8 Devastating Physical Consequences of ADD

Physical Consequences of ADD

Short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, procrastination, impulsivity—these are the hallmark symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), also known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But having untreated ADD/ADHD can also wreak havoc on your body, setting you up for a host of physical health problems. You may develop physical health issues because you put off routine health checks, develop poor health habits due to impulsivity, have trouble following medical advice, or misplace critical prescription medications. There are many other ways ADD/ADHD can negatively impact your overall well-being.

Having untreated ADD/ADHD can wreak havoc on your body, setting you up for a host of physical health problems. Click To Tweet

Here are 8 physical consequences associated with ADD/ADHD and the lasting complications they can bring.

1. Weight gain.

People with untreated ADD/ADHD often don’t plan out meals and are prone to impulsively reach for unhealthy foods that can lead to weight gain or obesity. The prevalence of obesity is 70% higher in adults with ADD/ADHD and 40% higher in children with ADHD compared with those who don’t have the condition, according to a review in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Compulsive eating, which fuels weight gain, is also seen in people with this mental health issue. And a report from Duke University shows that 30% of people with binge eating disorder, a type of eating disorder, also have ADD/ADHD. Being obese comes with a litany of troublesome health consequences, including a greater chance of heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.

2. Type 2 diabetes.

Research has found that having ADD/ADHD increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. A 2018 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that kids and adolescents with the common disorder are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life compared with their peers who don’t have attention problems. Complications of diabetes include heart attack, stroke, and vision problems, among others.

3. Hypertension.

If you have ADD/ADHD, you may want to get your blood pressure checked frequently. A Swedish study from 2018 in Plos One found that people with attention deficit disorder are twice as likely to have hypertension. Elevated blood pressure puts you at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

4. Broken bones.

Children and adults with ADD/ADHD tend to be risk takers who like excitement and need stimulation. This means you may engage in dangerous activities, such as free climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet, which puts you at increased risk of bodily harm. In some people, ADD/ADHD is also linked to anger, irritability, and aggression, which can lead to violent behavior that results in physical harm.

5. Traumatic brain injuries.

Having ADD/ADHD can have serious implications on brain health as researchers have noted higher rates of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children with ADHD compared with the general population. A 2021 study in JAMA Pediatrics on TBI and ADHD found that the rate of kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD prior to having a head injury was 16%. When it comes to ADD/ADHD and TBIs, it’s a two-way street, as this same study points to the development of attention-deficit symptoms following severe TBI. Among the many consequences associated with concussions and TBIs are substance abuse, aggression, and suicide.

6. Sexually transmitted infections.

People with ADD/ADHD are 3 times as likely to get an STI, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. A lack of forethought or impulsively giving in to spur-of-the-moment desire can lead to unsafe sexual behavior. Engaging in unprotected sex raises the likelihood of developing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections, such as chlamydia, HPV, or gonorrhea.

7. Unplanned pregnancy.

A 2019 study in JAMA reports that women and girls with ADD/ADHD are over 6 times more likely to give birth before reaching age 20 compared with their non-ADD peers. Other research shows that 38% of young adults with unmedicated ADD/ADHD have either caused an unplanned pregnancy or become pregnant compared with 4% of their peers who don’t have the condition. Unplanned pregnancies have been associated with heightened stress and mental health consequences in women and girls.

8. Early death.

Sadly, having ADD/ADHD doubles the risk of dying early, according to research from 2018 in The Lancet. This study points to accidents as the main cause for the high incidence of premature death in individuals with ADD/ADHD. Even more alarming is the study’s findings that people who are not diagnosed until adulthood are at more than 4 times the risk of dying an early death. Undiagnosed or untreated ADD/ADHD can kill you early.

Overcoming ADD/ADHD to Boost Your Health

As you can see, leaving ADD/ADHD untreated can have devastating consequences on your physical health. To ward off these potential problems, it’s essential to seek treatment. Be aware that when it comes to treatment, one size does NOT fit all. Brain imaging work at Amen Clinics has helped identify 7 types of ADD/ADHD and knowing your type is foundational to getting the right treatment plan. Plus, there are many natural solutions for ADD/ADHD that can be effective alternatives to prescription stimulants. And it’s important to recognize that it’s never too late to seek help.

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I’m a survivor with ptsd , two removed brain tumors and untreated adhd. Don’t have much money. What’s the least expensive way to have you get me some help.

    Comment by Janice fenchak — August 27, 2021 @ 3:06 AM

  2. What’s the least expensive way to see you?

    Comment by Janice Fenchak — August 27, 2021 @ 3:09 AM

  3. I have none of what you are saying up.. Yes I take sometime unhealthy choice but I try to do my best…Not fat, no accident, no high pressure, nothing like that… sometimes relational problem because I am impulsive yes!

    Comment by christine BRASSARD — August 27, 2021 @ 3:47 AM

  4. Could you address problem with someone taking Adderall for ADD that does not have ADD. The brain is being flooded with Dopamine. This is been happening for 20 years. Person is 40 years old. I am the parent.

    Comment by Linda — August 27, 2021 @ 4:30 AM

  5. I have ADD and do my best to exercise everyday. I eat mostly vegan. I am over weight and have been most of my life. I don’t eat anything white, no caffeine or alcohol. I do the best I can everyday. Some days the mind chatter and ability to focus is really hard. I use tapping for anxiety. It’s hard to meditate because I can’t shut down the chatter. What are natural ways without meds to do?

    Comment by Donna — August 27, 2021 @ 5:03 AM

  6. I off my meds for 3 months it is so hard to find a doc who did

    Comment by Velinda Norton — August 27, 2021 @ 5:52 AM

  7. Early in our marriage, I came home from work expecting to pick up my husband for a Tanya Tucker concert. Instead, he was super stressed and said “I’m going to commit suicide”. When I asked what was wrong, he said he couldn’t figure out how to shape the plywood into the form need to create underlayment for the tile that was to be installed in the morning. I walked to the phone, called our carpenter and asked him to come and do it. Though late, he agreed. On the way to the concert, I told my husband to check with our GP as he might have ADD. He did, was given a prescription, and 3 weeks later, when the meds had kicked in, he came to me in tears. “I can now remember phone numbers long enough to dial them…and I can track back in my mind where I left things. And that med worked for 40 years for him. If he forgot to take it, his old symptoms would return.

    Comment by donna mansfield — August 27, 2021 @ 6:16 AM

  8. I am 50 with ADHD and none of the above apply to me, either now or when I was younger. It’s a bit of a sweeping statement and I don’t know how many people this information was surveyed from?

    Comment by Mel — August 27, 2021 @ 8:48 AM

  9. wish you had a facility in Florida..
    so many young adults with so many issues..
    Cannot find a relieable therapist for

    Comment by Elle — August 27, 2021 @ 10:22 AM

  10. Hello Janice, thank you for reaching out. We have several free to access blogs (https://amenclinics.com/blog/) and YouTube videos (https://www.youtube.com/c/AmenClinic) that may be able to help answer some of your questions for free. Amen Clinics offers consultations and different types of evaluations based on the needs of the patient. For information regarding pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 27, 2021 @ 10:49 AM

  11. My experience has been that while most of the “consequences” listed above do apply to a high percentage of persons with ADHD, they apply even more to adolescents with Pediatric/Early Adolescent Bipolar Disorder (PEABD). Unfortunately the conventional DSM 5 wisdom is that Bipolar Disorder has a late teen onset (betw 18-20). Therefore very few kids are diagnosed with PEABD. Because of the high overlap in symptoms they are mislabeled as ADHD or ODD. The impulsivity, hypersexuality, rates of substance abuse, poor sleep hygiene, grandiosity, and confabulation,(lying), are much higher in PEABD than in “regular” ADHD.

    Comment by Hanno W. Kirk, PhD — August 27, 2021 @ 11:53 AM

  12. We have a family member that has bi polar disorder boarder line schizophrenia and boarder line personality disorder and ADD she is battling cancer and stops taking her psych meds we need help

    Comment by Jeanne Phin — August 27, 2021 @ 2:17 PM

  13. Hello Elle, we are in the process of creating a clinic in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Florida. Stay tuned!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 27, 2021 @ 6:11 PM

  14. What facility is closest to Memphis TN?

    Comment by Linda — August 27, 2021 @ 6:49 PM

  15. Hello Linda, thank you for reaching out. We currently have 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/. Amen Clinics Atlanta is the closest clinic location to Memphis, TN. For more information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 27, 2021 @ 6:54 PM

  16. As a women I really didn’t have any of these.. always worked out.. that helps. I had high IQ so was placed in classes required LOTS of focus. I was misdiagnosed for years. I has said since I was 15 I has ADD. No everything from Bi-polar to Narasasstic. I did become anxious & Depressed. As a result of 2 things cycle of exception failures external/ internal. AND wrong meds insisted on a test 4 yrs ago.. there you go I my body SRRI, ANTICONVULSANT used off label were clinical proven to be genetically completely wrong .
    I used to call it my “chemical depressions” New drug comes out 2 weeks to adjust. I say I am worse Dr. Calls me narrsaccistic ups does. Get worse. Ups benzo. Offset. Rinse repeat. One med 5 yrs ago got down to 72lbs 5’6″ started at 125 12% body fat. Over 40. Not on a female living best life or Anorexic cold life that in 5 weeks. Boom gallbladder Gone! Then finally weaned of benzo. 2 ANTICONVULSANT on Best ADD med for me. Get POTS, Barres,CF, RA, and something else. All during Covid-19. Delay of care was my death sentence. Went from running 9 miles a day. Extemtities tingling,ans numbing at same time.
    Now can’t feel at all.. To passing out 9 times a day. Muscles gone, pain I never imagined. Stabbing like ice pics in bones. In the beginning just like ADD I was told I was being emotional. AGAIN everyone loses muscle, aches & pains are part of aging. I’m a young 47. Was told 2 months prior to pandemic I was in physical condition or 27 year old. But now I was emotional woman .. so it’s normal to go from RHR 45 to 90
    Then all day 65-189.bpm up and down. 189 bmp is go to ER..
    Now I am watching myself die.
    I am certain men have own set or hurdles..
    As a young girl to 47.. always hearing emotional. Hormonal, etc.
    How about data. My blood work was off. My BPM, Pain, etc. Not right.
    Please family, Physicians, and friends listen to patients.
    Something do have explanation.
    However, most people know there body. Keep up great work. To late for me! Please research away. As a nutritionist loved you & your wife’s caring explanation of gut & brain connection. 3 of most powerful medications support, nutrition & love. EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE! 🍀⚜🙌

    Comment by Alexis — August 27, 2021 @ 10:30 PM

  17. It would be nice if you would take health insurance.
    I have ADD and love exercising. I don’t care for drinking. A lot of success depends on your environment. We do eat out more, since planning meals does tend to be last minute, but we live where there are a lot of non chain healthy restaurants.
    My ADHD son loves swimming, hiking, and jujitsu. (And video games!😭). My daughter loves dancing and swimming. ADD doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. A lot of it is just about awareness. (Yes, some things are more of a struggle, like going back in the house three times because I forgot things), but we also are active, creative, innovative, and love adventure! Outlook and loving your flaws go a long way, too.
    My husband is a healthy balance for me, as he is very punctual, a planner, and detail oriented. We actually complement each other nicely. Don’t be discouraged!!

    Comment by Kristy — August 28, 2021 @ 3:45 AM

  18. Do you take insurance

    Comment by Yvette Arredondo — August 28, 2021 @ 3:48 AM

  19. My son had PTSD from the Army but was diagnosed with ADHD. They put him on Adderal and it destroyed his life for 10 years. He is off of it now for a year and eating healthy, working out and is handling life . Beware of drugs randomly prescribed without overseeing effects afterward. They can destroy a life.

    Comment by Janet — August 28, 2021 @ 5:34 AM

  20. Thanks for the article very interesting.

    Comment by Timothy Lee — August 28, 2021 @ 6:11 AM

  21. I know this information to be true as I lived through watching my brother-in-law go from an undiagnosed teen to a diagnosed adult who refused treatment and self medicated with drugs and alcohol. He ultimately ended his life because of the compounded trauma of not getting or receiving proper help. Tragic. Real talk. Real truth. Real consequences. Dr. Amen is an Angel to the field of mental health!!! Thank you Dr. Amen.

    Comment by Lisa Ann Greenfield — August 28, 2021 @ 8:02 AM

  22. I am an adult who has had ADHD for my whole life, very active but struggle with relationships, jobs, and high risk behaviors. I constantly want to move somewhere else, thinking things will be better there because I am always lonely. I have had several bad accidents, including falling off my roof leading to broken bones, concussion, blackout. I use caffeine for focus, which helps. A big problem is acceptance in society – people think only children have ADD and adults use it as an excuse, so I can’t ever say, ” I have ADD, I’m sorry I forgot my appointment or meeting, etc.”

    Comment by Linda — August 28, 2021 @ 9:55 AM

  23. Are there any clinics around Meridian Idaho?,

    Comment by Bonnie — August 28, 2021 @ 10:07 AM

  24. Hello Bonnie, thank you for reaching out. We currently have 9 locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 30, 2021 @ 1:22 PM

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