Being there for someone with ADD/ADHD can be tricky, and sometimes you might say the wrong thing.
It happens, but it's helpful to keep in mind that some questions or phrases (even well-meaning ones) might have a completely different meaning to someone living with ADHD.
We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community living with ADHD to tell us what they wish other people understood about the disorder; and it reminded us just how many myths and misconceptions are still out there.
To better understand the disorder, we'd suggest reading up on it. And in the meantime, please don't say any of these things to someone with ADHD...
1. "ADHD isn't a real disorder."
2. "Everyone gets distracted sometimes."
3. "OK but doesn't everyone think they have ADHD?"
4. "You just need to work harder."
5. "Why can't you just decide to focus like everyone else?"
6. "You just need to be a better listener."
7. "People with ADHD have an unfair advantage."
8. "Well, I would do better in school if I took ADHD medication, too."
9. "People with ADHD are just less intelligent or lazy."
10. "Well, if you really cared, you would've heard what I said the first time."
11. "You don't need extra time, you just need to work faster."
12. "ADHD is just an excuse for not doing well in school."
13. "Stop overreacting."
14. "How could you forget about something so important?"
15. "Did you forget to take your meds today?"
16. "I honestly like you better when you're off (or on) your meds."
17. "Remember that last project you started and never finished?"
18. "Omg it's like you have no filter."
19. "Wow, someone's spacey."
20. "Can I have some of your pills for my exam?"
21. "You know, you probably don't even need medication. Have you tried [insert non-medical opinion here]?"
22. "You seem way too organized or successful to have ADHD."
23. "You aren't even trying."
ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty sustaining attention, by lack of self-control, and by impaired working memory. It’s now more often classified in medical literature as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but lots of people (including some doctors) still refer to it as ADD.
Nearly 8 million adults in the U.S. suffer from ADHD. To learn more about the disorder and how to find support groups, check out the resources here at the National Resource Center for ADHD.