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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that makes it difficult to concentrate, stay organized, or control impulsive behavior. It’s most often diagnosed in children but also affects millions of adults. (Check out this infographic for more on ADHD by the numbers.)
Because ADHD can be difficult to diagnose, there are tons of misconceptions about what it is and what it’s actually like to live with ADHD. Some people may even doubt that ADHD is a real condition. We’ve rounded up the best videos on ADHD to show that not only is ADHD real, but there’s a lot to learn from those living with and managing ADHD daily.
10 Things Only People with Attention Problems Understand
Everyone occasionally feels disorganized and forgetful, but having ADHD takes feeling scattered to an entirely different level. This BuzzFeed video humorously reviews 10 behaviors commonly known to people with ADHD, like starting impulsive projects, misplacing everything, becoming overly focused when your medication kicks in, and swallowing your rage when a friend says, “I think I’m a little ADHD.” If you “know that feel,” this one’s for you.
ADHD Sucks, But Not Really
Salif Mahamane, a doctoral student at Utah State University, mixes personal experience with scientific evidence in this TEDx Talk on the silver lining of ADHD. Salif draws on research findings and evolutionary theory (like why involuntary attention actually makes you a “hunter-gatherer badass”) to reframe ADHD and highlight the tools it offers in the modern world, like natural brainstorming ability, moving outside your comfort zone, and resiliency.
What It's Like Living with ADHD
A segment from Katie Couric’s talk show, this clip focuses on what it’s like to be one of the estimated 10 million adults living with ADHD. Guests Jennifer and Steve share their experiences being diagnosed with ADHD as adults, explain how having ADHD has affected their relationships with their families, and chat with Dr. Edward M. Hallowell about the realities of life with ADHD.
The “Unofficial” ADHD Test for Adults
TotallyADD.com mixes humor with fact in this informational purposes-only quiz about ADHD. If you’re curious or think you might have ADHD, play along and keep track of your points — the more points you have, the more likely it is you may have ADHD. The quiz draws on behaviors common to those with ADHD, like wavering attention and fidgeting, as well as things you may never have thought of as related to ADHD, like sensory regulation and self-assessment. Learn something new from the quiz? Give yourself a point.
Undiagnosed in Millions, Do You Have it? Cause/Action
This TEDx Talk by Alan Brown focuses not only on the high rate of undiagnosed ADHD in adults, but also on the social consequences of undiagnosed ADHD. Alan speaks from personal experience, having been diagnosed as an adult, and draws on statistics to highlight the connections between undiagnosed adult ADHD and criminal behavior, drug abuse, and depression.
In this BuzzFeed video, young adults diagnosed with ADHD as children reflect on what it was like to be a kid with ADHD. Responses to questions like “How did you behave at school?” and “How do you treat your ADHD?” are illustrated by colorful construction paper animations. By highlighting a range of experiences, the video demonstrates again that ADHD looks different in every person.
ADHD: Setting the Record Straight
DNews anchor Trace Dominguez sets the record straight in this informative video on the history of ADHD. Dominguez tracks medical evidence of behavior similar to ADHD all the way back to a Scottish medical article published in 1798. The video also covers different types of ADHD, differences in diagnosis and medication rates of boys and girls, and what Ritalin actually does. It’s a fascinating history lesson for anyone affected by or curious about ADHD.
What Is ADHD? | Child Psychology
In this quick clip from Howcast.com, clinical psychologist Dr. Kimberly Williams briefly explains the occurrence and diagnosis rates of ADHD in children. She outlines common symptoms of ADHD as well as subtypes. This straightforward primer on ADHD is ideal for any parent wondering if their child has ADHD. Of course, for a diagnosis parents should contact a clinical professional.
Jack and Jill Have ADHD
An animated short from TeenMentalHealth.org, this video offers a “fractured fairy tale” take on the classic Jack and Jill. In this version, Jack and Jill have ADHD and have to work with their symptoms to bring water back to their town’s well. Produced by the British Columbia Ministry of Health, this cute cartoon has lessons for both kids and parents about teamwork, understanding, and believing in oneself.
How Do the Symptoms of ADHD Change as Children Get Older?
As ADHD is a chronic condition and most often diagnosed in kids, you may wonder how ADHD changes as you get older. Dr. Jeffrey Halperin, a professor of psychology, addresses a few of the ways ADHD changes over time in this clip from the Child Mind Institute. For instance, hyperactivity may wane in teenagers while impulsivity becomes a bigger issue. In adults, inattention and disorganization may become barriers. This brief overview is a great starting point for anyone wondering about getting older with ADHD.
ADHD Classroom Strategies
Children with ADHD may face particular challenges in the classroom. These challenges can be reduced through understanding, cooperation between teachers and parents, and classroom management strategies. This video from insideADHD.org features a conversation between Dr. Jonah Bromberg and elementary school teacher Jon Weinberger and offers several classroom strategies for teachers. Strategies like deliberate seating charts and having fidget toys available are balanced with tips for effective teaching, like not letting tools become distractions.
What Having ADD/ADHD Feels Like: Expectations vs. Reality
YouTube blogger Ally Hardesty shares her personal experience managing ADHD in this tell-all video. Ally covers having anxiety in high school and dealing with people thinking you’re stupid because of ADHD; what forgetting or going off your medication feels like; becoming aware of how ADHD affects your body; and the perils of driving with ADHD. Her openness and sense of humor make watching this video feel like chatting with a friend. Be sure to check out part 2 of this video as well, published earlier this year.
11 Things You Should Never Say to People with ADHD and Why
We’ve all seen listicles of “what not to say” — they exist for myriad conditions and identities — but sometimes we need a little more explanation to understand why. YouTube blogger JustMissJenn does just that in this video, based on a BuzzFeed article of (almost) the same name. Jenn reviews unhelpful comments like “Did you take your meds today?” and explains, with a dash of personal experience, why such comments are harmful. If you don’t have ADHD, this video is for you.
What Happened When I Stopped Taking My Medication
There are many treatment options for ADHD, one of which is medication. While not right for everyone, medication is an indispensable part of managing ADHD. In this video, Jessica (the brain behind YouTube channel “How to ADHD”) describes what happened when she stopped taking her medication due to a health insurance snafu. She addresses the alternative strategies she uses, like meditation and making to-do lists, to get through her day. Jessica speaks frankly about the stigma and shame around taking medication for mental illness. This video is ideal for anyone worried about taking medication for ADHD, or anyone in the ADHD community at large.
Kristen Berta is a doctoral candidate in Communication at the University of Washington, where she researches the intersections of technology, social support, and sexual assault disclosure. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an educator and activist in the movement to end violence against women. She currently lives in the Bay Area and enjoys gardening and cooking elaborate vegetarian meals in her spare time.