My Life in a.d.H.D.

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The term is thrown around a lot these days. I hear things such as, “Oh my, I am so fidgety today I must have ADHD,” almost daily. However, ADHD is much more complex than just being a “spaz”. Personally, I was diagnosed with ADHD at five years old, and have experienced almost everything the disorder has to offer. Learning about the lesser known aspects of ADHD is so important, and can greatly help one in understanding the behavior of those with ADHD.



Hypersensitivity is when someone reacts negatively to an overwhelming load of information at once, whether that be noise, emotions, or sensory input. For me, when too many things are happening at once or things are too loud, and just simply too much I go into sensory overload, getting really snappy and irritated, my head starts twitching and my whole body starts shaking. Some examples of things that have set me & others I know with ADHD off include pep rallies, subwoofers in a car, or even the scratch of a shirt tag. Also, unexpected physical touch from someone unfamiliar can heighten these experiences, such as a pat on the shoulder from someone you just met. What do we learn from this? Keep an eye on your ADHD friends in situations like this! Notice their behavior & reactions, and try and help them avoid or leave these situations when they present themselves! And try not to take anything they say or do during times like these too seriously, they might be lashing out in confusion!



Okay I know that’s a really long phrase, but let me break it down. As defined by William Dodson MD, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is, “An extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception—not necessarily the reality—that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in their life.” Basically, in people with ADHD, it can make it harder to read social cues in some cases. Something as simple as a period at the end of a text, or a poor choice of words can send people with RSD into a spiral of reactive thoughts: they must hate me, I did something wrong, they must find me so annoying, etc. Almost 100% of people diagnosed with ADHD have experienced some instance of rejection sensitivity. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent this, but trying to be understanding when a friend with ADHD asks if you are mad at them excessively, or giving random reassurance from time to time can go a long way.



Object permanence is defined as the ability to understand that objects still exist when they are not in one’s direct line of sight, or cannot be sensed at that particular moment. This may seem like a rudimentary skill, but for individuals with ADHD this can be a serious issue. Low object permanence makes it so easy to lose anything and everything. If something is not currently in front of you or taking up your full attention, it is almost as if it doesn’t exist. This doesn’t only apply to physical objects, either. Low object permanence can also negatively affect personal relationships. If I haven’t seen a friend in awhile, it is almost as if they disappear from my mind entirely. There isn’t an exact explanation as to why people with ADHD experience this so often, but it has been observed in many who were diagnosed.



While there are other drugs to help with ADHD (focalin, vyvanse, etc.) Adderall is the only one I have taken extensively and have knowledge of, so it is the only one I feel equipped to speak on!



Boy oh boy, do I know this one well. Insomnia is a long term side effect of Adderall. As most know, insomnia makes it difficult to fall asleep, and can lead to sleep deprivation.



This is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. Basically, I don’t really remember the last time I was truly hungry. I constantly have to be reminded to eat by those around me, because I have almost zero appetite. Why does this happen? Expert Madeline Policastro writes, “Since adderall increases the amount of dopamine released in the brain and dopamine helps send signals when the body is satisfied from food, the adderall is sending messages to the body [that it] is full when it actually is not.”


It is vital to be informed of these things if you have a loved one with ADHD! Understanding us and helping us is essential to maintaining a close relationship.