ADD or Hashimoto’s Brain Fog?

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

I’ve been following Miss Diagnoses on Twitter for some time. She is funny and creative. This article is not only great because so many hypothyroid people struggle with brain fog but also because her images are utterly amazing.

Written by Miss Diagnoses

When I was in my 20s, which was, OK, a while ago, I was diagnosed with inattentive-type attention deficit disorder. Inattentive-type ADD differs from ADHD (attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder) in that there is no impulsive, disruptive component. Instead, people have problems concentrating, are forgetful and distractible, and have difficulty listening, processing information, and following instructions.

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

So inattentive ADD, at least in my particular case, looked a lot like good old Hashimoto’s brain fog. I already had Hashimoto’s when I got my ADD diagnosis, but I didn’t know about brain fog yet.

The psychiatrist used a series of questions to diagnose me:

Do you have problems focusing? Check.

Do you sometimes struggle to process information you have heard? Check.

Are you forgetful? Check.

Do you lose your keys often? Keys? I’m pretty sure I had them when I left the house. Maybe they’re in the other pocket? Oh wait, they fell into the lining of my jacket. I keep meaning to have that repaired.

After I answered “yes” to the questions, my doctor said, more or less:

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

Turned out Ritalin gave me headaches. So he said:

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

Did Adderall improve my productivity? Of course it did. It’s basically prescription amphetamines. It also reduced my appetite and made me lose weight, and what hypothyroid woman doesn’t want that? Unfortunately, it made me jittery, kept me up until 5 a.m., and after my periods of productivity I would crash and burn.

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

Now, the psychiatrist knew I had hypothyroidism, because when he asked me what other medicines I took I mentioned Synthroid, which is what I took then. But despite his medical pedigree, he never considered my thyroid. It might not have made much difference if he had. At that time, my internist was treating my thyroid, and he only tested my TSH, which was always “in range,” if a bit on the high side.

I eventually stopped using the Adderall, because I just couldn’t deal with the side effects. And I eventually dropped the psychiatrist.

Late last year, I read Hypothyroid Mom’s article about ADD and ADHD, and I wondered whether, all those years ago, I might have skipped the Adderall episode entirely if I had had better thyroid care.

Right now, my brain fog has hit a new high because I have Lyme disease. The combination of Lyme disease, Hashimoto’s, and some other issues make for a fog so dense that probably no single medication can defeat it.

But the lesson I learned was to always consider your thyroid. Even if your doctor doesn’t.

ADD or Hashimoto's Brain Fog?

About Miss Diagnoses

Miss Diagnoses is an endearingly (she hopes) neurotic blogger writing about life with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lyme disease, skin and food allergies, endometriosis, and various other ills. She believes in patient advocacy, compulsive doodling, and the healing power of humor and sarcasm.

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I appreciate every share! Thank you.

About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. Hannah Mulligan says

    These are the exact issues I have on that medication. I am currently in the midst of struggling to get a diagnosis because my TSH was slightly elevated. Doctors will not consider a diagnosis unless your TSH is 9-10+ and you basically cannot walk or talk anymore. Nvm that I’m having troubling putting together coherent sentences, my thyroid gland is swollen, I can’t stay awake, my WBC is bordering the flagged range. I cannot stand the healthcare system we have, I’m at the end of my rope. The doctors, all they can do is tell you, you are sensitive to the medication and or maybe you are abusing the medication. There must be no other reason for why you can’t sleep till 4-6 in the morning, have constant aches and pains, energy fluctuations, feel like fainting, are losing your hair and through all of that still choose to take the medication. I can’t stay awake if I don’t take it, I wouldn’t be in university if it weren’t for Adderall. The only thing that can keep me going is amphetamines, coffee is not strong enough to keep me awake. I’m tempted to go after every doctor who decided to put me on ADHD medication rather than test my blood for common deficiencies or a thyroid issue.

    • Hi Hannah, It shouldn’t be so hard to find good thyroid care in this day and age but after 10 years of my website Hypothyroid Mom it is crystal clear to me that it is going to be a real challenge for thyroid patients to find good thyroid doctors for the foreseeable future which is the reason I decided to launch my own Hypothyroid Mom Centers with great thyroid doctors that do get it and can help. Here is information:

  2. KerryAnn Millin says

    Getting an inattentive person to follow through on writing a post is its own sweet irony…I’m currently 22 and have been diagnosed for 3 years with Hashimoto’s among a good dozen other conditions and ‘pseudoconditions’ over the years. I’ve written and rewritten this message, with what feels like a whole life of complaints at my tender age because of one silly organ, before deciding that what I really want is just to feel validated. I have begun to call my condition “princess and the pea syndrome” because anytime I talk to anyone that old story pops into my head and that’s all I feel. Your sick, but you’re not THAT sick. You struggle but your appearance is normal. You’re tired- everyone gets tired. You ache- everyone aches. You’ve played sport your whole life but gave up all exercise because the fatigue and ache becomes unbearable- lazy teenager. I don’t even bring up the brain fog any more- you’re a high achiever, how can you seriously be complaining? I guess I just wanted to reach out and hear if there was anyone else who feels like this, and if they have any advice on how to cope with feeling ‘off’ but not able to convey what that feels like (everyone’s response when I describe it is always, “oh I’m like that as well” or “I feel that too sometimes” and I just want to hit them). I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I have a family, and now a partner, who just don’t seem to get it, or don’t seem to care. Because at the end of the day; it’s just a little pea, right?

    • Martha E. Everhart says

      I have Hashimoto and Lymes Disease and Add
      There are times that I just want to live in a nursing home but no one bothers me. That won’t happen. I know what I have is real because my endocrinologist said if I stop taking my Synthroid I will die. I know that Jesus is the answer. I’m 65 and it gets hard at times. But Jesus loves me most.

    • Erika Miller says

      I am 27 and was diagnosed at 13 with Hashis. I know exactly how you feel. It’s hard enough as is, but being young with Hashimotos adds an additional layer of difficultly. I would like to say it gets easier, but yikes. Lol. The struggles are real on the daily. I hope you’re doing better over the years. Here if you ever need someone to relate to! It definitely makes me feel good to know someone understands me. ❤️

  3. Victoria McLachlan says

    Hi, I love that you have turned the Hypothyroid issue into a reason to have a (wry) laugh.
    I am 70 years old. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s/hypothyroidism (some confusion there) nearly 20 years ago. At the same time as menopause. And my kids leaving home. Etc etc.
    I was prescribed Levothyroxine, and have been “managed” by an endocrinologist, who has weighed me and patted me on the head (figuratively) once a year, and my GP.
    Only this year, after another couple of bingles in the car, many of the usual instances of losing the keys, notes etc, and my chronic inability to follow directions and remember appointments, a friend of a friend who is a paediatrician said to me in exasperation “If you were my patient, I would write you a script for Ritalin.” So I am now taking Dex with mainly positive results, and I began the journey into the association between Hashimoto’s and Adult ADD. Looking forward to hearing other people’s stories and how you cope.

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