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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

What is ADHD?

What it is can be a bit complicated. Some may know it as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which is the name it used to go by. It was changed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD because there are two 'flavors;' where one presents with hyperactivity and the other with inattention. People with the inattentive form frequently go undiagnosed people associate ADHD with high energy. It is even more complex, though, as many people are a mix of the two: inattentive and hyperactive.

So even though ADHD is an improvement, it still doesn't do a great job of describing the condition because it isn't so much a deficit of attention as it is a difficulty in controlling attention. For things that are stimulating, a person with ADHD might have an overabundance of focus and attention.

Adding to the complexity is that ADHD symptoms might show up in different ways. There are different aspects of executive functioning that might be impacted. Which ones, and how much they are a factor, vary from person to person. The symptoms also are affected by factors in the environment and a person's chemistry, and they can fluctuate in intensity all the time.

Some of the areas it can show up are:

  • Focused awareness (situational challenges directing attention)

  • Working Memory and Recall (challenges using memory efficiently)

  • Impulsivity/Inhibition (situational challenges with self-restraint)

  • Motivation (situational challenges cultivating energy to initiate action/tasks)

  • Emotional Self-Regulation (challenges modifying or redirecting feelings)

  • Planning and Time Management (challenges organizing and prioritizing multiple components)

You may notice that these all have some overlap and some separation. If it is hard to hold things in memory, difficult to prioritize, and challenging to choose the object of focused attention, a person might move from one project, to another, to another.

ADHD Disorder or Superpower?

Everyone is going to have a different opinion, and I don't think it is clear-cut.

People with ADHD have structural brain differences. Although everyone struggles with motivation or attention from time to time, the thing that sets this population apart is how much it impacts daily life. In that way, it fits the DSM definition of a disorder because it gets in the way of achieving life goals. On the other hand, the idea that a person is considered ordered or disordered based on achieving goals can be viewed as slightly limiting or even dehumanizing.

Another way to look at it is simply a difference between some brains and others. Neurotypicals presenting with one set of attributes, and people who are neurodivergent (ADHD/ASD) with another. For all the challenges associated with ADHD, there are ways that neurodivergent brains can be viewed in a positive light. Difficulty regulating attention can be the same thing under a different name: a person who follows their passion. A difficulty prioritizing and organizing can allow a person to see things in a new way and find novel connections.

Hyperfocus can lead to tremendous productivity. Distractability can help make a person resilient by not dwelling. Impulsivity can make a person spontaneous.

Here is a list of traits that make people with ADHD shine:

Society is organized to work well for neurotypicals, but it could just as easily be set up in a way that would favor the neurodivergent. So do you see ADHD as a disorder, just a difference in brains, or a superpower?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD Tips Tricks and Resources



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