student struggling with adhd

What People with ADHD Wish You Knew

The chances are high that you know someone who lives with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This disorder is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in children, affecting nearly one in 10 kids in the United States. About 4.4 percent of adults live with ADHD as well.

Even if you’re close to someone with ADHD, it can be hard to understand the disorder when you don’t live with it. ADHD is complex and it affects people differently. However, there are a few things that most people with ADHD wish that their friends and loved ones knew.

ADHD is a Disorder, Not a Mood

People with and without ADHD go through periods in which they feel particularly distracted or disorganized. Sometimes, you may hear a neurotypical person say something like, “I’ve been so ADHD lately.” No matter how well-meaning that person is, they are invalidating the chronic struggle of people with ADHD.

ADHD is a diagnosable, real, and sometimes frustrating disorder. It is not a mood that lasts a few days or even a few weeks. It’s important not to be cavalier about labeling someone–even yourself–as “ADHD” unless you have the condition.

People with ADHD Can Focus, It’s Just Inconsistent

Many people may define ADHD as “having an inability to focus.” While it’s true that ADHD sometimes makes focus difficult, there’s more to the disorder than that. In fact, people with ADHD can go into hyperfocus, where they tune out everything else except the task at hand. So, if you see someone with ADHD focusing really well, you should know that this does not invalidate their experience or diagnosis.

ADHD Does Have Positive Effects As Well

Once someone has identified their ADHD and come to understand how it affects them, they can learn how to use ADHD to their advantage. In fact, some people have described ADHD not as a disorder, but their own superpower.

For example, when someone with ADHD is passionate about something, it can hold their attention and they can master it. Furthermore, people with ADHD often thrive under pressure and can learn to multitask well.

ADHD Does Not Define Anyone

Although ADHD is complex and can affect every part of a person’s life, it can never be big enough to define who someone is. ADHD is just one part of a person’s life and identity. Seeing past the diagnosis is important for people with ADHD and everyone in their support systems.

Support From Loved Ones is Vital

People with ADHD need support, understanding, and empathy from the people in their lives. The differences in the way a brain with ADHD work can make it difficult for others to understand why people with ADHD have certain behaviors. Even people with ADHD may not know why they do the things they do. The most helpful things you can do for your loved one with ADHD are:

  • Learn more about the condition
  • Try to be patient
  • Build on their strengths
  • Revel in the differences

Sometimes, loved ones accompany people with ADHD to their mental health appointments. This allows the patient’s circle of support to ask questions and learn more about ADHD. If you live with ADHD, be sure to advocate for yourself and share this article.