Identifying Your ADHD Triggers

Identifying Your ADHD Triggers: What are they?

What is your ADHD trigger?

You might have many different ones. Some of them are physical, some are psychological, and some are both. They all come from within or without you.

Your ADHD Trigger is a situation where you experience something that causes you to feel overwhelmed or frustrated. It could be a particular event, such as having to do something repetitively, or it could be the way someone treats you.

When these things happen over and over again, they become overwhelming and cause feelings of frustration.

The reason why you may experience one type of trigger while another person experiences a different type of trigger is because each person’s brain reacts differently to stimuli. A person who is sensitive to pain will react differently than someone who isn’t.

Someone who is easily distracted will react differently than someone who doesn’t tend to do so much.

In this article, I’m going to list a few common types of adhd triggers that you may experience, along with some tips on how to respond to them.

Adhd Triggers: Too Much Stimulation

When I was little, I had a lot of trouble when my Mom tried to take me shopping at the mall. The lights were bright.

There was loud music playing. There were a lot of people walking in and out of stores. There was just too much going on for me to focus on anything in particular. I would get overwhelmed and start to feel sick and anxious. I was fortunate, because as soon as my mother realized that this was a problem for me, she made sure never to take me to the mall when we needed to do any major shopping.

However, there were still smaller instances of this trigger that continued to bother me. For example, I had a hard time in school when we were doing projects in groups.

There was too much going on for me to focus on the project. I couldn’t pay attention to what my group members were trying to tell me. It felt like everything was a distraction.

These issues are caused by an over-abundance of stimuli in my brain. The way I’m able to cope with them is by either avoiding those situations or taking steps before-hand to prepare myself.

These are called “coping skills.”

For example, when I was little my Mom would take me to the library to do our school projects. There weren’t a lot of people moving around, and we would always go at a time when there weren’t a lot of other kids doing projects there.

This meant that there wasn’t a lot of stimuli for me to focus on.

You can use similar coping skills to handle excess stimuli in your life. For example, if you don’t like loud noises, you can take a different route home from school that eliminates the bus ride and the train tracks.

If you get overwhelmed by going into big stores, you can do all of your Christmas shopping online ahead of time.

Adhd Triggers: Repetition

There is a part of my brain that is very sensitive to monotony and repetition. I can’t stand doing the same thing twice.

I have to be constantly changing things up in order to feel okay. If I don’t, it makes me incredibly anxious and frustrated. For example, if I have to go somewhere new every day after school, I’m okay. If I go to the same place twice in a row, I start to feel sick to my stomach and want to cry.

You can probably guess that school was a very difficult experience for me. Not only did I have to sit in the same seat every day, but I had to do the same assignments, take the same tests, and listen to the same lectures every single day.

There was absolutely no break from the monotony. I couldn’t handle it, and neither could my brain.

Adhd Triggers: New Information

Along the same lines as too much repetition is being thrown too much new information at one time. My brain can only process so much at once.

If I have to learn a lot of new information at school, it takes me longer to understand it all. If I have to learn a lot of new information about one specific thing, I might never fully grasp the concept.

For example, when I was little, I had a really hard time learning the states and their locations. It wasn’t just that the information was too much for me to handle, it was that I had to memorize all these different names, capitals, locations, shapes, and sizes of all 50 states.

I mean, do you remember all of that from school?

Neither do I. If you gave me a test on it right now, I’d probably fail it. That’s how much I’ve forgotten since I’ve last used it.

Another thing that falls into this category is learning music on the piano or guitar. It’s one thing to learn a simple scale in one key.

It’s an entirely different thing to take that scale and play it in multiple locations on the instrument. If my brain has to work harder to process all of this information, it starts getting overwhelmed and I feel like I’m going to pass out, get sleepy, or both.

Adhd Triggers: Not Being Accountable

Now, this one is a bit different from the others in that it doesn’t necessarily cause a negative reaction. In fact, it can actually be a really good thing.

The problem is I’m not always aware that I’m doing it, so sometimes it ends up causing problems anyway.

Basically, I have a really hard time with accountability. I either have to hold myself completely accountable for everything, or nobody else needs to be accountable at all.

I can’t function in a state of grey area or in situations where rules are enforced differently for different people.

For example, when I was in middle school, I used the restroom after everyone had already lined up to go in their classes. The hallway monitor saw me and told me to go back to class.

I told him that I was going to the bathroom and that I’d hurry. He then told me I had to go back to class. I truthfully told him that I really had to go and that I wouldn’t waste time in the bathroom. He still made me go back even though he KNEW I really had to pee and there were no other students around.

I got so mad at him that I refused to listen to him the rest of the day. I didn’t do anything that would’ve gotten me in trouble, but I flat out ignored him whenever he told me to do something.

It felt so good to push back for once.

Anyway, the point is when I’m pushed into a state of accountability that I don’t agree with or feel is fair, my natural reaction is to stop participating altogether.

This has caused issues in the past such as the time I was playing a card game with some friends. The rules were simple: the winner picked a rule change and the loser had to take off an item of clothing.

We were all friends, so we mutually agreed to only pick minor changes and take off socks or shoes if we lost.

I ended up winning around midnight, and my best friend was only wearing boxer shorts by that time. He lost, so he was forced to choose between taking off his shorts or bra.

He chose his bra, and I immediately felt uncomfortable.

Now, I’m not a pervert who gets off on seeing my friends half-naked. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about him, myself, or anything of that sort.

It was more about what the hell he could have been thinking by picking that as a rule to lose by. That’s what made no sense to me. I immediately felt that the game was no longer fun because there wasn’t a set of rules to follow and it turned into something else.

I tried to reason with him and say that he picked the rule, so he needed to be accountable for it. He couldn’t argue since it was a rule of the game.

The only thing he could do was either take off his shorts or give me my bra back since the rule no longer applied to him now that he had lost.

Yet, he wouldn’t do it. He kept trying to convince me that he had every right to make that rule and that I should respect it because of “the concept of the game.”

That’s when I got pissed off and called him a hypocrite for preaching to me about following rules earlier in the day when he was the one breaking them now. I got up in a huff and told him that I was sick of these weird social games people play.

I ended up leaving the card game, the park, and walking home even though it was late and I lived in a safe town. My mom was asleep when I got home and hadn’t noticed my absence, so I went straight to bed.

I couldn’t fall asleep though. I kept thinking about my argument with my best friend.

He had been right in some ways, but so had I. I tried to rationalize it over and over again until I finally realized the only resolution was to apologize to him for calling him a hypocrite and leaving.

I didn’t go back to the park the next day or the day after that. I didn’t text him, call him, or anything.

Instead, I wrote him an apology letter. It was sloppy due to me crying while writing it, but I felt it was the best I could do at the time.

A week passed and he still didn’t respond, so I gave up. Maybe I just wasn’t meant to have friends.

That’s why I think this whole thing with Allison is doomed from the start. I’m not going to change who I am.

I’d rather just avoid the situation altogether.

But, I guess I won’t know unless I try.

Do you think it’s possible for people who have differing views on what’s fun to be friends?”

I ask Allison.

She has a thoughtful expression before answering. “Maybe if they realize that it’s just a difference of opinion and not a correct or incorrect one.”

I nod with a sigh of relief. It’s nice to see she isn’t trying to convince me to go into some uncomfortable social situation when I’m not in the mood.

“That’s good insight, Allison,” I say. “Maybe you will make a good helper after all.”

“I’ll try to do my best, sir.”

Allison gives me a small smile before turning back to her work. I sit down at my desk to start on my homework.

Allison and I don’t speak for the rest of the night.

I finish most of my homework within the next few hours. Allison helps out when she can, but I mostly do it myself.

I try to think up some questions to ask her, but I can’t really come up with anything that I feel is worth while. I guess I’ll have to come back to that another time.

I hate to admit it, but I’m actually a bit excited for our next session.

7

“Why hello there, Jacob,” Mrs. Reynolds says as I enter the main office.

How are you this evening?”

“I’m fine, Mrs. Reynolds.

You?”

“I’m wonderful, dear. Just waiting around here as always.”

“Well, I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long. I’m just finishing up something.”

“Take your time, dear.”

I walk through the doorway leading to the residential section of the school. I still can’t get used to the fact that I have my own apartment here.

Sure, it’s small, but it’s better than anything I ever had back home and it’s all paid for. All I have to do is upkeep the garden out front of the school and keep everything in good working order.

When I enter the apartment, Allison greets me.

“Hello, Jacob.”

“Allison, you’re still here. I thought you left.”

She’s standing in the kitchen area pouring water into a glass. She looks as beautiful as ever with her wavy brown hair and green eyes.

If I didn’t know any better, and judging by her comments about my hair I don’t think she does, I’d say she was trying to flirt with me.

“No, I’m still here.”

“I thought you left,”

Sources & references used in this article:

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