Don't Let ADHD Fatigue Win! How to beat back the eepie

Julia Ovcharenko, CEO of Numo
May 22, 2024

Hello, fellow ADHDers! Feeling tired?

Good! Well…actually, it’s bad, but it’s good because do I have a solution for you.

Did YOU know that ADHD fatigue is a special case! 🤓 Indeed, it’s not like the run-of-the-mill fatigue that you experience when you run a marathon or somesuch.

ADHD fatigue is actually a blend of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by the strain that ADHD puts on your life

So…how do we deal with that.
Excellent question! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s start from the beginning 🦕 
In today’s article, you will learn:

  • What’s ADHD fatigue anyway?
  • The causes behind ADHD fatigue…
  • …and the consequences
  • How to we deal with it?
  • And inescapable plug!

Alright. Are you ready?

Well, let’s dig in!!!

[Understanding ADHD fatigue] Understanding ADHD fatigue: does ADHD make you tired?

Well, we all get tired, no? So what does make ADHD so much more special compared to the normal one?

The first thing we have to understand is that ADHD fatigue is both mental and physical! So, getting pumped full of caffeine won’t really help there. 

In that sense, ADHD fatigue shares some characteristics with other mental health conditions, such as depression. When I talk about ADHD fatigue being “mentally straining,” what it means is that simply living with ADHD demands more brain power. Concentrate, ignore distractions, and force yourself to do things you know you should be doing but cannot. All that extra work is tiresome, leading to fatigue and frustration.

Hence, why rest doesn’t always help, the restlessness might even be chronic, as ADHDers often wake up as tired as when they went to sleep.

It maybe would have been easier if other people were kind of accepting and understanding of this type of fatigue, but all of us ADHDers know how that usually goes, eh? 🙄

jUsT sLeEp mOrE. jUsT eXeRcIsE mOrE. jUsT fOcUs!

Others might not see it, but it's a significant strain for someone with ADHD. So, an already sizeable mental load of ADHD fatigue gets multiplied by the need to manage the relationships, and that management is exhausting. 

Understanding ADHD fatigue means recognizing the extra mental work required by those with ADHD. As with anything ADHD-related, if we want to deal with it, first, we need to figure out what we are actually fighting against…

With that said, let’s look over the primary causes of the issues behind ADHD fatigue. 

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[Causes of ADHD Fatigue] Causes of ADHD Fatigue

As with any facet of ADHD, it’s difficult to pinpoint whether ADHD fatigue stems from this or that factor. 

If we are to the point and thorough, it’d be proper to say that it stems from multiple factors, both of “nurture” and “nature” varieties. 

Neurobiological Factors

One quite important part of ADHD is that it messes with neurotransmitter regulation. Specifically, we’re talking about dopamine and norepinephrine; both are crucial for maintaining attention and high executive function. 

When these are imbalanced, it makes sustaining attention and controlling impulses a lot more complicated.

Like, with ADHD, falling asleep when bored is perfectly normal! Because ADHDers don’t get enough satisfaction from delayed rewards, they may often act on impulses. Resisting impulses requires a lot of mental fortitude. Conversely, giving in to impulses can also cause undue stress from missed deadlines and other consequences of poor time and impulse management. 

Psychological Factors

Stemming from the previous factor, simply existing with ADHD is like living life in a complex mode. Staying focused, doing chores, performing at work, listening to people - it’s not automated like breathing. A lot of the time, it requires a conscious, mental effort.

Ever been in a situation where you had to do 3 or 4 things at once, and it felt like you were about to burst? Now imagine that almost every hour of living. Over time, naturally, such stress accumulates, and the mind can just give up, leading to fatigue. 

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Living with ADHD often means facing extra hurdles in day-to-day life, especially when it comes to managing energy and attention. One of the most common challenges - sleep, or rather, the lack of it. Insufficient sleep amplifies the fatigue that often accompanies ADHD, making an already challenging situation even more demanding.

But it's not just about how many hours you catch each night. 

What you eat and how much you move play significant roles, too. A diet not supporting your energy needs or a routine of missing physical activity can leave you feeling even more drained.

Environments filled with distractions or lacking a sense of order can further deplete your already taxed attention reserves. 

Each element – from sleep patterns and nutrition to exercise routines and physical spaces – plays a part in draining or replenishing your energy. This understanding paves the way for strategies that tackle ADHD from multiple angles, combining biological, psychological, and lifestyle adjustments for a more balanced and energized life.

[Impact of ADHD Fatigue] Impact of ADHD Fatigue

So, at the end of the day, what’s the impact of it all. Or, as I should put it, why should we care about ADHD fatigue anyway?

Well, as we have already established, ADHD fatigue is like normal tiredness. Naturally, its consequences will be similar to traditional fatigue but amplified.

Daily Life

Consider your everyday to-do list. Now, imagine approaching it with your energy already on the low side. Tasks that need you to lock in your attention suddenly seem daunting. Performing at work or school, keeping on top of assignments, or just trying to stay organized - the struggle is real. 

Emotional Consequences

Engaging in social activities or fulfilling social commitments requires energy—energy that feels like it's always in short supply. The result? You might find yourself stepping back from social gatherings, leading to isolation and the pain of feeling misunderstood by friends and family. Maintaining social connections becomes another source of stress, adding to the already heavy load.

Social Implications

Engaging in social activities or fulfilling social commitments requires energy—energy that feels like it's always in short supply. You might find yourself stepping back from social gatherings, leading to isolation and the pain of feeling misunderstood by friends and family. Trying to maintain social connections becomes yet another source of stress, adding to the already heavy load.

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[How to treat ADHD fatigue] How to treat ADHD fatigue

Managing ADHD fatigue requires a multifaceted approach that addresses its root causes and mitigates its impact on daily life.

Medical Interventions

Stimulant medications, known for boosting concentration and energy, sometimes can be the only thing that keeps ADHD symptoms at bay for some people. 

But it ain’t no silver bullet, pardner. 🤠 Some people have side effects so awful from stuff like Adderall that they instead manage the good ol’ ADHD. Of course, there are also nootropics and other non-stimulant options to consider.

The obvious play here is to have a close and trusting relationship with your doctor who can guide you on this medicine journey to ensure that you get the right ingredients and the proper dosages.

Behavioral Strategies

Embracing tools like planners, timers, and apps can streamline your task management, making deadlines less daunting and tasks more manageable. It's all about prioritizing your energy for the battles that matter. 

So, you know, instead of dredging in the pits of task initiation, you can focus on actually doing things for once? 

Lifestyle Changes

Sleep hygiene is crucial for managing ADHD fatigue. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful environment, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime can improve sleep quality. Nutrition and exercise also play vital roles. Meanwhile, a balanced diet fuels your body and mind, and regular exercise acts as a natural energy booster and mood lifter. These lifestyle pillars work together to fortify you against fatigue

Psychological Support

Engaging in therapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), offers a safe space to dismantle negative thought patterns and build resilience. Support groups, on the other hand, provide a mirror for your experiences, reflecting that you're not alone. These communities provide understanding and validation, contributing to a holistic approach to managing ADHD fatigue.

And speaking of support groups 👀

We actually have a readymade one just for you - and all other ADHD folks. 

Our Numo app is like a Swiss Army knife for ADHD, as we have crammed it full of features that can help you out - from a task planner to a noise generator.

But! The coolestest thing on it, and the one we’re most proud of, are our communities, the ones we call tribes.

These are community forums where you can ask any fellow ADHDer about what THEY do to combat fatigue…or you can ask anything else, really. Like, literally. There are no hard rules, just be nice…or else 🔪

Cough. But yes, we have those and you should definitely check them out, otherwise our copywriter won’t be paid this month!

[Practical Tips for Coping with ADHD Fatigue] (Some more) Practical Tips for Coping with ADHD Fatigue

But these all are like general rules, guidelines, savvy?

Let’s talk about something practical on the down low if you don’t know where to start. 

Establish Routines

Consistent daily routines minimize the mental effort required to transition between tasks. Morning and evening routines that prepare you for the day and help you wind down can conserve energy for more demanding tasks.

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Large projects can seem overwhelming, leading to procrastination and increased fatigue. Breaking tasks into manageable parts can help maintain focus and reduce the mental fatigue ADHD causes, making it easier to start and complete tasks.

And, yes, I am broken record here, but if you’re unawares (and somehow skipped the last section of the article), we do actually have a really cool planner for you that you can get exactly here 👇

Numo: Cringe-Free ADHD App on the App Store (

Use Time Management Tools

Planners, digital calendars, and timers can be invaluable for managing time and tasks. Setting reminders for deadlines and appointments can help keep you on track without the constant mental effort to remember everything.

Limit Distractions

Create a work environment that minimizes distractions. This may involve noise-canceling headphones, a clutter-free workspace, or apps blocking distracting websites.

If you’re looking for an easy way to drown out the noise, try…another noise. Some research suggests that using noise generators can help you keep your focus when you so desperately need it. 

Schedule Breaks

Regular breaks during task-heavy periods can prevent burnout. Short breaks to stand, stretch, or walk can help refresh your focus and energy levels.

[Conclusion] Conclusion

And there we have it. 

I hope this article didn’t feel…exhausting. Ahahaha. Ehehehe…heeee


To summarize what we have learned today: 

  • ADHD fatigue is different from normal fatigue as it constitutes mental and physical strain that living with ADHD puts on our bodies.
  • Its causes are multifaceted, from the neurobiology behind ADHD to the mental strain of having to juggle normal life while ADHD tries to get in the way.
  • The consequences of unchecked ADHD fatigue are similar to that of normal fatigue but a lot worse.
  • From that, we can conclude that handling ADHD fatigue is all about proper ADHD symptom management, which then reduces the strain ADHD puts on our bodies.

Like ADHD burnout, it may seem that experiencing ADHD chronic fatigue is but a certainty of living with this condition. But in all honesty, it doesn’t have to be! 

With the right mindset and approach, taking control of your condition and feeling as fresh as a non-neurodivergent cucumber is possible.

And if you ever feel like you need that extra oomph to overcome the hurdle…we, Numo family, are always here to help you 💪

So, come along if you’d like!

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