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Mental Health / ADHD

Date: 2023-05-21

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Blogs and Articles

2023-04-07 mrseth01/awesome-adhd: Awesome Resources for ADHD

2023-04-07 Show HN: ADHD-friendly Pomodoro web app | Hacker News

2023-04-24 Opening up about my ADHD. Diagnosed at 34, I hope my story can… | by Kyle Gordon | Medium

It would be a mistake to write a blog about ADHD without having a summary at the beginning. I know I would need one. So here it is :

I’ve always had focus issues but I misdiagnosed them as problems related to energy. Through school and career I found that the only reliable way for me to motivate myself was to generate stress and consume an unhealthy amount of caffeine. At first doing work just before it’s due, and later in life harnessing it in a more healthy manner by faking early deadlines. Late 2021 I got sick and I couldn’t drink caffeine anymore and stress caused me a good deal of pain. Thought my career was over, so I turned to my doctor and she sent me to be evaluated for ADHD and Bipolar. Turns out I have ADHD and the medication has given me a new lease on life. Please, if you relate to my story at all, pursue help.

2023-05-15 Taxonomy of procrastination

ADHD and procrastination

What I’d like to understand is: Is there a failure mode from having too much willpower?

There’s an angle on this that seems promising at first. People who have ADHD have “low willpower”. This is claimed to be a result of some kind of dopamine (or norepinephrine) dysfunction—either producing too little, or having low-sensitivity receptors. So is there a problem associated with having “too much” dopamine? Perhaps yes—the dopamine hypothesis is that an overly sensitive dopamine system (or taking lots of meth) causes schizophrenia.

As a cartoon, we might think that:




Nice theory, right? Trouble is, people with ADHD are also much more likely to develop schizophrenia. So this doesn’t make sense, nothing makes sense.

Key Facts

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. While symptoms often begin in childhood, many individuals carry these symptoms into adulthood. Here are some key facts about ADHD:

  1. Prevalence: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2016, approximately 6.1 million children in the United States had been diagnosed with ADHD. In adults, it's estimated that 2.5% of the global population has ADHD.
  2. Symptoms: ADHD is characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention can manifest as difficulties in maintaining focus, forgetfulness, and easily being sidetracked. Hyperactivity can look like constant movement, restlessness, or talking excessively. Impulsivity may involve interrupting others, struggling with patience, and making hasty decisions without thinking through the consequences.
  3. Subtypes: ADHD has three primary subtypes: predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and combined presentation. The symptoms can change over time, and an individual’s classification might shift.
  4. Diagnosis: ADHD is diagnosed using criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Diagnosis involves gathering information from multiple sources, including parents, teachers, and in the case of adults, from the individuals themselves.
  5. Treatment: ADHD treatment typically involves a combination of medication, psychoeducation, behavior therapy, and lifestyle changes. Stimulant medications are often effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, but each individual's response to medication varies. Non-stimulant medications are also available.
  6. Co-existing conditions: Many people with ADHD also have co-existing conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.
  7. Impact: ADHD can significantly impact various areas of life, including academic performance, employment, and interpersonal relationships. However, with proper support and accommodations, individuals with ADHD can thrive.
  8. Strengths: Despite the challenges associated with ADHD, many individuals with this condition exhibit unique strengths, including creativity, problem-solving abilities, a high energy level, and the ability to hyperfocus on tasks they find interesting.

The understanding and treatment of ADHD have come a long way, but it’s crucial to continue fostering an environment of acceptance and support for those with ADHD. By understanding ADHD better, we can better accommodate those with the condition in the workplace and society at large.

Let's see who it affects:

  • Around 11% of school-aged kids in the US and 7.2% worldwide.
  • About 3.4% of adults.
  • Interestingly, less than 75% of these cases keep showing symptoms into adulthood. More on this at

But hey, these numbers are a bit confusing. Why? Because a bunch of ADHD cases never get spotted, which is a major issue. Here are a few interesting points:

  • Len Adler, a big shot in ADHD research and a professor at New York University, thinks that at least 75% of adults with ADHD don't even know they have it.
  • Adults with undiagnosed ADHD are more likely than others to have mood problems, feel really sad, and deal with anxiety.
  • Edward Hallowell, a top ADHD expert (who also has ADHD), says adults with undiagnosed ADHD often struggle at work. They may get fired often, suddenly quit, or just not do as well as they could. This can lead to losing confidence, motivation, and happiness over time. They might just settle for less than what they could achieve if they were diagnosed and treated. Check out more here.

And here's a little extra: Women and people identified as female at birth who are neurodivergent are often missed when it comes to diagnosing ADHD. This is because doctors and mental health folks often overlook their symptoms. You can read more on this here.

ADHD symptoms come from difficulties with something called executive functioning skills. To get a better idea of what ADHD can look like in a person, take a peek at this comic by Dani Donovan.


ADHD and Procrastination

ADHD and procrastination often go hand in hand. The difficulty that individuals with ADHD have in managing and organizing time, also known as time blindness, can contribute to chronic procrastination. Here are some key insights about ADHD and procrastination:

  1. The Role of Executive Functions: ADHD is associated with impairments in executive functions – cognitive processes that help us plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and manage multiple tasks. Impairments in these areas can lead to procrastination, as tasks may feel overwhelming or individuals may struggle to prioritize and sequence tasks effectively.

  2. Emotion Regulation and Procrastination: Emotion regulation difficulties are common in ADHD and can also contribute to procrastination. Individuals with ADHD might delay starting tasks that seem boring, frustrating, or anxiety-provoking.

  3. Task Initiation: People with ADHD often struggle with task initiation – the ability to start a new task. This difficulty can manifest as procrastination, especially when tasks require a high level of effort or are perceived as boring.

  4. Strategies to Address Procrastination: Certain strategies can be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD who struggle with procrastination. These can include:

    1. breaking tasks down into smaller steps

    2. using visual organizational tools

    3. practicing mindfulness to increase present-moment awareness

    4. seeking external accountability (such as working with an ADHD coach or using a study group).

  5. Role of Medication: ADHD medications can often improve executive functioning and attention, which may reduce procrastination. However, it's important to note that medication alone is often not a complete solution, and works best when combined with behavioral strategies.

Remember, every individual with ADHD is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. It's important to work with a healthcare provider or an ADHD coach to develop an individualized plan.

How to Build an ADHD-Friendly Workplace

ADDitude magazine says that folks with ADHD need a few things to be at their best: incentives, positive vibes, and clear deadlines. Here are some tips they suggest:

  • Expect tasks to take longer than you might think. And by longer, we mean way longer.

  • Build in time for transitions during your day.

  • Break big tasks into bite-sized pieces.

  • Jot everything down. Yes, even those random thoughts that pop into your head.

  • Perfection is a trap. Don't fall for it.

  • Create a workspace that helps you focus, whatever that looks like for you.

  • Have everything you need for work close at hand.

  • Kick things off with the fun stuff. It'll help you get in the groove for the rest of your work.

  • Make deadlines impossible to ignore.

  • Try focusing on what you want to do instead of what you don't want to do. Your brain isn't great at understanding negatives.

Remember, these hacks work best when they fit you. So keep track of what works for you. A couple of good resources are The How Skills coaching and Jessica McCabe’s Motivation Bridge videos: Video 1 & Video 2

And hey, don't forget that ADHD is a mixed bag. There's good stuff and tough stuff.

There are lots of great things about ADHD, like the creativity, empathy, grit, and talents it brings. People with ADHD have unique strengths that can turn ADHD into a plus, not a minus:

  • Problem Solving: The way your thoughts bounce around can help you come up with solutions others might miss.

  • Imagination & Creativity: People with ADHD don't just think outside the box. We build our own castles with our endless imagination.

  • Love for Life: People with ADHD know how to find the silver lining and enjoy life, even when things are tough.

  • Acceptance: Living with ADHD can make us more accepting of differences in ourselves and others.

  • Compassion: Being different makes people with ADHD understand others who are different. We always root for the underdog.

  • Perseverance: Kids and adults with ADHD often have to work twice as hard. But that struggle can build a strong will to keep trying until you succeed.

  • Observation Skills: ADHD doesn't always mean you can't pay attention. Sometimes it means you notice everything, including things others overlook.

  • Laser-Focus: When people with ADHD get in the zone, they can get a lot done really fast.

    Source 1, Source 2

But, ADHD can also make things really hard. It's been linked to:

  • Struggling at school or work
  • Unemployment
  • Drinking or using drugs too much
  • Getting into car accidents or other accidents
  • Rocky relationships
  • Bad physical and mental health
  • Low self-esteem
  • Money problems
  • Run-ins with the law
  • Suicide attempts

Other conditions that can make ADHD even harder to deal with often show up too. These include:

  • Other mental health conditions: Adults with ADHD are more likely to also have conditions like personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder, and substance use disorders.

  • Learning disabilities: Adults with ADHD might not do as well on academic tests as you'd expect for their age, intelligence, and education. These disabilities can include problems with understanding and communicating.

  • Mood disorders: Many adults with ADHD also have depression, bipolar disorder, or another mood disorder. While these aren't caused by ADHD, the repeated disappointments and difficulties that come with ADHD can make mood problems worse.

  • Anxiety disorders: These are common in adults with ADHD. Anxiety can make you worry, feel nervous, and have other symptoms. The challenges and setbacks that ADHD brings can add to this anxiety.

You can read more about these challenges here.

So there you have it. ADHD can be tough, but it also comes with its own special strengths. And by creating a work environment that understands and supports people with ADHD, we can all do our best work together.

Key Areas to Provide Support and Allyship

  1. Recognize the impact of ableism and avoid positioning neurotypical individuals as the "norm". Jessica McCabe puts it well, describing ADHD as not a "failed version of normal".
  2. Invest in learning how ADHD brains function – your presence here is an excellent start! Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of an ADHD brain can prevent misconceptions that mistakes are due to a lack of care or effort.
  3. Embrace the differences in how brains operate and provide positive reinforcement for things ADHD brains excel at. For people with ADHD, positive reinforcement is a much stronger motivator than negative reinforcement or criticism, which can cause undue harm.

You can delve further into these topics in A New Day for Neurodivergence , Jessica McCabe's TED Talk on living with ADHD , Dr. Hallowell's Reframing ADHD , and Avoiding Failure-Punishment in Children with ADHD .

Suggested Resources

  1. Opening up about my ADHD
  2. Jessica McCabe shares her personal story in Failing at Normal: An ADHD Success Story .
  3. Dr. Thomas E. Brown provides an insightful overview in ADD/ADHD | What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? , discussing ADHD diagnosis, symptoms, treatment options, and medication.
  4. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides resources and networking opportunities to help adults with ADHD lead better lives.
  5. CHADD offers information, support, and advocacy for families and individuals with ADHD.
  6. ADDitute Magazine is an online resource providing expert guidance for living better with ADHD and related mental health conditions.
  7. offers expert information about ADHD in adults.
  8. The "Faster Than Normal" podcast features ADHD-friendly 20-minute interviews with successful people from diverse walks of life who've leveraged their ADHD to their advantage.
  9. The ADHD reWired Podcast with Eric Tivers offers free insights, stories, and strategies on time-management, executive functioning, emotions, and more for adults with ADHD.

Fun interruption

2024-01-18 ADHD - "Under The Sea" Parody - YouTube 2024-01-19 ADHD Needs A New Name - Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Parody - YouTube