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ADHD Superthread repost 

Most people are under the impression ADHD is somehow a 'deficit of attention,' but it could equally and quite appropriately be framed as having higher than normal neurological requirements for stimuli.

When ADHD kids especially seem to bounce from subject to subject "mindlessly," what they're doing is not just randomly slopping through whatever without paying attention. They're running through lists of potentially stimulating subjects until they find one that suits their high requirements.

ADHD 

This isn't conscious, this is a literal description of how attention functions. Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake seem at the time of this writing to be the 'key' matters for ADHD treatment. They're responsible for continuing to focus on a particular subject, train of thought, etc. Reuptake is basically your brain clearing those used messaging molecules from your system. Too much reuptake and your chemical signals will be hampered. You get more from higher stimulation, that is stimulation.

ADHD people, then, require high degrees of stimulation, they require a sustained stimulus across time, because otherwise if some future' stimulus is not rewarding, ADHD people are 'time-blind,' not planners. Consider how readily people who are ADHD take up a subject like video games. Why is that? Because video games are very frequently designed to provide as much stimulation as they can manage at any given moment, both in terms of giving attention and, crucially, responses to input.

ADHD Superthread repost 

When ADHD kids are exposed to video games (or anything stimulating enough), assuming the game is decent enough, the kids seem to exhibit the exact opposite of attention deficit: they will pay inordinate amounts of attention to those video games, because those are the most stimulating things around, in fact, they are to the ADHD kids the only stimulating things around, so they have very little incentive to stop these behaviors.

Most everyone who spends enough time online or on a phone can empathize with this, even though they aren't necessarily ADHD otherwise, because things which are designed to be total attention vortices act a little bit even to normal people like 'ADHD simulators,' in the sense that they provide strong incentive to continue paying conscious attention to them and to spend time thinking about them and in that mode.

ADHD Superthread repost 

Naturally many of these people who do spend enough time online or on a phone are also ADHD, disproportionately so, because if it's an attention sink even for someone who isn't ADHD, you better believe it probably plays a very strong role in the lives of many people with ADHD, for whom these things are some of the only stable sources of dopamine and norepinephrine.

We can, then, establish that there is an overlap between ADHD and autism that is more than just some "coincidental" comorbidity. "Hyperfixation," long associated with autism spectrum diagnoses, is really the thing that characterizes ADHD, it's just seen from "the other direction." Hyperfixation is the turning of attention back to one stimulus continuously, repeatedly, habitually, whereas "attention deficit" is running through immediate stimuli until a suitable subject of fixation is found.

ADHD Superthread repost, meds mentioned here 

The mechanism behind medication for ADHD is one which addresses the shortage of dopamine and norepinephrine by preventing reuptake, thereby preventing the problem of low levels in the first place. The result is that, especially at first before the development of a tolerance, tasks "seem to do themselves," because instead of having to continue stimulation-seeking behaviors, the brain decides "oh, actually this is stimulating enough, I can keep doing this." It's automatic, it's not conscious.

In fact, ADHD itself totally debunks the notion that attention is a matter of conscious willpower. Attention is not something that we're capable of consciously 'paying' without serious training in the matter, it's not something you can just do, and that in itself is a matter of the stimulation provided by the behaviors that would increase it, so even there, the notion of what is 'conscious' is not particularly useful.

ADHD, meds 

Of course, if you go too far with stimulating meds, everything can end up registering as 'overstimulating,' and cause behaviors made to address stimulation which may be too much or distressing in its intensity. This looks as if it's "back to ADHD," although it's more that now instead of everything being 'too quiet to hear' so you're intently listening for some given loud sound (stimulating thought), everything is suddenly too loud and you're trying to avoid these and to find a quieter sound.

It's not actually the 'sharpness' of stimulation one time which qualifies as stimulating, but a regular 'supply' of stimulation over a sustained period of time.

If you're trying to teach an ADHD kid, they will need constant and reliable stimulation, that is, constant and reliable feedback for their behavior, every time, good, bad, or neutral. When this is provided, they will readily pick up on things as their peers do; ADHD has no correlation to any lack of 'intelligence' whatsoever.

ADHD Superthread repost, self-medication mention, mh- mention 

This also explains why people with ADHD as adults will tend to self-medicate if they aren't given the proper medication to treat it. If they aren't self-medicating with stimulants such as overcaffeinating, they will be taking something to treat the side effects of ADHD, which usually stem from getting constant feedback of one message: "You're lazy, pay attention!" It's an impossible demand to fulfill, so it's internalized as an innate flaw.

Because ADHD people will hear this practically wherever they go, that they are lazy, shiftless, unreliable, untrustworthy, incapable, intemperate, rude, totally impulsive, and generally "a hot mess" as low-stimulation tasks go undone, that message fulfills the requirements for sustained stimulation, so just about every ADHD person internalizes this, because unless you're a hermit, you'll hear it from everyone.

ADHD Superthread repost 

So, understand that ADHD people are incapable of complying with your demand for them to pay attention. They may seem for a second like they're trying, because they are trying, but they will fail because it's like trying to flex your brain or something, it's an organ, not a muscle, you can't 'flex' it like you can with a muscle, and focusing as a skill is generally not taught (see my pinned post on this for more). This isn't something you can will.

By the way, normal, non-ADHD people are also totally incapable of complying with your demand for them to pay attention, it's just that you never really demand that they do at anywhere near the rate an ADHD person will hear it, either from others, or eventually from themselves because they internalize it. Unless you are at the level of, say, a monk, you will not have sufficient power of conscious attention to 'will' attention onto some subject or another.

ADHD Superthread repost 

We are really nowhere near able to grapple with the actual implications of ADHD, because ADHD is so ceaseless in its hampering of a person's ability to fit into the product-oriented mentality a capitalist society not just idealizes, but demands of its workers. Because ADHD looks as if it is a series of individual behaviors or "poor choices," and because capitalist societies have a morbid habit of pretending to be "meritocracies" (something they cannot be), ADHD ends up being hand-waved away.

ADHD Superthread repost end 

Because you don't see the immediate consequences as symptoms of ADHD, because they constantly look like just poor decision-making or impulsive behaviors, ADHD gets swept under the rug as somehow overblown, overmedicated (and somehow the people saying this always propose basically undermedicating everyone), a childhood disorder (because ADHD adults tend not to be physically 'ADD' like ADHD kids are, for various reasons), or else not really a big deal, even as it can and does ruin lives.

By "it can and does ruin lives," I mean "the demands placed on ADHD people by capitalist society are especially difficult for ADHD people to meet," and not that ADHD itself is somehow bad.

ADHD Superthread repost end 

@Colophonscrawl this is a fucking phenomenal thread jesus christ

ADHD Superthread repost end 

@myconidiosyncrasy Thank you! I'm glad you think so!

ADHD Superthread repost end 

@Colophonscrawl This thread is great. Thank you.

ADHD Superthread repost end 

@kescher @Colophonscrawl the more i think abt it now the more i am feeling like i kind of might have been subconsciously bullying myself for like half of my life, so thanks for reminding me of some stuff i probably should have kept in mind more actively

ADHD Superthread repost 

@Colophonscrawl is your post available by any chance? Kind of fishing for stuff I can actually Do to get by in whatever this time is we're living in...

In any case, thanks for reposting this. I feel like I understand other people a lot more now, and maybe possibly myself

ADHD Superthread repost 

@lunchgirl Glad you liked it! Here is the focusing guide, although it's really more like an introduction to techniques of focusing than a guide to be repeated constantly: wordsmith.social/colophonscraw

ADHD Superthread repost, self-medication mention, mh- mention 

@Colophonscrawl I think lots of people also ‘self medicate’ with food. Binge eating disorder is a really common comorbidity and lots of ADHD folk don’t seem to have an off switch when unmedicated,

ADHD Superthread repost, ed mention, serious sizeism mention, self-medication mention, mh- mention 

@Molly A combination of factors play into that. First, because stimulants so suppress the appetite, and are daily for people with ADHD who are medicated, you're quite correct that the off switch naturally is lost when unmedicated, at least for, ime, a week or two after losing medication (I only had a long-term experiment with this once when I had to go off during recovery from surgery). Second, because it's so comorbid with a circadian rhythm disorder compounded by stimulants making sleep difficult, and because most eating tends to be done later when medication wears off, both eating and weight gain tend to be more conspicuous to others, combined with the negative stigma attached. This also compounds with the image of ADHD people as "lazy" and generally as "incompetent" or "weak-willed," which certainly I've run into over the course of my life both in terms of my ADHD and my weight.

ADHD Superthread repost, ed mention, serious sizeism mention, self-medication mention, mh- mention 

@Colophonscrawl that’s interesting and valid, but I was diagnosed in my late 30s. I started stimulants and discovered that suddenly it gave me an off switch. I’d never really had one and never understood before that my ability to say no to food might be impaired by my brain chemistry. 🤯

ADHD Superthread repost, ed mention, serious sizeism mention, self-medication mention, mh- mention 

@Colophonscrawl also, sleep is hard but again my sleep was fairly disordered (or delayed phase at least) prior to my starting stimulants. Admittedly, having children didn’t help with that.

re: ADHD Superthread repost 

@Colophonscrawl One time I had someone explain it to me that often times, we (ADHD people) just process things so fast that we are left with too much "empty time" which causes our minds to wander and stop paying attention. It's not that we don't have enough attention for what is happening, it's that it's going at an inadequate pace and we just get distracted because of it.

ADHD Superthread repost 

@Colophonscrawl Hmm. Maybe I do . . . .

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