Concussion and ADHD

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    • #110002

      I’m wondering if there is any research/information on people with ADHD and Post-Concussive Syndrome.

      I was in an accident over 2 years ago and am still suffering from Post-Concussive Syndrome. I was diagnosed with ADHD before the accident and treatment was going well.

      I’m extremely frustrated as the PCS has made it so I cannot work, I can’t focus, reading is painful and disorienting. Yes I had difficulties before the accident, they were manageable I was a high functioning professional that thrived in a thrilling workplace.
      Now get exhausted after just going to doctor appointments. I can barely do household tasks and I can’t do most of the things I used to do.

      I’d love to know if anyone else out there is going through this, with the complications of ADHD added to the mix, and if there are any studies, books, articles that I should check out. (Note I’ve read the basic ADHD books, I’m a bit of a self-help book addict, so more just looking specifically for the head-injury portion with ADHD).


    • #110007

      I am by no means a doctor. I did ask a neurologist, some years ago, if a concussion could cause ADHD. His reply was that a concussion would not cause ADHD, however a concussion can cause ADHD symptoms to become mormore apparent. Hope this helps.
      Remember our brain in neuroelastic, it might taktake time but your brain will heal from the concussion. Trust me.
      I am on recovery from a 3 concussion #PostConcussionMom

    • #190391

      I’m sorry to hear about the concussion and its impact on your ADHD. I’m 27 years old now and suffered 2 or 3 sports-related concussions in high school that I recovered from after a few weeks. At the start of 2017, I was in a car accident and suffered a TBI. It took about 1 year of hard work to get back to being able to function and interview/apply to a competitive office job as an analyst on computers all day. I wasn’t my full self for about 2 years after the crash, at which point I suffered a concussion in the office (weird). It felt like someone threw a monkey wrench in my brain’s gears and after 2 weeks, returned back to work (too early). I was diagnosed with depression after that concussion and still deal with it even though that was 2 years ago. It complicated my ADHD symptoms for sure.

      One thing I can HIGHLY recommend is purchasing yourself a pair of Blue Light blocking glasses. I wear them anytime I’m looking at screens (phone, computer, etc.) and it has been a godsend. Without the glasses, I couldn’t look at a computer screen without getting headaches. You can easily find/purchase a pair on Amazon for around $20.

      One of the most helpful things I did for my general mood and energy/motivation levels got in the gym on a regular basis, which helped a ton. More recently, I’ve been just doing cardio (running) and have been surprised by how much this has helped me. I went from running two miles or so, up to 27 on one random day. After running the 27 miles (because I was bored/depressed at the start of covid), I felt like a new man and it literally changed my mood significantly for the better the following day and to the present. You can listen to audiobooks for self-help while you’re running to not get bored. I also found that when I ran, the info of the audiobooks sunk into my brain more.

      In addition to running, I most highly recommend practicing the Wim Hof guided breathing technique (there are 10 min Youtube videos that guide you through the breathing). It’s meant to be done in an ice bath or cold shower (I do shower and worked my way up to cold water). The science backs this and has changed what scientists believed was possible. Wim Hof created this technique to help with the depression he suffered after his wife passed. He had no energy and was lost and just depressed. In practicing his technique, he was able to flip his life around and is now basically superhuman. The technique helps reset your body’s natural biology and helps with energy, resetting the sleep cycle, anxiety, depression, motivation, and focus. If you’re apprehensive to try this with cold water, you can start without and then work your way to it. What’s the worst that can happen, you get a little cold and waste a little water… I told this to my buddy and that was enough to convince him to start trying the technique, which he has greatly benefitted from like countless others.

      It may also be worth going to a nutritionist to help optimize your diet, which fuels your brain. I did this after my bad car crash and it was super helpful. They ran tests to see where I was deficient in certain vitamins/minerals/etc. and see what toxins (metals like aluminum, etc.) were in my system. I found out I had a lot of aluminum in my system, which is detrimental to the brain and as a result of well using aluminum foil on most food I made and also apparently from smoking spliffs (nicotine and cannabis joint [former medical marijuana patient]). The diet makes a huge difference and I also found my adrenal system was out of whack, which the nutritionist helped get back on track. One of the supplements she had me take for my adrenals (controls energy, etc.) was L-Tyrosine (amino acid). For my anxiety, she had me taking high-grade Kava Kava supplements, to replace the Ativan I was on that was slowing my recovery.

      I know this is a lot and you may not see is that this was an older post, but thought sharing my experience may be able to help.

    • #190394

      Thanks for the response. I figured I would post an update, so others can also learn from what I’ve learned. (NOTE – my writing hasn’t recovered so apologies if this isn’t the cleanest piece of writing).

      It’s been over 4 years and still I am seeing a lot of Post-concussive symptoms remaining, as well as a lot of chronic pain issues as a result of my other injuries. I still haven’t gotten back to work but I am working with an occupational therapist and can do about 4-8 hours a week of cognitive exercises. Headaches are still constant but vary in degree, and pain sucks. Progress is slow but you have to keep working at it. I will say recently I’ve actually noticed some of my old ADHD habits emerging, which I welcomed because it felt normal and familiar.

      But here’s what I’ve learned:

      – Blue light filters – A MUST! I have purchased computer monitors that have blue light filters in them in addition to keeping night shade on permanently. While I still cannot use a screen in normal amounts, it has helped me build up a little. You can also adjust the blue in the actual screen settings as well, plus reduce brightness.

      – Glasses – I have 3 sets of glasses one has a regular blue light filter (honestly that doesn’t do much, but it does not distort colour), I have a set of red glasses the lenses are called FL41 (these are for fluorescent lighting and unmodified screens), Maui Jim also makes polarized sunglass lenses that supports a blue light filter. The red glasses allow me to go to shopping malls, grocery stores, and places with strong fluorescent lighting that used to be painful.

      – Ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones – I have custom ear plugs that I keep on me at all times. Loud noises still cause me a lot of pain so having them on hand helps. I also bought proper noise cancelling headphones. While they work the best with music on, some days I cannot tolerate music, I will often put them on at a grocery store or mall and put the cancelling on. I find it takes the painful and confusing layer of sound out. You can still hear people talking to you, but it doesn’t hurt anymore.

      -E-reader – I cannot read large amounts of text on a screen. Truth be told I needed to take breaks while writing this… But I bought the ONYX Boox Nova2, it’s a tablet that is made out of e-paper. It works like any other Android tablet. I have resumed leisure reading which I hadn’t been able to do in 4 years. If I can’t print out something I can now at least send it to this tablet. It also has a great note taking function, which as an aside I use for daily logs, to do lists, and now I don’t have to carry a giant notebook to doctors etc, it’s all saved on this tiny tablet.

      -Apps/tools – I have found that many of the organizational apps or tools from this site apply both to ADHD and Concussion. I stopped reading this site for a while, mostly because I couldn’t, but when I came back I found that a lot of the techniques I only used a little, now became more relevant. Any sort of brain injury impacts executive functioning and I have found it has impacted things that my ADHD did not noticeably impact.

      Exercise- I agree with the exercise. It was just so hard building up, the nausea and dizziness is still a problem for me. But I know if I stop exercising all of my symptoms will get so much worse. I have also learned that core workouts have helped my balance and stability. A lot of core workouts can be done on your back with your head and neck supported. It also has the added benefit of not being able to fall if you are already laying down. I still get dizzy but I trust my body a bit more so that when I feel unstable I can work through it. Although, I still faint and run into things, spatial awareness is still a problem. Exercise also helps so much with pain, other general brain function and mental health.

      Mindfulness – oh man, this is my weakness… I know that it is important and I know it helps but it is a daily struggle to manage my mindfulness practice. I have a handful of different recordings a like and I try to tie with other things in my routine. When I can’t do meditations I try to do other types of mindfulness, like mindful eating, mindful exercise or movement, making mindful decisions.

      Diet – YES – about a year an a half ago I started making major changes to my diet. I know this site says sugar is bad, high fibre good, blah, blah… But it is so true. I cut all processed sugar out of my diet and I notice that if I cheat and have a treat my pain almost immediately increases. Also post accident I gained 30lb due to bed rest etc. I am now under my pre-accident weight, and I no longer crave sugar and chocolate. Yesterday I ordered size small pants that fit! I went from a size 14 waist to a size 4. This has made exercising more fun and engaging and this new lifestyle has really helped. I’ll also echo the above post that ensuring you have the right supplements is key. My bloodwork showed I was deficient in a lot and I now have a balanced supplement regiment.

      Sleep – I was fortunate that my sleep wasn’t too horrible. But I have a set bedtime and I get up the same time daily. I also try very hard not to nap. By keeping the sleep routine stable it allows your body the time it needs to recover. I use a Fitbit to monitor my sleep so I know when something is off.

      Lastly a good team – my medical team is huge and it has taken 4 years to get all the right treatment, covid also has not helped. All of the things we are saying are helpful, but of course you need to listen to and trust your doctors. Concussion usually does not come without other issues (either pain, mental health, etc.) you have to treat all the symptoms and this can take a long time to get to. In the last year I finally found out what was wrong with my shoulder and neck which has resulted in yet another piece of the puzzle.

      Thanks again to the above post for your response.

    • #190658

      After 20 years of visual issues following a concussion, I ended up doing Visual Therapy and it’s making a huge difference. It turned out that I had a number of vision processing issues post-concussion (convergence problems, visual memory issues, and peripheral vision problems) that were making my brain work really hard and exhausting my energy. I’m now at the point that I can take a long walk outside without being nauseous due to all the movement in my peripheral vision, and I’m working now to be able to use the peripheral vision while I’m focusing one something as well. It’s hard enough to process things when you have inattentive ADHD (like me) without adding all the extra processing that the vision issues required. I highly recommend looking into Vision Therapy, given the symptoms you describe.

    • #190674

      Oh Yes, I totally forgot about that. It was my optometrist that got me all the glasses but we also did some vision therapy. I can’t afford the in office stuff, but they gave me a bunch of exercises to do at home.

      There is also a computer program out there that is supposed to help with convergence insufficiency, and binocular vision issues due to concussion (that’s what I have, it means that both eyes don’t like to turn in so neither of them are working together, kind of like a lazy eye except both don’t cooperate) I think it was called HTS, but my symptoms are still too severe for it. You’re supposed to do 7 minutes per day and I did only one minute per day and after three days I had to stop. My goal is to eventually get back to it.

      It’s good to know that after 20 years you can still find new types of relief. I once heard the term “the miserable minority” to refer to the 25% of concussion cases that do not heal in the first 3 months. Basically after 3 months there is no way to forecast how long recovery will be. It could be a year it could be 20. Given I’m at the 4 year mark, it is encouraging to know that there is still hope for further improvement. It’s a lot of work, but every once in a while you find something that makes the world of a difference to your recovery.

    • #190751

      It looks like my last post is awaiting moderating still. At this time, I just want to note that Dr. Mark Gordon has been able to help folks who were thought to be riddled with disabilities for over 30 years after having a concussion.

      I hope you have the opportunity to listen to the Joe Rogan Podcast episodes with Dr. Gordon and Andrew Marr (Retired Green Berret patient of Dr. Gordon who had sufferred numerous TBIs from Blast Trauma in the war and tried every TBI treatment out there, only to have success with Dr. Gordon and his protocol).

    • #190732

      I hear you about the cost of Vision Therapy — right now, I’m probably the most expensive thing in my house! I can’t quite see how I could have had improvements after so long by myself, because the workarounds got so entrenched that I couldn’t see what I couldn’t see (literally!). I wish I knew about this much earlier. If you are trying to work on the exercise for yourself, maybe this would help? These exercises are designed to be done at home. I like my blue light blocking glasses also, and I found the diet to be helpful as well (for more than just my focus). I hope you keep improving!

    • #193013
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