04. Wellness

Some Surprising Upsides of ADHD

November 20, 2018

In recent years Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been found to be remarkably common, with estimates that around 11% of American children suffer from the condition. There can be many challenges for living with this condition that affect most aspects of life. Without making light of these, there can also be surprising upsides for some people. Let’s get an idea of what the benefits might be.

The Lowdown on ADHD                                                                                

ADHD is a known medical condition that causes inattention (lack of mental focus), hyperactivity (lack of calmness), and impulsivity (tendency to make rash decisions or actions). It can also trigger high energy levels. Some of the common challenges of ADHD include difficulties with,

  • patience
  • self-control
  • completing tasks
  • listening to instructions
  • losing things or train of thought
  • being aware of others’ mindsets
  • talking over people

Brainwaves that are symptomatic of ADHD can be measured through EEG and qEEG scans, and treatment typically involves medication that changes those brain waves towards more normal levels of activity. However, Neurofeedback to promote self-awareness and mental control is also used as therapy, as well as other types of cognitive training interventions. Such treatments make ADHD manageable for most people, helping them concentrate on what they need to in daily life.

Personality Traits of ADHD

Every person is different, yet there are tendencies for people with ADHD to be inclined towards certain personality traits. These can actually be seen as strengths rather than drawbacks. Here are four such characteristics.

  • Hyperfocus - studies have shown that ADHD can actually lead to hyperfocused states of mind. This can result in becoming oblivious or not caring about anything else, except the one thing that matters at the moment. This can be a great advantage when surrounded by noise or under high levels of pressure, such as taking a penalty in soccer.
  • Energy – a sense of vim and get up and go often comes with the territory of hyperactivity. This can be a great plus in situations where people typically lack zeal or simply get fatigued. Sport is a great example where high energy can have a great impact.
  • Creativity - ADHD can bring a different perspective in life that others miss. In situations where thinking outside of the box or an experimental approach is favored, it can lead the way to unconventional solutions. As such, some people with ADHD find themselves particularly inventive or artistic.
  • Spontaneity - some people with ADHD are willing to just dive in where others dawdle. Socially they may be the icebreaker at parties, or in challenging tasks or projects, a lack of fear to get stuck-in can inspire others to overcome their doubts and translate to leadership. A willingness to try new things regardless, can also lead to a life richer in experience and variety.

Honing ADHD Strengths

The first step to harnessing the benefits of ADHD is recognizing them at an individual level. Positive feedback from friends and family can help people with ADHD realize they have abilities which are easily missed amidst all the difficulties. Once realized, teachers, counselors, therapists, coaches, and parents can all help in mentoring or providing opportunities to nurture these hidden talents.

To give a key career related example, a surprising number of professional athletes have ADHD, estimated to be double that of the general population of adults. As sports coaches tend to be part psychologists, it’s likely they play a big role in turning hyperfocus, energy, creativity, and spontaneity, into success on the field.

Over time ADHD personality traits can blossom from strength to strength, so lastly, let’s a look at some role models who have converted their behavioral challenges into success.

Famous People with ADHD

Let’s face it, most well-known people with ADHD are unlikely to shout it from the rooftops. Yet still, there are plenty of celebrities who have been clinically diagnosed with ADHD. Some of these include giant of science Albert Einstein, pop star Adam Levine, business tycoon Richard Branson, Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg, and the infamously creative artist Salvador Dali.

In professional sports, some iconic athletes include NBA stars Michael Jordon and Magic Johnson, NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, tennis supreme Serena Williams, prolific record-breaking swimmer Michel Phelps, and baseball legend Babe Ruth.

So although ADHD undoubtedly brings many challenges, it doesn’t necessarily put people at a disadvantage throughout their lives. In fact, there are many with ADHD who have reached the pinnacles of their fields, and many more will continue to do so.

Want to get more clued up ADHD? Then

Read our past blog.

5 Myths Exposed about ADHD

If you're still looking for more information on ADHD, then also check out this excellent educational resource by the team at Edu Birdie.

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