The Positive Side of ADHD
The three major symptoms of ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention can create many problems in people’s lives. They can interfere with relationships, school and work. But there are also many positive characteristics of adult ADD/ADHD.
Hyperactivity is most often described as “feeling as if driven by a motor.” It creates the inability to sit still for long periods. Children with hyperactivity are in constant motion, usually running or “bouncing” from one activity to another. Many times this will subside in adolescence and adulthood, but for most people, hyperactivity is still present. Maybe it has decreased to a feeling of restlessness or being fidgety. Or maybe adults have better learned to manage it in daily life. Hyperactivity, however, is also seen as a positive for adults. Some indicate they enjoy the endless energy and the ability to accomplish more and work longer hours. They prefer getting up and doing things rather than sitting in front of a television.
Impulsiveness is acting without thinking. It is rushing ahead without slowing down to think about the consequences of our actions. Children and teens often get into much trouble for their impulsive actions. Impulsiveness is also seen in blurting out answers or interrupting others while they are talking. Adding structure to our lives, and the daily lives of our children, help to reign in our carelessness. But spontaneity is also important. Allowing ourselves to be unpredictable adds variety to life. As adults, sometimes our lives become too structured. We often leave for work early in the morning and once we arrive home our evenings are filled with making dinner, helping with homework, household chores. We sometimes forget the pleasure of having the unexpected happen. Giving in to impulsiveness, at times, can create a more exciting and adventurous life. It can provide us with a different perspective on our problems and allow our minds to find creative solutions to what may have seemed impossible before. Impulsiveness can help to foster creativity.
Inattention, being easily distracted and not completing tasks are often some of the major complaints of both children and adults with ADD/ADHD. Many times these traits lead to uncompleted homework, lost items, and half finished projects. In life, we must learn to finish what we have started. We need to be able to focus on the task at hand to accomplish our goals. But having the ability to move from one task to another also has benefits. Allowing ourselves to experience many things adds to our perspective on life. It allows us to find what we do enjoy. It allows us to search for our interests and our passions. Although I do not condone teaching children to stop what they are doing as soon as their interest wanes, providing them with varied activities may help them determine what direction they want their lives to take. Allowing ourselves to experience many different things will increase our awareness of who we are and what we want to accomplish.
In addition to the main symptoms, some other positive traits of ADD/ADHD are included below. Several years ago, I took an informal survey of 50 adults, asking what their favorite ADD/ADHD characteristic was.
Their top ten answers are as follows (in no particular order):
- Endless Energy
- Energy and hyperfocus combined
- Great imagination
- Ahead of “establishment” thinking
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Great passion for interests
So go ahead, enjoy your life, enjoy your ADHD and live life to it’s fullest.