What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition that causes inattentiveness, hyperactivity, or a combination of both. An outdated term for inattentive ADHD was ADD, but the latter term has been discontinued.

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ADHD is not:

People with ADHD have what is known as an interest based nervous system, where they are motivated by novelty, challenge, urgency and interest. This may make doing things they are unmotivated by harder.
Trying is what people with ADHD do all the time, they just get interrupted by how their bodies and brain work more often than normal people.
People with ADHD can sometimes focus on one thing longer than people without ADHD. This is called hyperfocus and may arise when the person with ADHD is motivated.
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ADHD is:

Undiagnosed ADHD or without proper support are at risk of systematically lower scores in school. The daily burden is simply larger.
The Hyperactive Impulsive type of ADHD means always being on the move and doing things. It is hard to properly rest. This can stress up the body.
Having ADHD means that focus does not always work to the person’s benefit. The person might have a lot of trouble focusing on something they find unmotivating, while having no problem at all focusing for hours on things that they find interesting.
ADHD makes it difficult to begin and finish tasks. Household and personal care may be constantly pushed off due to executive dysfunction, and the build-up of tasks may easily overwhelm the person.

Types of ADHD

Previously there was a diagnosis called ADD. It was like ADHD, but without the hyperactive and impulsive parts. Later, it was combined into ADHD and clear types were defined. The type is not static, but can slightly change over a lifetime.

Previously called ADD, this type is lacking the impulsive and hyperactive traits. What is still there is difficulty filtering and focusing.

A person with Hyperactive Impulsive ADHD is likely to act before they think. This is shown in several ways such as doing or saying something that they would not have done if they were thinking about it beforehand.

The combined type of ADHD is having traits from both the inattentive and the Hyperactive Impulsive types.

Common symptoms

The following are some common symptoms for people with ADHD. They do not apply to all people, as the condition is individual and varies from person to person.

Things like organization, planning, following plans and keeping track of items may be harder with ADHD. Having problems with doing essential things such as cleaning can occur due to having a harder time doing things without motivation. Following step-by step guides especially when heard verbally can be difficult.

People with ADHD tend to experience emotions more vividly. This is due to the deficits in regulation of the areas of the brain involved in filtering emotional responses.

Everyone is being bombarded by colors, lights, sights, sounds. While this is fine for those without ADHD, those with it can’t filter between what is needed and what is not. This makes focusing on everyday tasks harder.

People with ADHD may have a harder time transfering new information (or the right information) into working memory, resulting in what looks like poor working memory regarding a certain task.

A common symptom is focus that lasts too short of time or keeps jumping to new things all the time. This is related to the difficulty with filtering mentioned above.

What can I do?

  1. Stop joking about ADHD These jokes and memes are often insensitive and hurtful to people with the condition. By joking, you’re spreading misinformation and disrespecting people with ADHD.

  2. Spread awareness. Next time you hear a person using ADHD incorrectly or having a stereotypical view of people with ADHD, send them this page.

  3. Support groups for ADHD. There are many organizations that raise money to support people with ADHD and their families. Even if you can’t support them yourself, you can help share these groups with others, so they can support these groups.

The contents of this page is based on a Google doc. Feel free to suggest changes.