ADHD shouldn’t be called a disorder


Ashley Qian

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is commonly misunderstood. The Sidekick staff writer Yasemin Ragland explains the meaning of having ADHD through her personal experience. Graphic by Ashley Qian

Yasemin Ragland, Staff writer

I’m not officially diagnosed with ADHD, but I show many of the traits. It’s sort of a package deal with another developmental disability I have (that my parents, my counselor and a majority if not all of my teachers know I have), but I’ll talk about that when the time comes. ADHD was first discovered in 1798 by Sir Alexander Crichton, but wasn’t an official diagnosis until 1902.

Even though ADHD is literally an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD shouldn’t even be called a disorder, or a mental illness. Our brains just work differently. Those of us that have ADHD are neurodivergent. What is neurodiversity or being neurodivergent? Neurodiversity refers to individuals with autism, ADHD, an intellectual disability, dyslexia, Color Blindness, SPD, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, etc….

ADHD doesn’t always mean that someone is hyperactive and fidgety. There are three types of ADHD. The hyperactive impulsive type, the inattentive type and the combined type. The hyperactive impulsive type is the recognizable ADHD type, and commonly diagnosed in children and boys. The inattentive type is commonly diagnosed in adults and girls. The combination type is exactly what it means, but six or more traits from each of the other two. However, both boys and girls can be diagnosed or not be officially diagnosed and show traits from any of the three. One of the biggest causes of ADHD is if one or both of the individual’s parents are ADHD/ADD. Because ADHD presents itself differently in girls than it does in boys, ADHD girls are often underdiagnosed until adulthood. ADHD is also different in each individual.

Other things that are common for ADHDers are hyperfixation (which is both a blessing and a curse depending on how it affects an ADHD individual), excessive stimming (which there are many types of, and fidget spinners were originally meant to be stim toys), ADHDers also happen to have an experience called the ADHD Burnout, what causes ADHD Burnouts? Overcompensating, struggling to recognize our limits, or feeling guilty of resting. What are signs of an ADHD burnout? Lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, guilt, depression, anxiety, poor productivity, irritability and cynicism. How to prevent ADHD burnouts? Afirm self-worth, don’t overwork/overcommit, don’t always say yes, rest more, estimate how much time an activity takes before doing it, don’t hide your struggling from others, and ask for help when you need it, even if you don’t want it.

ADHD isn’t just found in straight and/or cisgender boys and girls, many ADHD individuals are more likely to identify as LGBTQ+. As far as I know, I like being a girl and I’m currently not interested in dating, maybe in college, but not now. One reason for me not dating yet is that I’m conflicted on the inside. Neurodiversity and LGBTQ+ have recently become merging topics, even on TV. Luz Noceda from the hit 2020-present Disney Channel tv series The Owl House (which I’ve beige watched 4 times, and am doing so agin, and it’s mostly what me and one of my friends have been talking about), was confirmed to be Bisexual and ADHD by the show’s creator Dana Terrance April 2021. Even before the confirmation, many Eagle eyed Owl House fans have picked up that Luz is ADHD and Bisexual, I figured that out within the first few episodes of season 1, before I found out that it was confirmed. Sadly TOH will be ending after it’s shortened third season set to release in 2022, because it “Doesn’t fit the Disney brand”, and the second half of season 2 isn’t even out yet. I’m disappointed about it too, because TOH has diverse representation. And then again many Disney movies are questionable, so how does TOH not fit? However, TOH fans everywhere are rallying together to save the show from being ended and forgotten.

The fact that one is ADHD shouldn’t stop them from reaching their potential. Michael Phelps and Simone Biles are both ADHD, Justin Timberlake is also have ADHD, or specifically ADD, and the list goes on. To everyone with ADHD/ADD, you shouldn’t let the stigma weigh you down, or define who you are, you define you, it’s ok to be yourself. If you don’t already have support from your family or friends, find someone who understands you or find other people with ADHD. In the words of High School Musical lyrics, ‘We’re all in this together.’ 

Follow Yazi (@YaziDazi) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.