23 Things You Shouldn’t Say To Someone With ADHD News

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No, you can’t have any of our meds…

Being there for someone with ADD/ADHD can be
tricky, and sometimes you might say the wrong

It happens, but it’s helpful to keep in mind
that some questions or phrases (even
well-meaning ones) might have a completely
different meaning to someone living with ADHD.

We recently
asked members of the BuzzFeed
Community living with ADHD to tell us

what they wish other people understood about
the disorder; and it reminded us just how
many myths and misconceptions are still out

To better understand the disorder, we’d suggest

reading up on it. And in the meantime,
please don’t say any of these things to someone
with ADHD…

ID: 10291417

1. “ADHD
isn’t a real disorder.”

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“Every time I mention my ADD, someone says
something about it not being real, everyone
struggling with things, or it not being a big
deal. If someone opens up to you about
themselves, you have no right to tell them that
they are wrong.”


ID: 10291639

“Everyone gets distracted sometimes.”

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“ADHD is so much more than just ‘getting
distracted sometimes’ and it’s frustrating when
people assume that. Only we truly understand
what it’s like to live with ADHD.”


ID: 10291757

3. “OK
but doesn’t everyone think they have ADHD?”

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“ADHD is real and you should have a real
diagnostic test and not tell people you have it
because of an online test you took.”


ID: 10291652

4. “You
just need to work harder.”

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“I have ADHD and I have to work twice as hard
as everyone else yet I’m still considered


ID: 10291647

5. “Why
can’t you just decide to focus like everyone

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“I can’t control this no matter how hard I try
or truly wish to.”


ID: 10291828

6. “You
just need to be a better listener.”

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“I’m so tired of always hearing ‘you should
listen better… if you were listening you would
know… you obviously don’t care or you would
have listened.’ I’m aware, but the constant
reminders are like being slapped over and over

—Abraham Knoff, Facebook

ID: 10291456

“People with ADHD have an unfair advantage.”

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“People act like it’s some sort of advantage I
have over them. What I want people to know is
that medication allows me to function like
them. I don’t have any advantage. And even with
medicine, I still have to use my own self
control. It’s very easy for me to focus on the
wrong thing. I could have a pile of homework,
and end up cleaning my entire room instead.”


ID: 10291538

8. “Well,
I would be do better in school if I took ADHD
medication, too.”

"Well, I would be do better in school if I took ADHD medication, too."

View this image ›

ABC / Via giphy

“My medication doesn’t make me smart. I am the
one that is smart. My medication helps me
perform up to my potential and creates an even
playing field. You taking ADHD medication is
unfair, and quite frankly disrespectful. It
doesn’t exist to give you an extra advantage,
it exists to treat the people who need it to
function normally.”


ID: 10291568

“People with ADHD are just less intelligent or

"People with ADHD are just less intelligent or lazy."

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“ADHD has had a significant impact on my life.
I was not lazy, I was not stupid, I was not
reckless, or immature. I needed help. And I
wish people would try to understand that.”


ID: 10291759

“Well, if you really cared, you would’ve heard
what I said the first time.”

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“I often have to ask for clarification on
things to make sure that I heard it correctly
and remember. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t
listening or don’t care about what you’re


ID: 10291460

11. “You
don’t need extra time, you just need to work

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“ADHD can be extremely overwhelming. It takes
forever to get just one thing done and you
constantly feel like there isn’t enough time in
the day. But no one understands this and they
wonder why you’re so slow at everything or how
they finished ages ago and you’re only halfway
through. Obviously if I could work faster I
would. I never asked to be this way!”


ID: 10292555

12. “ADHD
is just an excuse for not doing well in

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“It’s also not something that just affects
school, it’s something that affects your entire
life in making decisions, completing tasks, and
simple every day things.”


ID: 10291557

13. “Stop

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“I wish people understood my overreactions.
Having a breakdown because my room is a mess is
something I can’t help. I understand that I
overreact but it feels very real and rational
to me.”


ID: 10291512

14. “How
could you forget about something so important?”

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“I wish that people understood how much it
hurts receiving judgement from others when I am
forgetful. I really am trying my best to
remember, there are just times that I
physically can’t.”


ID: 10291707

15. “Did
you forget to take your meds today?”

"Did you forget to take your meds today?"

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“Asking someone with ADHD if they ‘forgot to
take their meds’ just because they are excited
or energized is a total invasion of privacy and
actually extremely degrading. Like I can’t be
excited without you assuming it’s just my


ID: 10291722

16. “I
honestly like you better when you’re off (or
on) your meds.”

"I honestly like you better when you're off (or on) your meds."

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“Nothing hurts me more then people telling me
they like me better on or off my medication.
There’s medicated me and non-medicated me. I
love myself but I respect medicated me because
that’s the version of me who focuses on my
future and my grades. Don’t tell me you don’t
like me on my medication. It’s like telling me
you don’t like the version on me striving for


ID: 10291572

“Remember that last project you started and
never finished?”

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“When I get an idea or want to try something
new and creative, I’m faced with an eye roll
and ‘remember the last thing you tried’ speech.
There’s no understanding that being creative is
like therapy for me. It’s a way to channel my
frustration and excessive thoughts into
something useful or positive.”

—Lindsay Dufour, Faceboook

ID: 10291523

18. “Omg
it’s like you have no filter.”

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“My ADHD makes it so a lot of the time I really
don’t have the ability to filter my thoughts
before they come out of my mouth. I’ve hurt the
feelings of a lot of people I love because of
my inability to control the impulse to speak. I
hate it.”


ID: 10292420

19. “Wow,
someone’s spacey.”

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“It can be a struggle just to pay attention
during a conversation or stop myself from
interrupting because I just remembered
something from a topic we stopped talking about
five minutes ago. But when I can’t stop myself
from interrupting or letting my mind wander
mid-conversation, I just come off as rude which
is so frustrating. Even when I try, sometimes I
can’t help it.”

—Mich Elle, via gmail

ID: 10398728

20. “Can
I have some of your pills for my exam?”

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“I wish people wouldn’t ask me for some of my
medication around finals and midterms. They
always say ‘I have trouble focusing on
studying’ to which I respond, ‘I’m having
trouble focusing on this conversation.’”


ID: 10400134

21. “You
know, you probably don’t even need medication.
Have you tried [insert non-medical opinion

"You know, you probably don't even need medication. Have you tried [insert non-medical opinion here]?"

View this image ›

“People also think that they can tell me
whether or not I should medicate. I hate it
when people suggest a solution when it’s none
of their business.”


ID: 10291683

22. “You
seem way too organized or successful to have

"You seem way too organized or successful to have ADHD."

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“I wish people knew that just because I ‘appear
to have it together’ doesn’t mean that I don’t
still struggle.”


ID: 10291785

23. “You
aren’t even trying.”

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“One of the most difficult parts is dealing
with people’s assumptions that you’re just not
trying. Especially when you start believing it

—Emma Rubenstein, Facebook

ID: 10292393

ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder
characterized by difficulty sustaining
attention, by lack of self-control, and by
impaired working memory. It’s now more often
classified in medical literature as attention
deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but lots
of people (including some doctors) still refer
to it as ADD.

8 million adults in the U.S. suffer from
ADHD. To learn more about the disorder and how
to find support groups, check out the resources
here at
the National
Resource Center for ADHD.

ID: 10400007

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ID: 10404905

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