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What’s In A Name?

Oooooh, gimme some!

Why is ADHD called ADHD?

Consider this carefully.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. What do you notice about this? What do you feel about this name if you have ADHD?

I’ll tell you what I feel about it these days.

It’s wrong!

Oh, don’t make any mistake. Someone with this disorder presents these symptoms exactly. But the word “presents” must be considered here.

Someone with ADHD appears to be unable to focus on what they should be paying attention to. A perfectly acceptable description of our one major symptom.

But should our disorder be described by symptoms?

How else?

We actually don’t have a problem focusing on things that we are interested in. That’s because focus actually is easy for us when it comes to things that attract us. So attention deficit is an untruth in this disorder.

The truth is much more primitive.

We lack dopamine!

Now, dopamine is a chemical that the we’re supposed to be able to produce. We don’t do well at that apparently. But, when something excites us, we do better at it.

The corollary to that is when nothing excites us we do poorly at dopamine production.

So when you ask us to fill out a form, read some statistics, clean up our room, sort the books on the shelf alphabetically by author’s middle name, one of two things is going to happen. We’re going to go to sleep, the less likely of the two, or we’re going to wander off in search of dopamine producing excitement.

That’s the ticket!

So, if we’re going to talk about ADHD, let’s start with talking about what it isn’t. It’s not a curse. And it’s sure as hell not a gift.

It’s not a “different way of thinking” or a “brain designed to be a hunter gatherer” although it is a brain more suited to that than the neuro-typical brain is.

What it is …

It is a difference that is denoted by a lack of dopamine in our systems. And that is not normal and it is not good if we are to fit in in this world.

But knowing this is a good thing. Because knowing this means we can help ourselves fit in better.


Choose jobs that have structure but that also offer excitement. That means avoid jobs that suggest structure but in reality offer only routine.

When doing things that require concentration but that don’t offer excitement, take breaks to do physical things that produce dopamine. Get up and power walk around the room. Eat your lunch out on the sidewalk walking around the block. Set a timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off reset it, jump up and do pushups or sit ups as fast as you can for a minute of so.

And then get back to work.

And as to the name?

Maybe we really should be telling people we have Dopamine Deficit Disorder. DDD.

What do you think?

What’s In A Name?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2020). What’s In A Name?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Aug 2020
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