Can a Weighted Blanket Help People With ADHD?

February 8, 2021

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects millions of people around the world. Both kids and adults with ADHD are plagued by impulsivity, inability to sit still, and difficulty concentrating on the task at hand. The symptoms that come with having ADHD can be tough to manage and can affect everyday living, relationships, jobs, and school.

But there are several ways to help ADHD in kids and adults. There are ADHD treatments aplenty. Some of them involve behavioral therapy, some include medication, while all can benefit from tools like weighted blankets to calm and soothe the symptoms associated with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder and is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children. Although it is often diagnosed during the childhood years, it quite often continues into adulthood. Unfortunately, it is still unknown as to what causes ADHD, but scientists are working hard to figure it out.

They do know that the neurological disorder happens when the prefrontal cortex’s growth lags behind the development of the rest of the brain.) Scientists have also determined that the brains of people with ADHD don’t adequately produce two essential chemicals: dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is responsible for motivation, drive, and attention, while norepinephrine is responsible for calm. Hence the term “hyperactive” in the acronym.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of ADHD?

While some of the symptoms of ADHD in children are common childhood behaviors, children with ADHD don’t outgrow them. These behaviors can also severely disrupt school, home life, and relationships with friends.

ADHD symptoms in children include:

  • Extremely talkative
  • Tend to squirm and fidget
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Difficulty taking turns
  • Trouble getting along with peers
  • Caught daydreaming a lot
  • Often loses things

ADHD symptoms in adults include:

  • Disorganization
  • Lack of focus
  • Impulsivity
  • Negative self-image
  • Substance misuse
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Forgetfulness
  • Time-management problems

Again, there are many of the above bulleted points that could apply to any adult. But if these actions have interfered with your work, personal, and home life, you should ask your doctor about getting an official diagnosis. From there, you could develop an action plan for facing your ADHD issues head-on.

ADHD Treatment Options

Some of the available ADHD treatment options for children are the same options available to adults with ADHD. In both cases, however, several medical communities suggest trying other treatment options before trying medication.

The most common ADHD treatment options include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of ADHD treatment is popular for children and adults with ADHD. This form of psychotherapy helps reorganize negative or unhelpful thoughts or behaviors.
  • Coaching (for adults): While there is no known “cure” for ADHD, a certified coach could help you uncover some of your hidden potentials and help unlock how you can change unwanted behaviors.
  • Medication: Stimulant medications can help children and adults with ADHD diminish hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and allow them to focus better. The most common ADHD medications are Adderall and Ritalin. It has been shown that 70-80% of children who took stimulant medications experienced fewer ADHD symptoms.
  • A combination: Some researchers suggest the most effective form of ADHD treatment is a combination of behavioral therapy and medication.
Boy wrapped in a blanket


How a Weighted Blanket Can Help ADHD

First of all, before jumping on the weighted blanket bandwagon, it’s essential to understand that not all weighted blankets are suitable for every size and age. To get the maximum benefit from any weighted blanket, you have to order the size that’s right for you or your loved one. Typically, that size is going to be between 7-12% of your body weight.

*Weighted blankets should not be used on infants and toddlers.

Weighted blanket sizing chart

Weighted blankets have been used to treat children with autism for years, but now, more and more people are turning to weighted blankets for help relieving the symptoms associated with ADHD.

Many people with ADHD self-soothe to help them feel calm and more in control. One thing both children and adults can self-soothe with is a weighted blanket. When they feel a little out of control in their emotions or feel themselves spiraling, they can wrap themselves safely in a weighted blanket to bring them to a calmer state.

Why? Well, for the same reason, weighted blankets have been used for children with autism for decades: Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS).

DPS is a firm yet gentle pressure on the body that relaxes your central nervous system, allowing it to release more serotonin. Increased serotonin can help children and adults with ADHD with:

  • Improved mood: According to one study done in 2016, low serotonin levels were connected with a higher risk of depression. Since serotonin is considered your “happy hormone,” you want to get your body to produce as much of it as possible.

 

  • Lowered anxiety levels: Another scientific research study revealed people who don’t process serotonin efficiently have a higher risk for developing anxiety. That means when you use a weighted blanket regularly, you’ll feel less anxious.

 

  • Better sleep: Less anxiety leads to better sleep! When you increase your serotonin levels, you feel a sense of calm, helping you fall asleep.

But let’s not forget about the other hormones you need to balance properly to fall asleep and stay asleep. You need your body to produce increased levels of melatonin and decrease cortisol levels. Guess what happens when you use a weighted blanket and let DPS do its thing?

You guessed it—precisely that.


Children and Adults with ADHD want some DPS in Their Lives

In the end, living with ADHD isn’t a walk in the park. But there are some steps you can take to help you, your child, or your loved one ease the symptoms that come along with it. One of the easiest is to invest in a high-quality weighted blanket.

Don’t waste your money on a big-box-store weighted blanket. Get one that has been made using the finest, non-toxic materials and quality manufacturing. (Not to mention free shipping and a 100-night risk-free trial.)

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