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Can ADHD cause fatigue?

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ADHD and fatigueSymptomsHow to manage ADHD fatigueTreatmentCoping with ADHDSummary
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can result in symptoms such as restlessness and impulsivity. This can often lead to further symptoms such as fatigue (low energy) and tiredness.
Medically reviewed by Nicole Washington, DO, MPH
Written by Suan Pineda
Updated on

People with ADHD can experience symptoms such as difficulty paying attention, restlessness, and impulsivity. This can often result in them feeling tired and fatigued. They may also experience trouble falling or staying asleep.

ADHD is a common mental health condition that affects 4.4% of adults in the United States and about 5.3 million children. 

A healthcare professional can work with you to determine what treatment options can help, such as medication and therapy.

Can ADHD cause tiredness? 

Image of a parent and child taking a nap to depict fatigue.
A.J. Schokora/Stocksy United

A 2015 study concluded that ADHD can develop into a syndrome of chronic fatigue. According to a 2022 study, the symptoms can lead to fatigue, which can worsen ADHD symptoms such as inattention and difficulty concentrating.

The study also noted that tryptophan — an amino acid that promotes good sleep quality — may cause fatigue in ADHD. An imbalance in tryptophan can lead to symptoms such as:

  • inattention
  • fatigue
  • cognitive decline

The condition can often affect dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter linked with motivation, executive function, and emotional regulation. A 2008 study reported that an imbalance in levels can cause you to feel exhausted and unmotivated.

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While ADHD-induced fatigue can often manifest as tiredness and sleepiness, it can also increase other ADHD symptoms such as:

How can you manage ADHD-induced fatigue?

ADHD and fatigue can be linked in a cycle. But specific practices can help you get better sleep and manage the general symptoms of ADHD that can reduce fatigue (see the sections below). 

A 2021 research review suggests that some therapies can help with sleep quality in people with ADHD, such as:

A 2016 study on children with ADHD pointed to the importance of a sleep hygiene routine to reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve sleep quality. A good sleep hygiene includes:

  • going to bed around the same time every night
  • avoiding cellphones, computers, and TV before bedtime
  • eating an early dinner
  • avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime
  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • creating a relaxing environment for sleeping that’s dark and quiet, with a comfortable temperature
  • trying to get between 7–9 hours of uninterrupted sleep


To address ADHD-induced fatigue, it can be helpful to focus on treating symptoms of ADHD itself. A healthcare professional may recommend therapy and medication.

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Medication for ADHD

Stimulants and nonstimulants are some medications prescribed to treat ADHD.

Stimulants include medications such as:

Nonstimulant medications include:

It’s important to know that a healthcare professional may not readily prescribe ADHD medications. Many can be habit-forming and may not be the safest or most straightforward approach to treating ADHD. Instead, they will work with you to determine what treatment option will be the most suitable.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, Optum Perks free Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.


A doctor may also recommend therapy to treat your ADHD symptoms, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of therapy that can help you manage and change your thought patterns.
  • Talk therapy: Talk therapy can help you identify your feelings and better manage their effect on your daily life.

How to cope with ADHD 

To manage symptoms of ADHD, including heightened emotions such as anger, certain lifestyle strategies can help. These include:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • doing regular exercise, for around 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week
  • reducing stress with practices, such as:
    • meditation
    • mindfulness
    • yoga
    • breathing exercises


ADHD often results in symptoms such as restlessness and impulsivity, which can cause further symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness.

Several methods can help you manage or prevent ADHD symptoms, such as:

  • stimulant ADHD medication such as amphetamine (Adderall)
  • nonstimulant ADHD medication such as atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • talk therapy
  • exercising regularly
  • mindfulness practices, such as yoga

If you find that ADHD symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, consider speaking with a healthcare professional. They can work with you to put together a suitable treatment plan.

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