Just creating this topic here to start a discussion around joint hypermobility and ADHD.
So to give a bit of background:
I’ve been very limber and bendy my whole life. Sometimes referred to as ’double jointed’ or simply hypermobile. I suspect I may have Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) but I haven’t been diagnosed (thinking of potentially seeing my GP about a diagnosis in the near future).
But for context - Most of my joints hyperextend past a normal range of motion, and they are quite unstable, and often ’lock’ in their hyperextended position. I can bend my thumb down to my forearm, I can bend my pinky backwards to a 90 degree angle. I can reach the floor with the palm of my hands with straightened legs, and I can get my arms from behind my back to my front, over my head, without letting go of my hands (makes for a great party trick… haha). Just to mention some things.
Now for the moat part, my hypermobility hasn’t affected my life too negatively, except for the occasional aching knees and feet etc, from standing around too long, as well as difficulty playing stringed instruments because of my weak fingers/ligaments that lock.
But in any case - In the past year I have really taken to the gym again, I’ve lost a lot of weight, and been actively trying to build up my strength, especially as I’ve really taken to bouldering (side-note - highly recommend it as a fun and challenging hobby!). And I have now started hitting some walls in my progress, which has led me to start reading more into hypermobility, body-building, and how hEDS affects the body in general.
And what I have come across would suggest that there may be a strong link between Joint Hypermobility (JH)/EDS and neurodevelopmental issues, such as anxiety, and potentially ADHD as well.
EDS is not fully understood yet, but it is a genetic condition, thought to be caused by one or several genes affecting the production of collagen in the body, which is the structural protein in our connective tissue. In EDS/JH the collagen in your body is affected, either to produce too little, or somehow altered collagen to cause the joint hypermobility, stretchy skin, easy bruising etc.
However, collagen is found all over the body, not just in your skin or joints, and so it is not unlikely that the collagen abnormalities could affect the brain as well. And several studies have shown that people with JH have significantly higher likelihood tomsuffer from anxiety disorders, and some studies are now starting to look into potential connections with other neurological conditions, such as ADHD too.
Now unfortunately I am running late for work now (lol) so I need to finish this post here for now.
But if any of you are hypermobile, or have anything else interesting or relevant, feel free to contribute! Would love to hear if any of you have any more info on this.
Here’s a few resources for the stuff I read that I found interesting:
Connection between hypermobility and structural differences in the amygdala and brain responses. Link between hypermobility and anxiety
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, joint hypermobility-related disorders and pain: expanding body-mind connections to the developmental age.
PSYCHIATRIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS IN THE EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROMES (FOR NON-EXPERTS)
Recent research seems to indicate a degree of co-occurrence of JHS/hEDS and some neuro-developmental disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). In the area of ADHD, researchers found that adults with ADHD had higher rates of JH and problems with automatic control of body functions (dysautonomia) compared to healthy controls. Other researchers observed high co-occurrence of JH or EDS with ADHD. Concerning DCD, children with DCD have more symptoms associated with JHS/hEDS compared to typically developing children. The relationship between JH and DCD may be due to poor positional sensing in affected children.”