Understanding ADHD

Five questions answered to help further understand people with ADHD

Haley Wolfenbarger, reporter

Many people might find that people with ADHD to be annoying or rude or dumb for a variety of reasons. They may find it silly or awkward when they zone out or stop listening to someone when they’re talking. Yes, these are rude habits that people can have, and they should still have self control, but it may be a lot more difficult for people who have ADHD. 

How is everyday life different for people with ADHD?

When you have ADHD, learning is obviously one thing more difficult to do, especially because of their short attention span. When having conversations, they get easily side tracked and may change the subject without realizing it. For many with ADHD, caffeine doesn’t make them feel energized, it actually makes them more relaxed. Being orderly with ADHD is also very difficult because their brain is like a rollercoaster, losing track of time or even forgetting important tasks that need to be done.

What are myths about ADHD that have been believed?

Some people believe that ADHD is an excuse to be lazy and uneducated. For some people, it might actually be the case, but for the majority, it isn’t. People hear “ADHD” and immediately think of a learning disorder, but that’s not exactly what it is because ADHD affects more than just learning. It makes it difficult to learn, yes, but people with ADHD are just as capable as anyone else to learn. Many believe that ADHD is only found in young children, and that it will go away with time, but that is not the case; just as autism cannot vanish over time, the same goes for ADHD. It can only be helped or worked around, but it can’t be cured. If you believe that poor parenting causes ADHD, think again. This is another popular myth that people believe, but it is far from accurate. ADHD is a brain development, not a learned disorder. Some believe that they have a bad memory, which might be the case. However, people with ADHD actually can remember minor details that many might not, especially the details of an old memory.

Can some things worsen ADHD?

One of the biggest ways to worsen the condition of ADHD is excessive screen time. Apps like TikTok, or shorts on YouTube, or short little videos on Instagram are all perfect ways to make ADHD worse, shortening your attention span. And for people who naturally have a short attention span, this is a big problem for them. Viewing these apps shorten the attention spans of people who don’t even have ADHD, so consider that for a moment before you want to spend hours on your phone watching short clips and videos on social media. Stress can make ADHD worse. When there’s a time crunch or deadline to complete something, that can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to overthinking the situation. And when they try to calm themselves down from all the stress, it can lead them to forget about the deadline or goal, and begin doing something else. Does that mean they can’t get things done? No, but getting the job done is a lot more difficult for them—and they may get it done late or at the last minute.

What are the different types of ADHD?

There are three types of ADHD, one being a combination of the two others. The avatar is the combination of the hyperactive type, and the easily distracted type. Not everyone with ADHD thinks the same. For many who fidget when they need to be listening, others may be still, and are more active in the brain, being distracted by a crooked picture frame, or a repetitive sound. For those who fidget, they can also have an active mind in these situations, and need to fidget to keep their brain focused. 

How can you better understand and help people with ADHD?

When they interrupt, they’re not trying to be rude—they’re just trying to get out what they want to say before they forget. If they’re not listening, they may be thinking hard about something else, or something you said earlier. People with ADHD can learn perfectly fine, but not the same way as you and will need extra help and different techniques grasp certain concepts. Chewing gum is not distracting them. It’s actually helping them focus, so telling them to not chew gum in class is actually doing more harm than good. Because of their short attention span, going off on a long rant about a certain topic is the perfect way to cause them to stop listening. They actually can learn and listen and have a longer attention span when it is a topic they actually find interesting. They could even go hours talking about it. People with ADHD love questions, because it’s perfect for their short attention span; “quick question,” “quick answer,” “new question,” “new answer.”

People with ADHD are intelligent, or have that capability. You just have to know how to treat them, and understand that what’s normal and easy to you, isn’t always normal or easy to them.