You don’t have ADD.

Via on Jul 14, 2011

Or, ADHD. Neither do I.

[Some of our friends, as shown below, do suffer from a very real ADHD or ADD. But when you or I are distracted or high off coffee or multi-tasking, that doesn't mean we're in the same boat as those who have to deal with the real thing]

So stop slinging the term around like you’re talking about getting a cold or the weather.

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18 Responses to “You don’t have ADD.”

  1. MojaveMama says:

    This is neither funny nor accurate. How very disappointing to see this on EJ.

  2. Susie says:

    I agree…I usually really enjoy reading EJ and this article really makes me loose some respect for EJ and saddens me that writers from there have that misinformed view. :(

  3. DLR says:

    I agree with the above comments. This is totally ignorant and misinformed. As someone who does have ADHD and is desperately trying to study for law exams, I know exactly what it means to want to pay attention but not be able to focus for more than 30 minutes at a time. I'm 40 years old and am not "slinging" this term around. For me it makes daily life very difficult. I thought this magazine was about demonstrating compassion for people, not for slinging smug, holier-than-thou digs at people with challenges. To me, you may have well have suggested that people with Down's Syndrome are really just faking it and using the label to their advantage. EJ, this is beneath you.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Look at the diagram, again. This is not about you. This is about the 99% of us who do sling the term around. It's a very real thing. As I've commented elsewhere:

      I think you might be missing the point of the above.

      The above is distinguishing between those who do have ADHD and those who use it as a lifestyle expression, meaning "you/I are distracted." This is not about anyone faking anything. This is about parents not prescribing ritalin as if it were candy, or friends of ours not using the term that describes a very real condition…well, just see Antoinette's comment below. ~ W.

      • barefootbhakti says:

        More than 1% of the population have ADD/ADHD. I understand your frustration with people using the term as a lifestyle expression – and the point of your piece – but for someone who actually does have ADD, this comes across as a pretty thoughtless post.

    • NotSoSure says:

      The "dig" is not at people who genuinely suffer from ADHD. The "dig" is at people who throw the term around with no regard as to what it really means to have ADHD.

  4. Antoinette says:

    I have heard many folks who have self diagnosed themselves throw this term around like it was the same as having a headache, not unlike how my teen daughter and her friends called everything ‘retarded’ or ‘gay’ for a while. What if every time someone lashed out uncontrollably they threw the term ‘autistic’ around as if it was something that comes and goes.

    I think there’s a lot of ignorance with regard to this condition, maybe awareness of what it is or isn’t won’t be such a bad thing?

  5. Carol Horton Carol Horton says:

    I was very resistant to believing that ADD/ADHD refers to a real difference in brain functioning as opposed to a social trend. Now, I am completely convinced it is in fact quite real. I don't think that we understand everything that we put into that category very well, and I also believe that it may be wildly over-diagnosed among young energetic boys, but it is nonetheless real. It's also really important for people who have it to be able to recognize that and work with it. Otherwise they are at huge risk of unjustly labeling themselves "stupid" when they may in fact be brilliant – just not able to focus in the ways that are, for example, required in many school situations. I know people who have suffered from this misperception literally most of their lives and it is a tragedy. So while I understand the skepticism because I used to have it myself, I now really urge you to recognize that this sort of thing is not only NOT compassionate, but can be actively harmful.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Not sure what the objection is here. Again, as I commented above:

      The above is distinguishing between those who do have ADHD and those who use it as a lifestyle expression, meaning "you/I are distracted." This is not about anyone faking anything. This is about parents not prescribing ritalin as if it were candy, or friends of ours not using the term that describes a very real condition…well, just see Antoinette's comment below. ~ W.

  6. honeybadger68 says:

    I totally get where EJ is going with this, unlike many of the posters here. People abuse the term and self-diagnose themselves with a very real condition that they don't actually have…and those who DO have true, bona fide cases of ADD/ADHD should be offended by those who really don't but throw the term around as an excuse.

    That said, the tone of the EJ "article" ("So stop slinging the term around like you’re talking about getting a cold or the weather") is far from compassionate or informative. It comes across as smug and judgmental, and missed an opportunity to be truly informative and educational.

  7. earthenfiend18 says:

    Initial comments make me wonder…. is part of Satya not being offended when you hear the truth?

  8. Bravo. I am so tired of western medicine pushing ADD on any and all people who are slightly more energetic than average. We have got to stop over-medicating people who don't truly need it.

  9. Veronika says:

    I only heard about ADD maybe twice in my life before I met group of 20 young American college students, where 19 of them used Aderol on regular bases. I am from Europe, I also study university and never used such a drug nor heard about people around me using it. Now I met people who are on Aderol to concentrate to study and then take Zenex so they can relax and sleep in the night.
    I think medication of ADD really got out of hand and these young people take this drug to keep up with the rest of the classmates, to graduate among the best in their class, to get great demanding jobs, where they will have to keep taking madication to keep up. They all are being medicated to be "equal, better, excellent". But what might be the real results of such an extensive medication? Overstretching their strenghts over years leading to exhaustion? Will they keep on excelling in their workplace and die young exhausted?
    Isn't there any other way how to live happy and sucessfull life without drugs?

  10. elephantjournal says:

    It's pretty universal among my friends, and acquaintances. It is, as someone said, as common and offensive and incorrect as saying things are "gay" once was. The campaign to get teens to stop saying "gay" to mean "stupid" or "uncool" was effective. ~ W.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Wha-hunh? To rephrase: A year ago, a campaign to get teens to stop saying "that's so gay" when they meant "uncool" or "stupid" was effective. Why don't we do the same for "you're so ADD" or "ADHD." After all, some of us really suffer from the real thing. ~ W.

  12. Catherine says:

    To those of us who have struggled for a lifetime of being called a host of inaccurate, offensive, and insulting adjectives, it doesn't "only" mean anything. It's another comment blowing it off. Are you ADHD? If not, then I can see how you might not get it. If you are, then congratulations on not letting yourself attach to words!

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