Moreover, some people with ADHD might be more sensitive to textures, flavors, foods, stimuli, and scents compared to the general population. Therefore, they might not readily accept most foods, which contribute to anorexia. Alternatively, a person with ADHD might find it overwhelming to process the information on healthy food choices and portions. Hence, they might choose to take an ‘’all or nothing’’ approach in which they eat everything or nothing to ease decision-making.
ADHD and Bulimia
With the poor impulse control that people with ADHD have, restricting what they eat might be an issue. To keep themselves from feeling guilty after bingeing on food, some develop bulimia, a condition in which they purge or exercise excessively to get rid of the food they have eaten.
In ADHD bulimia, food is considered self-medication for anger, stress, boredom, and anxiety. The food fills the emotional gap that the person feels and becomes his/ her source of comfort. Binge eaters and those with ADHD have issues paying attention to their internal cues on hunger and satiety.
Management of ADHD and Eating Disorders
The treatment of eating disorders is complicated, especially when dealing with ADHD. Treating an eating disorder with consideration of ADHD is essential. Knowing the effect of ADHD on an eating disorder and the effect of the eating disorder on ADHD is key to successful treatment. Management of ADHD and eating disorders requires a team comprising nutritionists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and physicians. Below are some of the approaches for ADHD and eating disorders treatments:
- Eat Healthily: Practice eating healthy by setting time for meal plans detailing what and how much you will eat. You can help someone with ADHD by portioning the foods for them to make the task less overwhelming.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: CBT is another option to address the distorted views, unhealthy behaviors, and negative thinking associated with ADHD. The person with ADHD can also learn accountability and healthy ways of coping with discomfort to avoid overeating.
- Talk Therapy: Traditional talk therapy can help, but often in combination with CBT.
- Stimulant Medications: Stimulants are generally the first-line medications for ADHD and eating disorders. They can improve self-control, promote impulse control and reduce appetite to prevent binge eating. Since stimulant medication may help diminish the urge to overeat, they are not used to manage anorexia. The first medication permitted by the FDA for BED treatment is Vyvanse.
- SSRIs: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors have been beneficial in treating bulimia. These drugs ease the mood, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and anxiety, thus controlling binge eating.
ADHD is sometimes the root cause of some eating disorders. You now understand the connection between ADHD and eating disorders with the above information. These eating disorders are serious medical conditions that can lead to heart issues, extreme malnutrition, and lifestyle diseases. To successfully manage ADHD and eating disorders, you need a professional well-versed in both conditions.
The experts at Mango Clinic can help you with ADHD and eating disorders. They take an all-around approach when addressing your symptoms and consider your lifestyle to ensure the management is customized to your needs. Contact us today for a customized management plan for ADHD and eating disorders or click the banner below to book your appointment.