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ADHD Adults

the fog

the fog
My fog is described as complete mental and physical fatigue. I feel the mental leads to physical. Maybe brought on by emotions, stress. . but really, I have no idea

at it’s worst; I want to be alone, in a dark room, still, quiet. no matter how much time, it doesn’t go away. I feel I cannot communicate very well, almost mumbling my words. My vision is slightly blurry (different from an alcohol blurriness) It is hard to get my thoughts and feelings, to my head, to my mouth. when someone talks to me and/or asks a question, my usual answer is ‘I don’t know”.
I use whatever I can to get through speaking with people. I cannot sound very good and withit.
In some cases I have an incredibly short fuse. I’m impatient, quick to anger and frustration
. . . all these symptoms compound each other. most of the time ‘the fog’ comes along in the afternoon / early evening. I cannot always hide in a dark room, so I cannot avoid people. Which is what I want to do - avoid people and be alone!

there are times I wake up in the morning partially fogged and my whole day is like that. Its not as severe as the late afternoon / evenings “fog’; though I cannot really do anything and most of the time do nothing that day. completely unproductive.

the days are better now, why I don’t know. I do take adderal LA 3x times a day 15/10/10.
when the days is like that, the adderall mostly does nothing I can notice.I do get a drop in mental energy around 5ish, when my second dose is wearing off. taking the 3rd dose usually did nothing. So, I used alcohol as an energy boost. It got me through the evening; but then the combo of alcohol / adderal came thru and I was an ass. (I’m recently separated and I believe that played a huge part)

I not even sure if the adderal is the right med for me. The stimulant part. The up n down roller coaster ride of mental and physical energy. I do believe it has helped me, which is why I still take it.

I have given up alcohol. Thats helped a lot.

My question is:
What can I do when ‘the fog’ sets in? Especially if I am with my family, friends, clients, anyone.
I told all of this to my psychiatrist the other day and he had no idea what to do about it. (time for a new dr.—especially since I had told him about all of this 3 years ago)

Is medication the answer?
CB strategies?

I started breathing exercises / meditation; though I can rarely get away from people to do this and its not working all that much.

Does anyone have any advice? 
Any one out these feel this way?
a support group to look for? (oakland, ca area)

I really hate this!  I am at a hughe transsitional part of my life, recently separate, no job (I’m taking small jobs while I build my business)
I cannot afford to go through ‘the fog’ anymore

. . sigh . .
thank you for any and all input


That sounds like low cortisol levels. I tend to low blood pressure and get symptoms much like you describe. I also have some physical traits that affect my ADD and tie in with the low BP. Mitral valve prolapse syndrome, no heart murmur but it is a biomarker for several things. One being overly stretchy blood vessels. This also seems linked to receptors for norepinephrine and adrenaline in the blood vessels that help regulate blood pressure. Overly reactive. An adrenaline rush will raise my BP and this often feels good as more blood to the brain and the adrenaline helps brain NE and dopamine work a bit better when low. But when it starts to ebb, my blood vessels over expand and BP plummets. This leads to unpleasant whipsaw as when the blood to the brain gets too low, the body hits the panic button, more adrenaline and up/down cycle.

Cortisol fits in this because NE, DA, adrenaline and cortisol are all downchain from tyrosine. I’ll see if i can find the chart showing how Tyrosine converts to NE and more down the line. If our brain is low in the NE/DA commonly low in ADD, it may try to compensate with more adrenaline. and that may not leave much of the raw materials needed to also make cortisol. And when the body needs cortisol for glucose regulation, and other critical body functions, it will not have enough for the adrenaline, NE and DA. And NE is also needed for muscle contractions. I’ve also found that brain fog is linked with body fatigue.
After major stress 7 years ago I checked my adrenal function via saliva testing at once or twice a year. Samples taken on rising, about noon, later afternoon and before sleep. For me, low cortisol feels much worse than high cortisol. And my pattern tended to show the same late afternoon slump.

At one point when I was recovering from a virus, had allergy symptoms from heavy pollen and cortisol is needed for control of inflammation including runny nose and watery eyes, I had a day with bad hypoglycemia. Shakes, weak, dizzy, ate a meal of mixed fast release carbs, slow release carbs and protein/fat to prevent a rebound. and 5 hours later still hypoglycemic. From some dim dark corner of my brain I recalled hearing that cortisol is a ‘glucocorticoid’ and needed for glucose control. I had some prednisone around from treating an old dog with arthritis. A moderate dose and within an hour my glucose was up in range for energy, bp also up above 85/55 and allergy symptoms gone. All these symptoms fit in with my low cortisol. I had it tested a few days later.

I started some adrenal support with low doses of hydrocortisone, kept records of symptoms and blood pressure, glucose for my doc to monitor when to get off and later switched to ACE, adrenal cortex extract which gives the raw materials plus a small amount of cortisol. It’s important to taper off to prevent rebound.

Posted by Gadfly on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:41pm

If you suffer with muscle pain, you might have fibromyalgia. I do, and I experience the same kind of fog you do except we call it fibro-fog. You might see if you can get a referral to a Rhuematologist.

Posted by Rancher John on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:17pm

Hello Bee1,

Know that you’re not alone! Many of us are feeling the exact same things. I totally “get” your energy highs and lows—it is so exasperating, because for a few brief seconds a day, my energy level and clarity levels are high and I think, “I should call So and So and go to an event” but then a half hour later, the dark energy lows swoop in and I don’t want to be anywhere near people, don’t want to talk to anyone and can barely stand checking my email.

One thing that helps some of the time: taking a brisk walk. Sometimes it keeps me clear, although other times I just want to take a nap after a brisk 35-minute walk. Worst of all is the unpredictability of EVERYTHING—i.e. the fogs and lows seem to come out of nowhere and I can never predict when I’ll be in that awful cage of a bad mood.

You aren’t alone, though.

Posted by leelee2 on Aug 31, 2014 at 12:16am

My response is of course based on my own experience with using a non prescribed substance like alcohol to self medicate. I wonder if you a
have become alcoholic and need help in recovery AA? And that it may take time to come out of the fog from that addiction? Just my thoughts..I certainly do not know what your habit has been concerning alcohol use . Dirk

Posted by Dirk on Aug 31, 2014 at 12:38am

thank you everyone for sharing

—sometimes, I cannot take a walk, breath, rest, etc. due to being with my kids, clients

—No - I dont have fibro—no muscle soreness

—Interesting thought on the cortisol; I’ll look into getting it checked

—so nice to know I am not alone
I’m sure stress, emotions plays a role, crappy, restless sleep (always slept crappy and I’m sure the adderal doesn’t help—I take mellowtonin)  though it comes on when I am not too stressed too

—I stopped drinking a month ago. Haven’t touched a drop. Don’t want too. I drank more alcohol while i was on adderall

I have great diet (though I am wondering about sugar).
sometimes after I eat ‘the fog’ kicks in like ‘food coma’)
I exercise very hard 6 days a week. (thats my sanity)
though sometimes when I’m in t’he fog’ it takes all I can do to exercise I then get the rush, feel good for an hour or so, then crash even harder then before.

your all so helpful . . .makes me feel good

Posted by bee1 on Aug 31, 2014 at 3:32am


Try these three strategies to get rid of your fog:

Apart from using your adhd medication-

1) set a bed time routine
2) Exercise every morning atleast half an hour ( You

Posted by sandy765 on Aug 31, 2014 at 6:40am

You should get sweat from the body)

3) Have a good breakfast ( like eggs or riped banana) there should be atleast one hour gap between this food and your medication…try it…all the best

Posted by sandy765 on Aug 31, 2014 at 6:41am

Bee1: sounds really difficult! I took my newly prescribed adderall for about three weeks and then stopped for a day. The day I stopped was all fog and I remembered that’s how I used to feel most of the time before I got the meds. So, for me the medication really helps a lot. But before I knew about adhd, I used to find that my blood sugar/ diet impacted the fog feeling a ton. When I had restricted calories (on weight watchers) I really felt great (but HUNGRY!) in terms of the emotional fog. Unfortunately it took all my focus and energy to follow the diet, and I’d get ‘bored’ with it and return to mindless eating (eating in response to hunger) and the fog was awful, better briefly after eating a big meal with lots of protein, but quickly would wear off. The fatigue was debilitating. I too wanted nothing but to be left alone in a cave but even that didn’t help as I still had to work and deal with life. Good luck sorting it out. You seem to be on the right track with cutting out the alcohol, exercising and eating well.

Posted by TeaAmongRoses on Sep 09, 2014 at 2:00am

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