Updated: Jan 22
What is ADHD?
Clinically: ADHD, also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common neurodiverse condition that affects both kids and adults. ADHD affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain responsible for rational decision-making.
Key symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which have significantly affected an individual in multiple settings before the age of 12.
However, having ADHD entails much more than these commonly perceived and recognized symptoms. Some comorbid symptoms of ADHD include sensory difficulties, social difficulties, forgetfulness, hypersensitivity, organizational and planning difficulties, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD), low self esteem, depression, and anxiety. Read more about personal ADHD testimonies and experiences on our blog here.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition. Although not formally classified as a learning disability, more than 50% of individuals with ADHD have a comorbid learning disability, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dyspraxia. ADHD is diagnosed through a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment.
There are three subtypes of ADHD:
ADHD combined type, difficulties with hyperactivity, attention, impulsivity, and emotion control — the most common subtype of ADHD
ADHD, predominantly inattentive presentation (formerly known as ADD, attention deficit disorder)
ADHD, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation
Socially: ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls. ADHD affects both girls and boys. However, girls are often heavily underdiagnosed due to society’s expectations of females, male-targeted diagnostic criteria, and an increased pressure to mask differences.
ADHD presents differently in girls and boys. While a teacher or parent may be quick to identify the disruptive, hyperactive boy in class, the quiet, outwardly obedient girl who has trouble focusing may go completely under the radar to develop self-esteem issues in the future. Read more about ADHD in girls here.
ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in Caucasian populations, and less so in Asian, Black, Latinx, or other BIPOC communities. This is less because certain populations are more disposed to the condition, but because Caucasian families may be more open to a diagnosis and addressing the difficulties at hand. In immigrant or BIPOC families, lack of awareness, misconceptions, and stigma are still relatively rampant around neurodiversity, which reduces the likelihood of diagnosis despite tangible difficulties. Diagnosed individuals from minority backgrounds may feel alone or ashamed with their experiences and be less inclined to seek support. However, this is exactly what we strive to combat at NeurodiverCity.
Individuals with ADHD have many diverse strengths: creativity, innovation, humor, and alternate solutions are among some of them. They are also very detail-oriented, intelligent, and enthusiastic, all very strong qualities in the workplace.
Personally? ADHD is an explanation, a validation for my personal experiences, and an intricate framework for how I perceive the world, think, and understand.
Of course, this doesn't mean that I don't struggle at all. Simple tasks can take me five times as long to complete. I struggle immensely with reading and have a love-hate relationship with writing. Organization is an insurmountable task for me, and all background noises impede my work. But I still wouldn't want it any other way for the world.
More to come!