Source: Wikimedia Commons

Today’s technology makes it possible to access even the most minute pieces of information with great ease. The internet, an incredible invention for humanity, allows us to send, store, and transfer information globally. A recent example of this is the sudden increase in awareness about developmental disorders like ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder which has been making its rounds on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Unfortunately, with increased awareness come some downsides. With more people trying to cover the topic, there is an increase in false or misleading information available to people, leading the average neurotypical person into being convinced they have such a condition.

One of these false narratives which were started was the idea that ADHD is a sort of superpower for the people that have it.

The perception that ADHD is a sort of superpower is meant to be well-intentioned, combating the negative stigma around the condition. The media which supports this idea focuses on the potential strengths that ADHD may be accompanied by; creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and hyperfocus on tasks. However, while true, this is misleading and can create a warped perception of the ADHD mind.

ADHD is a serious condition that can cause significant impairment in multiple areas of life, including academic and occupational performance, relationships, and self-esteem. This cannot be ignored.

When looking deeper into the ‘superpowers’ people talk about, it is clear that they aren’t as super as first described. 

Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking

This characteristic arises from the idea that people with ADHD are divergent thinkers, being able to think of multiple concepts for a single topic. The ADHD mind tends to leap from one thought to another in rapid succession, a trait useful for creative purposes. However, this mental activity is often uncontrollable and can be detrimental, contributing to the attention deficit part of ADHD.

An example of this would be during a conversation. A person with ADHD might struggle to focus on what was being said, which could potentially lead to frustrations and arguments. 


People with ADHD sometimes go into a state known as hyperfocus. In this state, they solely focus on their current task, and it becomes near impossible to distract them. While it is understandable why people could envy this trait, the downsides of it are usually not covered.

When an ADHD person is hyper-focused they are near impossible to distract from anything, be it their own bodily needs like food and sleep or important obligations and responsibilities in their life. This can lead to neglecting basic self-care, like forgetting to eat, sleep, or hydrate properly. It can also lead to the person neglecting social relationships or professional obligations since they’re so engrossed in the task at hand.

Moreover, the ability to enter a state of hyperfocus is not always within the individual’s control, and it is often harder to enter this state for tasks that are perceived as boring or uninteresting. This can be particularly challenging in academic or professional settings where people need to concentrate on tasks that they might not find immediately rewarding.

With all of this in mind, does it still sound like a superpower?

Final thoughts

While it’s important to appreciate and promote the strengths that people with ADHD may have, it’s equally crucial to recognise and address the challenges they face due to their condition. The “ADHD as a superpower” narrative risks downplaying these challenges and may lead people to neglect or dismiss the need for evidence-based treatment and support.

It is ok and can be good to make light of such conditions, but it is always important to seek the help needed for people living with them. 

Published by JPaych

Freelance writer/Journalist writing about things I find interesting and want to talk about. Most of the times this is media related, but sometimes there is an exception.

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