10 Things to Understand Before Judging Someone with ADD

The ADD and ADHD acronyms are thrown around in conversation and many individuals don’t understand what life is like for individuals who live with these disorders. From an outside perspective, you may see someone who is fidgety, impulsive, and uneasy. For that individual with ADD/ADHD, life is much different than it appears.

Diagnosis of this disorder has boomed over the past few decades. ADD is fairly common, appearing in 4-6% of the population. Although this condition is generally diagnosed in one’s childhood, symptoms tend to carry over into adulthood.

If you know someone with ADD/ADHD, perhaps you do not understand their behavior. Before you judge them, you need to understand these ten symptoms, and battles these people fight every day.

1. Disorganization is More Frustrating for Them

When someone is disorganized, they tend to be scattered. Individuals with ADD/ADHD are not good at performing tasks in order. If you work with someone who has ADD, perhaps you have noticed this. Those without ADD can typically begin a task, and clearly visualize a beginning, middle, and an end.

For individuals with ADD, they have difficulty understanding how or where to begin. They generally jump into the middle of task, creating confusion and disorganization. Since organized systems are reliant on linearity and priority, individuals with ADD can suffer.

2. They’re Constantly Overwhelmed

Think about a time when you had multiple thoughts racing through your head, fighting for your attention. Well, for individuals with ADD/ADHD, this is a common part of their day. Life is simply experienced more intensely, as thoughts tend to be excessive. This can be extremely overwhelming, as it can be challenging to give one specific engagement their undivided attention.

3. Difficulty Screening Out Sensory Input

Our five senses allow us to experience the world around us. For individuals with ADD, they find it challenging to screen out sensory input. For example, they may experience amplified hearing. This means that an individual with ADD constantly has their world disrupted, which is something that the average population doesn’t understand.

4. Struggle to Engage

For individuals with ADD/ADHD, it can be hard to control hyperactivity and engage with others. Although most individuals learn to control and cover up this symptom by adolescents, their learned social skills do not eliminate this symptom (they simply compensate). Their hyperactivity makes it challenging to engage and listen to others.

5. Time Can Become Distorted

Just as sensory input can be distorted, one’s sense of time is also generally distorted. This means that an individual’s perception of time shifts. It can feel as though the world is going too slow, creating difficulties with impulsivity or taking turns. This creates issues regarding sequence and order.

6. Being Jittery Is More Than Being Nervous

When someone suffers from ADD, disorientation can create the illusion that they’re moving when they’re not. If they try and sit still, it can make them physically sick to their stomach. This is why many individuals try to counteract these feelings through motion, as they become increasingly restless. These restless motions tend to go unnoticed until someone points them out.

7. Their ADD Can Be Situational

The same individual may react very differently from situation to situation. A child, for instance, may do remarkably well in one class, while other classes leave him or her feeling scattered, becoming highly disruptive. This means that individuals with ADD are not necessarily willfully deciding when and where to work diligently. Quick assumptions and judgments in learning settings are unacceptable in this day and age.

8. Recalling Memories Can Be a Major Struggle

For an individual with ADD, it can be very frustrating when trying to recall memories. Often, individuals with ADD are seen as someone that is ignoring instructions or someone who is easily distracted. However, if you tell someone with ADD to perform a task, they may forget moments later.

This is because individuals with ADD can struggle in terms of their working memory. This type of memory is where you keep information so that it’s ready to use. These individuals may have a library of scattered information in their brain; they just cannot always access it.

9. Struggle to Control Emotions

We still do not understand everything about ADD, but there are connections between this disorder and emotional issues. There is a middle fold of tissue within our brains known as the cingulate gyrus. It plays a large role in attention, behavior, and emotion. When looking at individuals with ADD through MRI scans, it was found that this area of the brain is much less active than people without ADD.

10. May Be Suffering From Sleep Disorders

For individuals with ADD, falling asleep easily, then staying asleep can be a constant battle. This is often due to both mental and physical restlessness. As we know, not getting enough sleep is associated with many negative effects. Individuals with ADD already lack of focus. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis only exacerbates symptoms.

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