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  • Writer's pictureAVHD Podcast

How to Get More Dopamine as Someone with ADHD, Written by Someone with ADHD

Dopamine is a struggle for everyone, not just those with ADHD, but people with ADHD's main struggle is finding dopamine when our dopamine receptors don't work as well as the neurotypical's.

So What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter and hormone in our brains that is associated with rewards and motivation. People with ADHD struggle with uptaking dopamine, which is why it's often loosely referred to as a motivation disorder.

Dopamine is not to be confused with serotonin, which is associated with happiness, focus, and calmness. Although, it is common for people to struggle to find both, let's focus on finding more dopamine.

The Basics

Setting the stage for dopamine production is essential to getting more dopamine. This implies focusing on everything a doctor would tell you to do:

  • Eating well

  • Moving your body

  • Staying hydrated

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Going outside (Getting some sunlight)

So alright, you've done the basics, what else?

More About Diet

Some interesting research we found while doing some background for our episode A Visit from the Dopamine Man, is from Harvard's Medical School. According to Harvard Health Publishing, "dopamine is made from tyrosine," an amino acid, and, "getting more of this amino acid from food could potentially boost dopamine levels in your brain. There's evidence that a diet rich in tyrosine also may improve memory and mental performance."

Included in the article is a list of foods high in tyrosine:

  • Chicken and other poultry

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)

  • Avocadoes

  • Bananas

  • Pumpkin and sesame seeds

  • Soy

Although consuming more tyrosine may be beneficial, remember, ADHD is a problem with our dopamine reception, so even if we may consume more, we may not be fully uptaking the dopamine made as a result of these high-tyrosine foods.

Another article from Baptist Health suggests that supplements could also be beneficial in managing dopamine levels, stating that, "your body needs adequate amounts of several vitamins to create dopamine--iron, vitamin B6, niacin, and others. If blood work shows that you're deficient in necessary vitamins, your doctor may advise you to take supplements to elevate your levels." Thus, getting your bloodwork done and regularly following up with a medical professional is essential to managing your dopamine production.

So Where's the Reward?

Dopamine is hard to come by for those of us with ADHD because of our dopamine receptors. One way to remedy this, of course, is through medication that can help stimulate our dopamine reception to absorb dopamine more correctly. Of course, AVHD is currently unmedicated, so we've found a few other tricks to help.

Unmedicated Coping Strategies for Maximizing Dopamine

Try a new hobby or skill:

Of course, those with ADHD know about hyperfixations. We're essentially fiends for dopamine and constantly exploring new hobbies and interests until the dopamine well runs dry. However, trying something new can help break you out of your shell and keep the dopamine flowing.

Some AVHD-approved hobbies to try:

  • Painting

  • Journaling

  • Scrapbooking

  • Kickboxing or other exercise classes

  • Dancing

  • Learning a new instrument

  • Gardening

Let us know your current hobbies below! Or on socials @AVHDPodcast


Meditation, yes, is hard for those of us with ADHD. Sitting still isn't our strong suit. Meditation, however, can allow us to be more present in every moment and better appreciate life. Say, if you're busy, you may not get to appreciate the rewards currently in your life such as a new job, new promotion, graduation, or a passing grade on a hard test. It's okay to take a second and appreciate what we've accomplished - for the benefit of dopamine.


Music can also trigger dopamine production. Listening to a good song and dancing around or belting out the lyrics can greatly help out. Listen to some of our music recommendations and reasons why music's so helpful for us with ADHD in our episode ADHD and Music.

And of course, listen to our podcast for more tips and tricks on ADHD and coping mechanisms.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, just two girls with ADHD.

References and Further Reading:

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