Table of contents


10 min read

ADHD Burnout

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Dec 15, 2021

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

If you have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing a million things at once. At first, it might seem exciting, like you’re able to simultaneously achieve an infinite number of things. But there comes a point where you hit a wall, also known as ADHD burnout. The tasks begin to pile up, unfinished. The simplest chores feel impossible. And a sense of shame pervades everything. 

If you are feeling ADHD burnout, finding a provider and waiting weeks to be seen might seem like more trouble than it’s worth—especially when you’re dealing with the effects of ADHD burnout now.  

Luckily, Klarity makes finding ADHD treatment online fast and easy. Take a quick, free evaluation, and meet with an ADHD-trained medical provider in 48 hours or less

What is ADHD Burnout?

Adult ADHD is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Untreated adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.

If you have ADHD, you’re probably not a stranger to feeling like you’re juggling a million balls at once. When you experience ADHD burnout, what starts out as feeling overwhelmed can result in excruciating exhaustion. You lose your sense of motivation, see everything as just adding to your workload, and withdraw in the face of your long list of to-dos. 

You’re not alone, and there are ways you can prevent or alleviate symptoms of ADHD burnout so that you can take care of your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. If you’d like to speak with an ADHD-trained specialist from the comfort of your own home in 48 hours or less, take our free online ADHD assessment.

Noticing symptoms and suspect you have a mental health condition? Find fast, affordable care from a provider on Klarity today.

ADHD Burnout Symptoms

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with ADHD burnout – and yet it is an often overlooked mental health symptom in our modern work-oriented society. When you’re exhausted, other areas of your life can be impacted by your emotional and physical well-being. In addition to fatigue, you may experience the following:

  • Difficulty regulating your emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory issues
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Poor impulse control
  • Acute sensitivity to rejection
  • Irritability
  • Decreased motivation
  • Challenges with work or school

On Klarity, you’ll have 24/7 messaging access to your provider, making it easy to schedule follow-up appointments or reach out for advice when your ADHD symptoms are causing you to feel ADHD burnout.

Are People with ADHD More Susceptible to Burnout?

Adults with ADHD are much more likely to experience burnout compared to adults without it. There is a tendency to overcompensate, which stems from a lifelong sense of shortcomings and leads to taking on more than humanly possible to achieve. 

Lacking a sense of personal limits, an adult with ADHD will accumulate more and more tasks, and this, coupled with a feeling of guilt about resting, inevitably leads to the dead-end wall of burnout.

Why Does ADHD Burnout Occur?

The low sense of self-worth begins in childhood when a student with ADHD finds him- or herself having to work twice as hard to keep up with their peers but still finds themselves being reprimanded for not “trying” hard enough. 

Once they become adults and find a job, their tendency is to take on more and more work and to say yes to more and more activities because now they finally feel accepted, and by doing more, they can sustain that feeling. 

Coupled with a sense of selfishness when it comes to taking time for themselves, adults with ADHD keep going until all of their energy is depleted and burnout sets in.

The ADHD Burnout Cycle

Burnout tends to lead to resignation, quitting, giving up, and often actual physical exhaustion.

Then the cycle begins again, at first with a flurry of hyperfixation coupled with routine procrastination, self-medicating with caffeine or tobacco, then guilt and neglect, paralysis, and ultimately giving up whatever the project was, only to begin again once the next hyperfixation on an activity or job arises.

How to Recover from ADHD Burnout?

When dealing with ADHD burnout, it’s important to focus on your needs and to listen to your body and mind. Take the time needed to acknowledge your symptoms by practicing skills such as self-awareness and acceptance. It’s also important to know you’re not alone when it comes to coping with ADHD burnout and that if you need help, that help is there. 

Some of the top ways to recovery from ADHD burnout include:

  • Practice Saying No
  • Prioritize Rest
  • Overestimate How Long a Task Will Take
  • Exercise, Meditation, and Deep Breathing
  • Seek Professional Help

1. Practice Saying No

People with ADHD often have trouble saying no and setting boundaries, which can make burnout worse and contribute to mental exhaustion and anxiety.

When you take on too much, it can exacerbate symptoms of burnout. People with ADHD are more likely to identify as people pleasers, and struggle to to set boundaries with friends, families, and coworkers.

Whether it’s an additional responsibility at work that you can’t handle right now or a social event with friends, practice saying no. Giving yourself space to focus on and ask for what you need will help you avoid falling prey to the burnout cycle in the future. 

2. Prioritize Rest

People with ADHD often sacrifice rest, self care, and self compassion due to their ADHD symptoms.

Rest is essential to overall well-being and its crucial for preventing burnout. It can be hard to slow down when we live in a society that tells you to go, go, go all the time. Carving out time to relax and unwind will help you sleep better, which will help offset fatigue associated with ADHD burnout. 

This will make a huge difference. Your mind needs rest just as much as your body, so it’s also important to take time off from screens and electronics to prevent burnout from overwhelming you.

3. Overestimate How Long a Task Will Take

People with ADHD often underestimate the amount of time they will need to complete a task, which is bad for ADHD and burnout.

When you’re faced with a growing list of tasks, underestimating the amount of time it will take you to complete each one will only hurt you in the long run. Instead, overestimate the length of time you need to finish a task to give yourself a time cushion, which can help you relax, be more productive, and feel less stressed. 

4. Exercise, Meditation, and Deep Breathing

People with ADHD often struggle to make the appropriate accommodations to get enough exercise. They can neglect physical exercise because of the fatigue and exhaustion associated with burnout. However, self-care tips like regular exercise, deep breathing exercises and meditation are essential for managing ADHD symptoms, including ADHD burnout. Don’t neglect this type of self-care, like many people with ADHD do!

5. Seek Professional Help

If you believe you have ADHD, it’s never too late to ask for help. Klarity makes receiving online ADHD treatment hassle-free and convenient. You can receive an ADHD diagnosis and ADHD treatment online through Klarity, if applicable. 

Providers on Klarity Offer Easy, Fast ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

At Klarity, getting a proper diagnosis is the first step in your journey to symptom relief. The providers on Klarity have decades of experience in treating adult ADHD. Klarity is committed to providing simplified and personalized care for ADHD patients. If you believe you have ADHD symptoms and are experiencing ADHD burnout, take a free, fast self-evaluation and speak with an experienced ADHD-trained medical professional within 48 hours.

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