9 Things People with ADHD Want You to Know

Truths About ADHD

Although attention deficit disorder (ADD), also commonly referred to as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a national health crisis that continues to grow, it is highly misunderstood.

A lack of understanding, as well as misinformation, can be hugely detrimental in people with ADD/ADHD. Too often those with ADHD are incorrectly labeled as stupid, flakey, spacey, unreliable, unbearable, overly sensitive, troublemaker, or something similar. These hurtful judgments often stem from myths about ADHD that are still present in our culture, despite being untrue.

Too often those with ADHD are incorrectly labeled as stupid, flakey, spacey, unreliable, unbearable, overly sensitive, a troublemaker, or something similar. These hurtful judgments often stem from myths about ADHD. Click To Tweet

Perhaps the best way to truly understand what it feels like to have ADHD  is to listen to what people with the condition have to say. Here are 9 things that patients at Amen Clinics have expressed that they wish other people understood about ADHD.


1. Telling someone with ADHD to try harder makes things worse.

Brain SPECT imaging shows that when people with ADHD concentrate, blood flow to the prefrontal cortex goes down, which makes concentration worse. ADHD is not a failure of willpower, it’s a neurological condition. Living successfully with ADHD is not about “trying harder” but is rather a process of optimizing the brain and adjusting habits, environment, and structure.

2. They aren’t necessarily lazy or procrastinating, they just don’t know where to start.

People with ADHD have brains that work differently than those who don’t have the condition, and differently from lazy people. They tend to struggle with planning and doing parts of a task in order. Tasks in the neurotypical world have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Individuals with ADHD have trouble prioritizing, so they don’t know where and how to start.

That’s why complex projects can be very challenging for those with ADHD. They do better receiving assignments in chunks, or a series of smaller assignments, especially on longer projects.

3. Having ADHD is exhausting.

Those with ADHD have to work extra hard to stay organized and get things done as they have a million things going on in their mind at once. It’s a moment-to-moment struggle of the brain needing to do mundane tasks yet wanting to avoid them while it monitors the environment for higher stimulation. This continuous inner negotiation is exhausting. All this behind-the-scenes tug-of-war makes self-regulation difficult.

4. Focus isn’t the problem.

ADHD is not about a focus problem. It’s about focusing on too many things at once. ADHD is not necessarily a deficit of attention, but rather a problem with regulating one’s attention span to the desired task. So, while mundane tasks may be difficult to focus on, others may be completely absorbing. ADHD people can hyperfocus when interested.

5. They don’t mean to be rude.

Brain imaging research shows that ADHD is associated with low activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for forethought, focus, and executive function. Thus, it is characterized by poor impulse control. People with ADHD may blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, even if it is unkind.

6. ADHD is not a joke.

A lighthearted joke about ADHD may be well-intentioned, but it overlooks the severity of the disorder. It’s particularly dismissive of the complex, debilitating, very real disorder that ADHD is. The truth is that ADHD can be devastating.

7. It can affect physical intimacy.

Research suggests that roughly 40% of men and women with ADHD will have sexual problems. Lack of focus is a symptom of ADHD. In some cases, that lack of focus can make achieving orgasm more difficult.

8. ADHD isn’t all bad.

People with ADHD often are high in energy, enthusiastic, full of ideas, creative, and they often have bursts of energy! They are also spontaneous, adventurous, willing to take risks, and have out-of-the-box thinking.

There’s truly no deficit in people with ADHD. Brain differences are normal. The 90% of non-ADHD people in the world referred to as “neurotypical” does not mean they are “normal” or better. Their neurology is simply more accepted and endorsed by the world.

9. ADHD isn’t just one thing.

Thanks to brain SPECT imaging, Amen Clinics has identified 7 types of ADHD. Surprisingly, some of them do not involve hyperactivity at all.

Ask the person with ADHD in your life what they’d like you to know about their neurological condition. You’ll likely gain a new understanding!

ADD/ADHD and other brain health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I am very thankful for such an enlightening information on ADD. I am 67 yrs old and after a long long time, i realize this is my problem and my brother’s problem too. I am just too happy that ADD can be treated.
    I stay in the Philippines and will follow all your podcasts and lectures.

    Comment by Myra P. Lacuna — November 5, 2021 @ 5:19 AM

  2. What do you suggest a 16 yr old should take? He doesn’t want to take his medicine now!

    Comment by Van Anne Toni Anne — November 12, 2021 @ 10:45 PM

  3. Why do adhd people need meds???

    Comment by Eva Seyller — November 30, 2022 @ 3:13 PM

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