Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

ADHD Meltdowns: How To Cope With The Emotional Symptoms Of ADHD

The symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can vary and have an impact on a person’s everyday functioning, emotional stability, and mental health. Emotional outbursts, sometimes known as “ADHD meltdowns,” are one symptom that some individuals with ADHD may encounter. Even if the term “ADHD meltdown” is not used in the medical community or included in the diagnostic standards for ADHD in the US, these episodes can nevertheless be harmful to the person experiencing them as well as those around them. For individuals who they impact, understanding the potential causes of them as well as obtaining coping mechanisms can be beneficial.

An ADHD meltdown: what is it?

Younger people and/or those with less coping experience with ADHD may experience meltdowns more frequently. Individual differences may exist in the way these meltdowns present, however typical behaviors and symptoms associated with meltdowns could include:


Tossing or breaking things


Personal seclusion

Abrupt sobbing

Tension in the muscles

impulsive actions


Investigating educational resources like the Connect ADHD Volcano model may be helpful to gain a better understanding of ADHD meltdowns and other possible repercussions of the disorder. This visual model shows an erupting volcano divided into multiple discrete layers and portions, such as:

Bottom layer 

There is a magma well at the base of the volcano model that is named “dopamine availability.” The concept postulates that behavioral abnormalities and executive dysfunction in individuals with ADHD may be caused by insufficient levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and noradrenaline.

Layer in the Middle (underlying factors). 

The fundamental causes of some ADHD-related behaviors are discussed in the next layer. These encompass factors that affect performance, including as innate personality traits, learning context, and environment, in addition to the growth of executive function abilities, including working memory, response inhibition, attention control, and emotional regulation.

Upper layer

Symptoms of ADHD and co-occurring disorders. The higher layer of the Volcano model for ADHD encompasses the different symptoms and co-occurring disorders that could be linked to ADHD. The model includes frequently co-occurring disorders like anxiety and substance use disorder in addition to the three main symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

To get services and support if you’re having trouble with substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at.Assistance is offered around-the-clock eruption and its aftereffects (notable actions). The numerous observable behaviors and outcomes that may be connected to ADHD are at the top of the model

All things considered, the model might assist people in comprehending how a variety of ADHD-related elements and circumstances can accumulate and result in emotional explosions or meltdowns. It might not, however, adequately capture the emotional symptoms that an individual with ADHD might encounter. Next, we’ll take a closer look at these.

What affective symptoms does ADHD present with?

Emotional dysregulation, or a greater inability to regulate emotions and reactions, may be a primary indication of adult ADHD, according to research. This challenge can lead to a range of actions, many of which have the potential to trigger an ADHD meltdown, including:

Changes in mood

low capacity for annoyance

Frequently agitated

Outbursts of words

hostile actions

Rejection sensitivity

Emotional dysregulation symptoms can strike suddenly, making it difficult for the person experiencing them to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Consequently, these symptoms could negatively affect the person’s relationships, general well-being, and personal and/or professional lives. To mitigate these effects, it could be beneficial to acquire efficient coping strategies.

Strategies for managing the affective symptoms of ADHD

A few self-care strategies might lessen the intensity of emotional symptoms associated with ADHD, such as meltdowns. Here are a few instances of such approaches and techniques:

Work out. Exercise may significantly improve mood management, which may help someone avoid or lessen meltdowns caused by ADHD, according to research. Physical activity may have this effect because it releases endorphins and produces dopamine. Consequently, establishing a regular fitness regimen may help persons with ADHD feel happier and even less distracted.

Does therapy assist with meltdowns related to ADHD?

Exercise, eating particular nutrient-dense foods, and getting enough sleep are examples of self-care practices that may help people with ADHD manage, but they usually shouldn’t be used in place of professional mental health care. Instead, treatment of some kind is frequently advised to manage ADHD symptoms, sometimes in addition to medication. Research indicates that cognitive behavioral treatment, in particular, may be able to lessen the emotional and core symptoms of ADHD in adults. If this is the case, this may also assist to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It could be challenging to locate a therapist that specializes in treating ADHD, though, for a number of reasons. One possibility is that some people reside in an area where there is a shortage of health professionals, meaning there aren’t enough of them to meet the demands of the local population. Furthermore, some people could find in-person meetings uncomfortable or even unpleasant. For this reason, a lot of individuals choose to online therapy, which enables you to consult virtually from any location with an internet connection with a registered practitioner. According to one study on the subject, there were no appreciable differences in treatment outcomes between in-person therapy and telehealth at the three-, six-, and 12-month follow-ups, or immediately following treatment.


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