ADHD fatigue: does ADHD make you tired?

Yes, ADHD can be fatiguing because you may have to expend extra effort and energy to stay focused and complete tasks.

The relationship between ADHD and fatigue is a complex and often overlooked aspect of living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Individuals with ADHD may experience fatigue as a common symptom due to the extra efforts they may have to make in managing day-to-day tasks.[i] The challenge of navigating daily responsibilities with the added stress of struggling to meet expectations can contribute to increased feelings of exhaustion and burnout.[ii]

One significant factor contributing to ADHD fatigue syndrome is the difficulty in maintaining consistent sleep patterns. ADHD can make it challenging for individuals to fall asleep easily and experience restful sleep without frequent disruptive awakenings. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate feelings of tiredness throughout the day, creating a cycle of fatigue and ADHD sleepiness that further impacts their ability to cope with daily life. [iii]

For decades, the Drake Institute has used advanced treatment technologies to create customized treatment protocols for patients with ADHD and other brain-based disorders. We use a combination of brain map-guided neurofeedback and neurostimulation to help our ADHD patients reduce their symptoms and experience a higher quality of life.

For more information about how the Drake Institute treats ADHD and several other brain-based disorders, please fill out the consultation form or call us at 800-700-4233.

Why does ADHD make you feel fatigued?

If you find that ADHD makes you tired, you’re not alone.

The answer to why ADHD makes you feel tired is partly because you have to work much harder to complete tasks. If the brain is under-activated, which is the most common finding in patients with ADHD, your brain has to work much harder to stay focused and complete tasks.

In other words, many patients may find that the symptoms of ADHD can lead to feeling physically drained, resulting in an experience of ADHD low energy[iv] . Working through disorganization caused by executive functioning challenges can also be exhausting. This is why ADHD and chronic fatigue often occur together. [v]

Can ADHD cause fatigue, then? Yes, fatigue and burnout are potential side effects of untreated ADHD when the individual must use extra energy to cope with the added pressure coming from attention deficits. In addition, a dopamine imbalance, typical of ADHD, causes the brain to work inefficiently, resulting in having to work harder to get responsibilities completed.[vi]

How does ADHD affect sleep?

ADHD can significantly impact sleep, leading to disturbances that further contribute to fatigue. One common challenge is difficulty falling asleep. Many individuals with ADHD are self-described night owls that feel more alert at the end of the day and into the night.[vii]

Staying asleep without frequent awakenings and difficulty getting back to sleep is an additional problem for some individuals with ADHD. In many cases, sleep does not feel restful, and these individuals may not feel alert even after a full night’s sleep.[viii] These patients can develop cumulative sleep deficits which makes everything worse.

Another sleep challenge some ADHD individuals face is difficulty waking up in the morning. Consistently sleeping through alarms or attempts to wake them up could be signs of ADHD-associated sleep problems. [ix]

How to reduce ADHD fatigue

Reducing ADHD exhaustion requires improving brain functioning towards more optimal, efficient regulation. As the brain works more efficiently and faster, cognitive loads are more easily processed.

To treat ADHD fatigue, we recommend clinical treatment with brain map-guided neurofeedback, and sometimes, adjunctively neurostimulation. These treatments can help reduce fatigue by optimizing healthier, more efficient brain functioning.

At the Drake Institute, we have had ADHD patients who by the completion of their treatment program no longer meet diagnostic criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.

In addition to clinical treatment, we recommend the following supportive strategies:

To reduce fatigue, incorporate lifestyle changes such as getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise.[x]

Establishing consistent sleep hygiene practices, such as creating a calming, consistent bedtime routine and eliminating screen time before sleep, can help mitigate sleep disturbances associated with ADHD.[xi]

How does ADHD fatigue relate to ADHD burnout

The persistent fatigue and exhaustion associated with ADHD can sometimes lead to ADHD burnout.

ADHD burnout[xii] encompasses a range of symptoms beyond fatigue, including a lack of motivation, irritability, trouble managing emotions, and feeling overwhelmed. It represents a state of mental and emotional exhaustion that can be triggered by the continuous effort required to navigate day-to-day life challenges when one’s brain functioning is neurophysically compromised by untreated ADHD. The ongoing demands for self-regulation with regards to hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulties in concentration can be overwhelming and draining.[xiii] In addition, being frequently criticized for unsatisfactory performance or behavior compounds the problem.

Hyperfocus can further exacerbate ADHD burnout. Overfocusing or obsessing on a topic or project for excessive periods can interrupt healthy habits like getting adequate sleep, exercise, or proper nutrition.[xiv]

How the Drake Institute Treats ADHD

Over the last 40 years, the Drake Institute has clinically pioneered the use of advanced treatment technologies to treat a variety of brain-based medical disorders such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, insomnia, and more. Using a combination of brain map-guided neurofeedback and sometimes neurostimulation, our Medical Director creates customized treatment protocols to address each patient's needs.

Brain Mapping

To develop our individualized treatment plans, we first complete a qEEG brain map analysis for each patient. Brain mapping helps us identify which specific regions or networks of the brain are dysregulated linked to symptoms.

To collect this data, 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in areas of the brain responsible for language, focus, memory, executive functioning, social/emotional understanding and behavioral/emotional regulation. The 19 sensors measure and record brainwave activity that is processed through a normative database of neurotypical individuals.

When we compare the patient's results with those of neurotypical individuals, we can identify regions or networks of the brain that are dysregulated and causing symptoms. This information also allows us to determine how these areas are dysregulated so that we can develop specific treatment protocols that help improve brain functioning and reduce symptoms.


During neurofeedback training/treatment, sensors are once again placed on the scalp. The sensors record and display instantaneous brainwave activity visually in real-time on a computer screen with simultaneous auditory feedback as well.

During neurofeedback sessions, the patient is seeing the results of how their brain is working and with this information, they learn to improve their brainwave activity by guiding it toward healthier, more appropriately functional brainwave patterns.

We do not administer any drugs or perform invasive procedures during this process. Instead, the patient is improving their own brain functioning, guided by visual and auditory feedback.


As an adjunct to neurofeedback, we may also use neurostimulation guided by qEEG brain map findings to gently stimulate the brain into healthier functional patterns. In our experience, some patients may benefit even more from neurofeedback if we also use neurostimulation. We have found this particularly helpful for lower-functioning children on the Autism Spectrum.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

In the last forty years, Drake has helped thousands of patients with various disorders such as autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, insomnia, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and hypertension reduce or resolve their symptoms and thereby achieve a better quality of life. Call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form to get started.
















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“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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