It’s almost impossible to believe that people don’t believe that ADD or ADHD are real things. Seriously… did somebody just one day decide to spread a rumor that something called Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder were F*ke? Like, how would things THAT specifically named be F*ke?
Regardless, for those who afflicted with these conditions, life can be REALLY hard. And that’s why posts like these are so important. Because you are NOT alone. At all. And that’s why somebody on reddit posted the question: Redditor’s with ADD/ADHD, what’s something you wish people knew about ADHD?
Thousands of comments later… we’ve got some great answers.
Check it out!
1. Memory probs
It’s hard af to remember things.
If I don’t think about it, other things get on mind mind and eventually I just forget.
I’m talking about like a matter of minutes. The worst part is that no matter what, it always sounds like a pathetic excuse.
I always feel like sh^t when I say “I forgot” because I really did but everyone else thinks I’m lying.
2. Just listen
It means the world to us when you’re willing to listen to us go on and on about our special interests and discuss them with us as well.
Also, don’t pull that “who are you even talking to” bullsh^t- that makes us super uncomfortable and worried that no one is listening to us.
3. Gender differences
It can look very different in women/girls than in men/boys. We can be physically hyperactive but for many women/girls the hyperactivity is mental.
For example, when I’m staring off into space and it looks like I’m not thinking of much the reality is my mind is going 1000mph and I can’t stop it.
4. Time keeps slipping…
A day, week, month, even a year, are not a long time. Especially a day.
An entire work day can go by in a split second and I haven’t accomplished a single thing. Where did the time go? How did I manage to do that?
Every day is like this except for the few frantic days before a project is due. But, it was also 2011 just the other day. It will be 2025 in a few days or weeks. This is the worst part. I don’t get to experience time like other people. I barely remember doing the fun stuff over the years, I know i did it, but the memories are on fast forward, always.
A long weekend is no longer than a regular weekend.
5. The dopamine effect…
I should probably clarify I’m not an expert, just highly interested in brain function and mental illness, so correct me if I’m wrong.
Simply put, there are two types of dopamine; one that stays in your brain, kind of rewarding you for staying on track, and one that gets released each time you find a new stimulus. Less dopamine in the brain leads to you finding new stimuli, which should lead to more of it getting released and staying. People with ADHD, however, have a problem with keeping the dopamine, so they constantly look for new things to do.
Stimulants help because they release dopamine artificially, so you don’t have to find stimuli. This makes you able to focus on a task, since dopamine is released constantly, without the need for a new activity
I think that your brain might be tired from the constant hunt for activities, so it just wants to rest any chance it gets. It’s much easier to take a nap when you don’t have any work to do.
6. Don’t buy the cartoon
Just as it is with other mental illnesses, it varies from person to person.
For me, it’s not “I’m talking with you about- OH LOOK A SQUIRREL!”.
It’s more of an internal struggle to keep my thoughts in line. It feels like there’s always background noise in my brain, and keeping my focus on just one thing is similar to holding my breath.
I’ve always felt that the whole “changing the subject of a conversation or being distracted by your surroundings” stereotype is very cartoonish.
7. You don’t look like you have…
If I am doing something else while you’re speaking (Fidgeting, looking around, focusing my eyes in a random object, tapping my hands, etc.) there’s a good chance I’m doing that because I’m interested in what you’re saying and doing this thing makes me focus. It does NOT mean I don’t want to listen or I don’t care.
If I haven’t talked to you in months that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you anymore. I simply got wrapped up in so many things I literally forgot you existed, but you’re still my friend and I still love you and if you hit me up I’m going to buy you some beers at the local pub to make up for the lost time. Please don’t be angry at me.
I understand you’re frustrated with me. I really do- I am as frustrated with myself as you are with me, because unlike you, I have to tolerate myself 24/7. Please be patient with me.
If I “Don’t look like I have ADD/ADHD” that’s because I’m controlling myself to be not annoying to you. So please don’t try to un-diagnose me. Doing so is you being a j^rkwith me while I’m trying to be nice to you, even if you don’t notice it.
I know it LOOKS messy, but I put my stuff in that place for a reason. If you alter that order YOU f*ck UP EVERYTHING LIKE YOU HAVE NO IDEA DON’T MOVE MY STUFF GODDAMIT
8. Exists on a DNA level
As someone who’s worked in a neuro lab, did research on the genetics of ADHD for my undergrad thesis, and was diagnosed when I was younger with ADHD:
Yes, it exists. It exists even in the DNA level. Certain genes are regulated differently, neurotransmitter levels are different, brain scans of people with ADHD are markedly different from those without ADHD.
There are different subtypes. There’s the predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive, and both. Just because you can sit still doesn’t mean you don’t have ADHD.
It’s multifactorial and heterogeneous. This means that it can stem from different causes (genetic, early prenatal environment, exposure to alcohol or nicotine in utero, etc.) and affects different people differently. At this point, scientists are not 100% sure on its origin but they’re circling around genetics as being the most likely factor to cause the manifestation of ADHD. Problems with the dopamine pathway are highly represented in ADHD, making some children with ADHD respond impulsively stronger to short-term rewards vs. long-term ones.
It can be heritable.
Those drugs? Yeah, they work. And the way they work is paradoxical. Most ADHD meds are stimulants. They increase dopamine levels in the brain by reducing its reuptake so there’s more of it in the synapse, increasing chances that it can bind to the receptor on the other end of the junction so that it is transported along the axon. By increasing dopamine in the brain, the person doesn’t need to exhibit risk-taking behavior so their body relaxes paradoxically. If you don’t have ADHD, your brain processes dopamine normally so increasing its levels gives you an “upper” effect. This phenomenon is not well-understood yet.
Around 5% of adults have ADHD, while 30-50% of children with ADHD will continue to manifest symptoms during adulthood.
There isn’t much evidence suggesting there is a rise in ADHD cases. What we do know is there is a difference in the way we’re diagnosing cases nowadays, so this increase may just be because we’re diagnosing better now. Studies suggest adult ADHD is still underdiagnosed, though.
9. Pls stop talking. kthxbai
to the chatty students sitting behind me in class: i’m not asking you to be quiet bc i’m trying to be a d%ck, i’m just physically unable to tune you out.
i missed half of lecture, but at least now i know all the intricate details of your weekend plans.
10. It’s not laziness
I procrastinate the things I want to do.
I want to do my homework, I want to eat, I want to read, and so on — I just can’t. I don’t know why I can’t. I have spent literal hours pacing around the kitchen instead of just making food and eating, and I’ve spent hours looking at the wall instead of doing my homework. I am not willingly procrastinating; there is something broken in my functioning and I feel like a glitched out computer program on loop. (This is called executive dysfunction!)
When ‘laziness’ becomes this distressing and disruptive, it isn’t laziness.
On that note, it’s extremely difficult for people with ADHD to differentiate between personal flaws and symptoms. For a long time I just thought I was stupid and lazy.
11. They hate me
this is something even most DOCTORS dont even tell us about. ADHD has its side effects, one being RSD.
RSD = rejection sensitivity dysphoria
it is the WORST. its an anxiety disorder that basically amplifies the pain of being rejected and can even cause some delusions.
me: hi 🙂 can i come over today?
friend: sorry not today, i have another friend over
the rsd: they hate you. they obviously like that friend more than you. maybe that other friend doesnt exist? are they lying just to get away from you? your so terrible why would they even want to hang out with you.
it causes overthinking and paranoia and its f*cking terrible, so if people with ADHD seem to take things a little more personally, it could just be the RSD, so keep that in mind !
12. Not normal
I wish i could get more people in my life to genuinely understand how different I am from them. I can’t call myself learning disabled around my family without them fre*king out and telling me I’m normal.
I’m not, guys!! I’m not normal, and we’ll all get along better if we understand that!
Also: I hate going out to bars or restaurants with lots of TVs. It doesn’t matter whether I like what’s on TV or not, ADD is going to make me watch it. And then I’m going to learn more about the real housewives than about what you’ve been up to lately.
Relate to any of these stories? You’re not alone.
But, if you’re undiagnosed, maybe go see a doctor to find our for sure?
The good news is that PLENTY of people have ADHD, get treatment and lead VERY productive lives.
There is hope! Go out there and find it!