More than 15 million American children and adults have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are three varieties of the disorder, characterized by having a tendency for impulsivity, hyperactivity, or both.
For those who don't have ADHD, it can be a bit difficult to understand how it feels to be overstimulated all the time. A car door slamming down the street, an itchy shirt tag, or getting a bit chilly can be a mild annoyance for most, but people with ADHD are acutely aware of them, to the point that it can derail whatever task they were trying to accomplish.
There are many different kinds of treatment options, including dietary, behavioral, and pharmaceutical, that help calm the mind down and make it easier to focus.
There are, of course, some who don't feel that ADHD is real disorder to begin with. Because the ADHD makes it harder for children to do things like sit still in class or pay attention while doing homework, critics say that it is placing a disorder on normal childhood disorders. While studying or taking tests isn't at the top of any child's list of preferred activities, those with ADHD desperately do wish they could sit still and fit in, rather than be singled out.
While there is a rumor going around that Dr. Leon Eisenberg, the first scientist to really study ADHD, "confessed on his deathbed that ADHD is a fictitious disease," that's a gross misinterpretation of his actual comments. In reality, Eisenberg wasn't convinced that there was a strong genetic component to ADHD, as other researchers have suggested.
Because this misinformation gets thrown around so frequently, it stigmatizes those who live with ADHD and may even prevent them from seeking the treatment they need to improve their quality of life.
In honor of their newly created Mental Health Week, which seeks to raise awareness and decrease the stigma of various mental illnesses, the staff over at BuzzFeed has made a video to explain what it's like living with the ADHD.
The three people in the video explain that they were all diagnosed in childhood and describe how the disorder has impacted their lives, even in adulthood. Though they don't all experience ADHD in the same way, there are striking similarities that everyone should hear:
Care about someone with ADHD? There are 15 things they want you to know.