ADHD and Morning Anger

Woman drying her hairDo you wake up in the morning feeling angry at the world? Does everything, from your alarm clock to the smell of your toothpaste make you mad? It might be a standing joke, that you are ‘like a bear with a sore head’ in the morning. There is a serious side too, morning anger can cause many problems including  couples breaking up because of it.

Common reasons why people with ADHD experience anger in the morning are:

Having a Sleep Deficit

75% of adults with ADHD have problems sleeping. You might not be getting enough sleep or the quality isn’t good, so you don’t feel refreshed in the morning

Experience Anxiety and Worry

If you wake up and feel anxiety or worry, you are more likely to have a black mood. 50% of people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder, so this could affect you.

Feel Stressed

Living with ADHD is stressful and if you wake up feeling stressed, it also affects your mood.

All Work and No Play

When you wake up and feel that your whole day is work with nothing to look forward to, that can make you mad. Many people with ADHD don’t feel that they deserve to have fun because they are behind with their responsibilities (housework, taxes, etc.), so their day is all work.

Not everyone who experiences these points feels anger. Some people wake up feeling sad or find it almost impossible to get out of bed.

6 Suggestions to Help You Feel Less Angry in The Morning

1. Be a Detective

Are you angry every morning? Or just week days? If it’s just weekdays, work out if it’s a lack of good quality sleep that is making you angry, or things about your work day. Is anger in the mornings a new thing or have you been this way ever since you were a child? If it’s new, what has changed recently? When you have answers to these questions, decide what changes to your life you can make.

2. Get Moving

Get moving and start your day as quickly as possible. This gets you out of your head and experiencing some early wins. Have a morning checklist to work through, so you don’t have to think while your brain is still waking up. Get up, make your bed, have some breakfast, shower, get dressed, etc.

3. Leave the House ASAP

Some people find that the quicker they leave the house in the morning, the faster their anger evaporates. Even though you like your home, getting a change of scene and making a start on your day helps. Packing your bag the night before helps for a speedy exit.

4. Exercise

Exercising is excellent for your ADHD. It also helps change your mood as it floods your brain with feel good hormones. You can combine 3. and 4. by leaving the house and going to the gym.

5. Enjoy Your Life More

We don’t necessarily need to make big changes in our lives to experience big results. Sometimes, all it takes is a perception change and your mood also shifts.

The 5 minute journal is a great way to do this. Plus, it’s the perfect journal when you have ADHD, because it only takes 5 minutes!

6. Wake Up

Grumpiness can be connected with ‘sleep inertia’, which is a transitional phase from being asleep to awake. It can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes; although some people find it can take up to 4 hours. Experiment with a few things to see what helps you to wake up. Some people find coffee helps, others like to wake up gradually with a Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock.

What helps  your morning anger?




  1. Jessica says:

    I get this too and I’ve had it for quite some time. It takes me 3-4 hours to be completely awake. Someone could just say good morning to me and I’m flying off the handle. I am just the worst person to be around. I lashed out on my roommate when she tried to wake me up, I had said some really mean things, and I can’t remember any of it. She’s my best friend and I don’t want to ruin our friendship. I don’t know what to do.

  2. I love to read this article. It exactly happens with one of my friends. Exercising is excellent for ADHD

  3. Darcey says:

    Hi I don’t normally wake up angry. I am usually happy waking up. I do however get annoyed in the morning. A certain person doesn’t understand that I have a routine or ritual in the morning. I have tried to tell them nicely. Feeling stuck in a rut.

  4. I find that even though I wake up early and have a ton of things to do on my homelands and house ( hello decluttering), it takes me one look at my three furry faces to remind me to feed and care for indoors and feral cats to settle and to get my strong coffee under the belt, write something ( more lists) and to think what is needed. It takes literally hours to get my emotions under control. I feel like I am working too hard and jealous of the tourists who come and just have fun. Having to always winterize, yes, even on the west coast severely squirrels me out as there is no help available. So, no wonder when someone says something insensitive about my lack of hearing or forgetfulness or waiting in line for people who are indecisive makes me want to punch someone out! Then, I realize that others have problems too and that it is time for me to do my swimming to get back to competitions …despite a post fractured leg which really put me into a tailspin for 7 weeks. Exercise and talking to anyone and everyone helps me in my small community to deal with stuff…along with using Facebook to see what is happening in others’ lives to gain a better perspective in your own little mundane world. We all need to learn from each other and be more patient ( lol)….it can be done. Thank you, Jacquie for bringing this to the fore….I actually thought it was only me feeling this way!

  5. Dystiny says:

    I’m been reading a lot of the comments on here and I seem to be enxperiencing the same things. I have chronic depression and adhd plus anxiety. I find I can’t wake up happy. I go to bed happy I have a great sleep but then I wake up in a rage. It feels like I’m going to explode. And the worst is I feel as if my partner is taking the brunt of it… I hate that I wake up and within minutes my happy mood has dissipated. The air conditioner made the house too cold, I stepped on my kittens toy. Immediately outraged. And for no reason might I add. I’m frustrated and I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m constantly struggling with myself and I’m going to loose my relationship .

  6. Krysten says:

    Hello, Im ADHD, I am 23.

    My Boyfriend and I are having a long going issue were when i wake up or he awakens me im this monster very mean very rude person , i have control over it most days but there’s days where i dont for example last night, the thing is I don’t even remember or know what i’m doing he usually records me or tells me the next day obviously very bothered idk what to do, any recommendations

  7. Joanne Q says:

    I have the opposite problem. Although I wake up in a good or decent mood, when I try to go to sleep, my mood darkens, sometimes making it hard to fall asleep.
    Any suggestions?

  8. Hi my adhd partner wakes up angry sometimes from the moment he opens his eyes. He just can’t handle normal requests etc at that time…i feel like I tread on egg shells in the morning and think before I ‘speak or ask a question…arguments can go from 0-100 in a matter of seconds and I find myself defending myself. He is sure at that time its all me but then when he wakes up properly around 11 or after he has been at work he forgets and later in the day he can be rational and can state it is him who is just angry in the morning. He does smoke weed to self medicate. He runs a successful business and works hard but smoke weed in the afternoon on off through to night time. Could this effect his mood in the morning? As a partner I am completely unable to change this morning problem…today I cried sometimes it gets too much but the other 90 % of the time he is a lovely fantastic partner friend. He is currently on no adhd medication has a diagnosis but doesn’t treat it:( I need help, may be might write a blog soon to share my story. Thanks for reading.

    • Name says:

      Your partner is not quite awake yet. He’s in a half dream state, even though he seems awake. Your requests at that time may not outweigh his desire to continue sleeping, even though that may not make sense, since he’s half asleep he’s not reasoning properly. Also you’re requesting that he start dealing with problems immediately.

      It might help to think of it this way. Your ADD partner is a “hunter” instead of a “gatherer”. His primal brain is wired to 1. wait around until there is prey, letting his mind wander while he waits silently. 2. If the home is attacked while sleeping, it is wired to immediately jump into a fight or flight rage to defend the family. So fast forward to now. Compare what you’re asking to having to fight and defend the family from a predator. That’s the comparison his sleeping brain is making when you ask, did you remember to take the trash out?. ( i don’t mean to belittle your needs, just a bad example)

      It might help if first you wake him up with good things. Then once you know he’s more awake move on to the important stuff. He should also consider taking a one hit first thing in the am. His choice to self medicate with weed is very common. Low dosages for ADD people are very different than the common conception of being stoned.

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks for sharing this is also my husband 100%. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. My husband also self medicates. I try not to talk or bother him but sometimes there’s nothing but a simple movement that sets him off. It’s a hard situation sometimes. I appreciate the response given also. This helps me to see things clearer.

  9. Tambra Monroe says:

    My boyfriend says, I go to bed angry mad at the world. I wake up up the same way I go to bed. I don’t understand what’s going on and why I do this?

  10. Aaron says:

    Every morning I wake up feeling so angry at the world, being angry at everything for no reason whatsoever. It’s draining my life down. Literally wake up and from the time I open my eyes to complete rage. This usually lasts 3-4 hours and between that time I could shout at anything or anyone, snap at them or hit things around the house, thoughts run through my mind overthinking things that have happened or could happen. My blood always feels like it’s at boiling point and I have no idea why. After those 3-4 hours I calm and remember none of it. It’s like I’ve just woke up even though I’ve been awake for awhile. It’s happened since I was a child. Even shouted at a close family member point blank nose to nose screaming at them but yet again remember none of it.
    Any ideas why?

    • Honestly I don’t know enough about you to be able to come up with a logical idea or the reason why this happens to you. Maybe I traumatic episode from your childhood that you don’t recall.It could be a condition that run’s in the family Could be in the food we eat. Could be a chemical in the air ext. It could be many things maybe I can help maybe I can’t but if you’d maybe like to talk more about it we can try to get to the bottom of your issues and maybe your can help me with some of mine.

  11. Marc says:

    My girlfriend and I get into heated arguments in the mornings sometimes. She wakes me up and tells me she needs help with something and I become immediately irate. It takes me a long time to actually get up and do anything, and when I do, I end up tossing things around or knocking things over so I can get it done and get her out the door so that I can go back to sleep. She isn’t usually asking for much, and certainly nothing I would normally have a problem helping with. I feel bad about it, but I can’t help feeling like I do when I wake up. Even if I try to remember that I’m in a bad mood when I wake up, it does nothing to deter my feelings that I am justified feeling so mad.

    • Kirk says:

      “Even if I try to remember” … isn’t that the truth! I completely understand

  12. Keri says:

    I wake up feeling like my head is going to explode with anger. I dont really have reason for being angry. I’m at my wits end. I need help I’ve tried medications and nothing seems to help. My Fiancée and i have been together for five years now and he’s almost ready to call it quits. I feel like I take it out on him. I don’t know what to do. Any more I use to be this happy kind person and now I’m yelling all the time or angry about nothing. Help!!!

    • Hi Keri, sorry to hear about your morning anger problems. There will be reasons why you are feeling angry,its just you not sure what they are yet. Why not try this! Every morning for a week when you wake up, ask yourself ‘why do I feel angry today?’ and write down 10 reason. Some might seem silly, (the cat snored and kept me awake) but write 10 reasons anyway Then after a week you will notice some common themes that you can take practical actions towards.

      • Becca says:

        As this sounds like a great idea, I too suffer from this demon, and some mornings you have so much rage that there is no thought of writing something down. The anger is so strong, its stench fills the air that i breathe and i become a werewolf. Literally screaming and spitting and dripping sweat. It must be something chemically inside, so maybe the commentabove where the food we eat and the air we breathe may be the cause. there are just too many factors….

    • dani cook says:

      I do the same thing, I know it’s not really me because I am overall satisfied in my relationship- I am making an appointment with a doctor and going to find a way to treat my problems.

      • Eric says:

        What did she dr say? I
        Have been dealing with the same problems for years and Iam going nut😡

  13. I’m mad at the world. I’ve been waking up angry lately so much I can’t even say good morning to my 5-year-old daughter. I can’t even be happy when I look at her. I know I love her why does my anger mask that. I hate it. I can’t control it. Makes life harder.

  14. Jane says:

    I wake up in the morning with thoughts running through my head, and many of them make me really mad. Like, for example something my husband did or said that I find unfair. I feel like I have hardly any reason for getting out of bed. Once I do, I often try to feel calm, and do sometimes. I do yoga and meditate often, only much of the time the thoughts do not resolve. I many mornings will pick a fight with my husband its like I cant help it. I feel like it could help to calm myself before I go to bed, because by the time I wake up it is too late.

  15. Jasmin says:

    There’s days I wake up not feeling any love,or I feel like everyone is out to get me I guess I’m angry at myself for not being the girly girl he wants and needs I was raise in the street my mother thru me out when I was 13 so from cooking and dressing girly I never did! I mean for him I’ll try it all but it might be to late for that!

  16. Jasmin says:

    Hey,I don’t know what’s up with me I go to bed fine an wake up angry and want to take it out on my man,its making our relationship fall apart is making us distinct we sleep back to back he do even look at me the same! we been together going on 2 years but knew each other since elementary I love this man with all of me I don’t want to lose him because of my depression or my anger I’ve tried talking to a professional doctor and they are charging me to just heare talk let alone for medication does anyone know anything I can try this is my last result! Please help!

    • Becca says:

      I have been with my fiance for 7 years, and this has been on and off in the mornings sunce we started. This has been the worst problem for our relatuonship, especially as we are getting older and he is becoming a lot more calm and there for me. It almost makes me feel worse that i still wake up absolutely nasty. I think that if you two have great communication between you two, he will understand and will take steps with you to help. I totally understand the fear of him leaving because of a rage fit i didnt even want to have. I can always be a free ear to listen 🙂

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