Brain question

Hi, brains! I’m hoping some of you can help me with this because I’m not sure if this particular symptom I have is ADHD or something else, because I can’t find anything about it online, but it feels like it should be related to the other ADHD symptoms I get.

Sometimes my brain feels very “full” like there are 20 thoughts going at the same time but they are all overlapping and I can’t understand any of them so it’s just like this complete rambling in my head that I can’t stop, it sometimes can be so bad I just want to scream.
Do any of you experience something like this and is it ADHD related?

Also, if it is ADHD related, does anyone know if the stimulant medication helps with this and makes the rumbling more clear and less like just “noise”?
How stimulant medication works is very confusing me to, despite having read so much on it.

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I get this way it has to do with Impuslivity and Hyperactivity because your brain is so hyperactive with all these thoughts and then your impulsivity is getting you to try to focus on them all until you get overwhelmed/overloaded and want to scream. Trust me it is the worse lol

No clue Sorry.

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I can attest that this doesn’t just occur with people who have the Hyperactive-Impulsive presentation of ADHD. I have the Inattentive presentation, and I’ve experienced this. I’ve only been on stimulant meds (Adderall XR) I’m recent months. I’ve spent most of my life having multiple thoughts swimming in my head at once (usually about 3, sometimes a few more, and on very rare occasion a lot more). It seems like a bunch of kids competing for their parent’s attention.

The Adderall definitely helps me. It helps me to be able to focus on one thought at a time, with the next couple waiting patiently (but still maybe fidgeting) for their turn. Not a 100% solution, but much better than normal.


I think that there are other possible causes of having multiple thoughts at once, or intrusive thoughts getting in the way of your negative thoughts. I have experienced having intrusive thoughts (like a song going through my head nonstop, or when someone is on my mind, or when I’m fixated on a problem).

  • I did go through a long period of anxiety, about 3-4 years, which added to my issue with having multiple thoughts at once, and it also made all my ADHD symptoms about 3-5 times worse than what’s normal for me.

While I don’t know if what you’re describing is “racing thoughts” or not, this Wikipedia article might give you some more ideas. Racing_thoughts I can only speak from my own experience.

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I would echo some of this. I’ve had an “unquiet mind” most of my life.

I’ve heard ADHD describes as “watching 20 TV channels at once but someone else has the remote control.” I feel my brain jumps and moves and gets cluttered like that. It’s been really hard for me in the past to calm my mind and focus on things. I was able to get a “quiet mind” in the past when I was on a medication for my mood disorder, but it didn’t resolve the overall issue.

I was tried on a non-stimulant which helped for a bit but I still had some of the same problems.

Ultimately I was put on a stimulant and I can say that it has helped dramatically. Like @j_d_aengus said, I can focus on one thought at a time and I can do things from start to finish before moving on. It isn’t 100% of the time, but it does help drastically.

So, in general, I’d say that what you’re describing is very common in ADHD. There could be multiple reasons that you’re having those overlapping thoughts, just as @j_d_aengus mentioned. Everything from Bipolar Disorder to anxiety to just having an overactive brain. If it is causing you trouble, though, it’s worth talking about and trying to address. Maybe stimulant medication isn’t the answer or even the only thing that could help.

Whatever happens, good luck!

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Yep I have the same thing. Especially when I’m overstimulated or have sensory overload going on. It’s a lot to handle.

From my experience the meds do help. I remember the first time taking them my reaction was: woooow this is calm! So this is how it feels to be normal.

Honestly I don’t like them much though cause to me it feels like I’m forced into the calmness with the meds and I don’t like that. Then I’d rather be my chaotic me. So I only take them in moments of absolute need.

I myself usually meditate while stretching. I just put on some slow and calming piano music and I stretch. At the same time I just focus on calming down and letting all my worries go. The stretching allows me to still move a bit while I’m meditating. Sitting still won’t happen for me. But at least you’re calming down your body too this way. I like to do it before going to sleep since i can go to sleep calmly that way and wake up more calmly too. I also play that same music softly in the background when I go to sleep since quietness makes a lot of head noice for me. If I focus on the music instead the thoughts calm down and I can actually follow one that helps me fall asleep.

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Thank you for all of this, the answers and the information, everything I can take in at the moment is so useful to me.

I definitely suffer from anxiety so that could also be the cause of it, for sure.

At the moment I’m not even sure I have ADHD, I am trying to do as much research as I can before speaking with my doctor, so I can have the best chance of getting an accurate diagnosis, so the information on the medication is particularly helpful.

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Strangely, I am both glad I am not the only one who gets this happen, but also sorry that other people have to deal with it too.
Thank you for sharing with me, it’s so good to know I’m not alone.

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Thank you for this and sorry my reply won’t be as in depth, for some reason my phone won’t display the comment properly when I’m replying which makes it very awkward to do so.

This is very helpful though, especially to hear about the different medications and their effects, the medication information really isn’t my strong point.
I am definitely hoping to speak to my doctor about all of this soon, there is just so much to understand with ADHD and with myself and my symptoms that I want to make sure I am ready and in good understanding when I do approach my doctor.

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I think if I was diagnosed and prescribed medication I would be very much the same, but I can’t say that for sure until I try it because I do have very rare moments when my brain feels like what I imagine a non-ADHD brain feels like and I both love it and hate it.
On the one hand I’m like “Oh my, everything is so quiet, so clear, is this what other people feel like all the time?” But then on the other hand this happens: “This doesn’t feel right, why isn’t everything 1000mph and why is my head so quiet, why do I not feel like my own brain is battling with me and itself - what is going wrong right now?” and that train of thought tends to lead back to ADHD brain mode.
But I have spent so many years dealing with it all by myself that I have learned to manage through the chaos without extra help so I would only want to use it when I really needed it I think.

Something I have found that helps me sleep when my brain won’t shut up is something that I discovered by coincidence😄.
I am very much a creature of habit and also someone who loves comfort so I tend to often watch the same movie every night for like month or two straight, some for even longer, I have done since I was little, and with the movies that I have done this with the most, I’ve found that if my brain won’t stop I can put these on and quite quickly my brain will calm down because the film sounds so familiar that my brain doesn’t need to think about anything because it just becomes embedded with the film and it then doesn’t take me long to get to sleep.

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I have the same issue with replying on my phone much of the time. I have to click-and-drag to resize the box in typing in. And sometimes I accidentally touch the “show preview >>” link, so then I have to find the “hide preview” link.


For your own benefit, try a couple of ADHD tests online, like:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/health/adhdattention-deficit-disorder-test

This should give you a better idea of you have ADHD or not, but these tests aren’t 100% definitive. They can help you get an idea of how likely it is that you have ADHD. (A diagnosis must be made by a qualified professional.)

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It can be so awkward, can’t it?:sweat_smile: A small price to pay though for such a great tool and community.

Thank you for these, I will definitely fill them out as, like you say, it could certainly help clear things up and lead me in the right direction.

As a random side note: I just viewed your profile and, strangely, I also work in IT and am an aspiring writer!

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If we are talking about online surveys, I took the survey from the back of Russell Barkley’s “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” and put the questions into a spreadsheet. Since he also gave percentages of people both with ADHD and without ADHD who agreed with the statements, it is mathematically possible to combine results and get an aggregate value (even if it isn’t scientifically valid, it is still interesting).

If anyone is interested in taking the survey, go to


The spreadsheet is set to view-only, so you will have to make a copy of it before you can enter any answers. (Setting it up this way means that you can only change your personal copy, so no one else can see your answers, including me).
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Well, I think that’s pretty cool that we’ve got that in common!


It took me working for years in Retail (and a couple of other jobs along the way) and constantly wondering what job field where I belong. I found my way into IT because I ran out of financial aid in school (where is studied Computer Engineering, but couldn’t finish the degree) and just needing a job desperately, so I started working at the school.

I’ve been at it for almost 10 years now, and it definitely suits me. I wish I’d discovered that I had a knack for IT a lot earlier in my working career.

I started out at the Help Desk (where my ADHD short attention span actually was a benefit most of the time), and now I’m a SysAd.

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Same here. Over the years I had already learned how to deal with a lot of things. Those meds basically crashed that for a while. I’m going into therapy for my ADHD soon. Just to help me deal with the symptoms. And also to depict and break down exactly what symptoms I have and which ones effect me the most. That way we can work on creating more ways to deal with it in stead of taking meds cause they don’t help me. They even made me develop tics. It’s almost like I have Tourette’s now. But I know that I developed the tics as a side effect to my Meds. But I stopped taking them and the tics don’t go.

I’d say it’s never a bad idea to go get your diagnosis. If you do happen to have ADHD it will help you so much to know it. I know it did not only for me but also the people around me. My mother regrets that she never got me diagnosed earlier. But I always say to her that everything happens for a reason. So there is likely a reason why I got diagnosed at 18 and not earlier.

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Thank you for this, John.

I have just filled this out but was a bit unsure on how to answer some of the questions and am also confused by the results, but this will be something I can take with me to any appointments, I’m sure, and can hopefully go through it with someone then.

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Me too here, I bounced from kitchens to shops (and a couple of jobs that lasted about 2 days) until I ended up on a help desk too.
Wow, I think mine did too. It was so fast paced and constantly had things happening which I found easy to manage and kept me interested and entertained. My new job is more project based though which is more slow, long-term stuff which I find a lot more difficult to manage and very hard to focus on and keep motivated for.

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Always Feels good to be validated

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For a little more explanation… (yes, I will explain my disclaimers later)…
In Appendix A of Russell Barkley’s book, he writes, “To get a better idea of whether you fit the picture of adult ADHD, see how many of the symptoms on pages XXX-YYY represent you experiences.” And then he presents the 91 symptoms that I put in the spreadsheet. Along with each symptom, he also gives the percentage of adults with ADHD who claim the symptom, and the percentage of adults in the community who claim the symptom.

For example, the first symptom is “Find it difficult to tolerate waiting; impatient” to which 75% of ADHD adults respond positively. The second one - “Make decisions impulsively” - 79% of adults w/ ADHD responding positively. Answering yes or no to either or both of these questions does not mean you have or do not have ADHD. But about 59% (0.75 * 0.79) adults w/ ADHD will answer both positively, about 16% (0.75 * (1-0.79)) will answer just the first positively, 20% ((1-0.75) * 0.79) will answer the second, and only 0.5% will answer neither positively. We can keep combining probabilities to see what percentage of Adults w/ ADHD answer exactly as you did.

Honestly, with this many questions, the percentage is going to be really tiny. However, because we also have numbers for how “adults in the community” respond, we can also compute what percentage of those would respond exactly as you did. That will also be really tiny. But while they are both tiny, one may be far bigger than the other, which gives an indication of which group you fall into.
Say you answered only the first question positively. About 16% of adults with ADHD will answer that way. However, only about 5% of adults in the community would answer this way, meaning there is about a 76% (16 / (16 + 5)) chance you fall into the Adults w/ ADHD category and 24% (5 / (16 + 5)) chance you fit in the Adults in the Community category.

Big disclaimers:

  1. The math is based upon the assumption that these symptoms are completely independent. Like if someone were rolling percentile dice to answer the questions, using different cutoffs depending upon which category they were in. But we know that is not really the case. Someone with a “(16) poor sense of time” probably also “(17) waste[s] or mismanages [their] time.”
  2. We don’t know how rigorous and applicable the percentages are for each symptom. How big of a study was it? Are the results applicable to society as a whole? … stuff like this …
  3. Clearly, I have not studied whether this application of the individual results is valid. I haven’t compared the computed values of the spreadsheet with any real people (well, other than me, where it indicates I fit into the Adult w/ ADHD category).

Obviously, if you don’t answer the questions honestly (or are not self-aware enough to answer them accurately), then the results aren’t valid. That is the case with all sorts of self-evaluations, which is why we go to medical professionals.

If I were to bring this to a medical professional, I would bring the whole thing, since the survey itself (and its source) would be useful. I think the final computation is interesting and likely useful (I think results for most people will fall very strongly in one category or another), but I wouldn’t expect a medical professional to trust some random person you found on the internet.

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