher), messy and disorganized and living life on adrenaline. She got diagnosed with ME and fibromyalgia about 10 years ago and was pretty ill with it at first. She has calmed down a lot in some ways, and has managed to spend more time on herself (before it was all about others). Her ME and FM symptoms are now reduced a lot, but can still over do it and feel ill sometimes.

      I think she should seek ADHD diagnosis, and I have decided I want to as well.

    • #172167


      It makes sense because ADD/ADHD is beyond exhausting. Something to consider right away is your diet. The brain is 60% fat so increasing your fat intake significantly is important. I eat 60% fat (including saturated fat/great cholesterol) 25% protein and 10-15% carbs. Back when I was still battling daily ADHD severe symptoms of chronic anxiety/depression/impulsivity and constant feelings of exhaustion, I always reached for carbs for energy. Now that I have changed my diet I feel even more grounded, my brain & body are happier and my energy level is even-keel instead of a constant roller coaster.

      Something to consider


      • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by mitzimainer.
    • #172481

      I have suffered with ADHD and exhaustion for years and never thought about fat intake having any correlation!! However, after reading your reply post, I recall (years ago) I tried a high fat, low carb diet and felt much better! Never attributed it to the diet…. but makes sense!
      Thank you for the insight!

      • #172861

        I am so glad that was helpful. I have been eating high fat/low carb for 24 straight months and have never felt better. In fact, fat is the reason my thyroid went back to normal. Been off thyroid meds for over a year now. 57 and no meds pretty awesome!

    • #173036

      Welcome to our world..the unending search for why one has so much fatigue to deal with despite the challenges of ADHD. The type of fatigue we experience is more of a mental fatigue mixed with physical symptoms.
      To resolve this matter and manage my ADHD I tried these methods..

      Life with ADHD meds

      -I tried ADHD medication for 20 years and after a few years it began to lead to more fatigue. The meds made me more prone to anxiety, forced me to feel energetic when I had no motivation to be energetic which taxed my system. Also the drops after 8 hours of being on meds..the 2 to 3 hours recovery was exhausting.

      Life after ADHD meds

      -I stopped taking meds after 20 years and regulated my body by using a combination of cycling, exercise, and challenging workout classes.By pushing my body passed exhaustion I was able to tap into my ADHD brains barriers. After every one week my body was able to push itself harder and I quickly developed.

      -I take high quality vitamins. Without a B-complex and a high dose of omega 3 I will not get through my exercises nor my day easily. I also have a very good vegetarian diet and avoid everything processed.I also drink a wonderful protein shake designed for vegetarians. This protein drink has an amazing effect on my brain and has completely removed the physical symptoms of fatigue.

      -coffee in the morning and only one cup so that my body does not get too addicted

      -Regulated sleep with white noise in the background. If I sleep with only silence I will not sleep as well.I go to bed at 10 and sleep by 12. Always wake up in the morning early no matter what. The body needs to charge using the morning sun.

      -Spend as much time outdoors away from a bed and a couch as possible. Being outside stimulates the mind and keeps you from becoming a bed sheet.Fresh air is vital.

      -Find your boosters to overlap the fatigue..I use heavy metal music to keep me going during exercise. I found out that my partially functioning brain always needs to be zapped somehow to fully focus.The heavy metal drums and intense beats forces my brain cells to function better and to begin producing signals.

      I hope this long memo helped.

    • #173038

      Hi Hawkgirl

      I have been diagnosed with ADHD/Anxiety/Depression but not CFS.

      Fatigue has been a massive issue through my life – it’s as if I could sleep at any given opportunity, even after a good night’s sleep!

      My husbands family find it amusing that I need to have at least one nap in the day when we all go on holiday.

      The way I describe it is like I have an energy bar above my head needs “recharging” so I can function. If I am around people and need to “recharge” I feel very uncomfortable/spaced out/on edge if I am in a situation where I can’t sleep.


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