ADHD has a PR problem.
Many people with ADHD have no idea they have it. Experts estimate a staggering 75-90% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed. What is going on, why is the problem so bad?
There are two primary factors:
- A lot of historical baggage and misconceptions
- A poor name that causes people to disqualify themselves
Let's focus on the name: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What's the problem? Let's take a look.
People hear think "that can't be me, I have no problem focusing attention on things that are interesting."
The problem is, there actually isn't a deficit of attention.
You are paying attention to so many things at once that your brain struggles to control it. You end up gravitating toward the interesting, challenging, or novel because it's difficult to tell what is important through all that noise.
While some people with ADHD do exhibit hyperactivity (i.e. "bouncing off the walls"), this is just one of a long list of possible symptoms. It's particularly unfair to women who are more likely to have inattentive symptoms (i.e. "day dreaming") and slip through their youth undiagnosed.
Many people with ADHD think "everyone thinks this way" and are shocked to discover that everyone, in fact, does not.
ADHD is hereditary. Family members may share similar symptoms and your disorder can seem like "family quirks."
Also, people with ADHD are drawn to each other.
You may have a best friend who seems to think the same way you do. It can sometimes be difficult to connect with others, but easy with a fellow ADHD brain.