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5 Things ADHD Doesn’t Stand For

I’ve been blogging about ADHD for over a year, and I’m not sure I’ve ever written out the full name of the thing I’m blogging about. So for all I know, you could think I’m actually blogging about something totally different.

WrongTo clarify, then, ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. My apologies if you thought this blog was about something totally different, or if you’ve been reading my posts since November 2015 trying to figure out what this ADHD thing I always talk about is.

It’s just, typing out the full name of this condition is so much work – it’s exactly the kind of thing people like me put off indefinitely. I mean, there are four long words, a hyphen and a slash.

Anyway, while we’re in the business of clarifying things, I also want to point out that ADHD does not stand for any of the following:

  • Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder: Notice that in the correct name, “attention-deficit” and “hyperactivity” are separated by a slash, not an “and.” That’s because you don’t need to have both the attention deficit and the hyperactivity to have ADHD! One of them is good enough if you want to join our exclusive club.
  • Always distracted and hopelessly disordered: Contrary to popular belief, people with ADHD can focus. We can even hyperfocus. It’s just that our ability to control our focus is less consistent. And while we may have a disorder, we’re not hopelessly disordered – believe it or not, people with ADHD can live happy, fulfilling lives.
  • Amiable distributor of hard drugs: Don’t ask me for my Adderall.
  • Adults don’t have this disorder: While ADHD in children gets a lot of the media attention and adults often go undiagnosed, ADHD symptoms have a range of real consequences for adults at work, at home and in relationships.
  • Always down to heed details: OK, this one isn’t really clearing up a common misconception, but it’s worth pointing out anyway: the D in ADHD most definitely does not stand for detail-oriented.

Any other ideas on what ADHD doesn’t stand for? Feel free to add them (or ADD them) below.

Image: Flickr/Dennis Hill

5 Things ADHD Doesn’t Stand For

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). 5 Things ADHD Doesn’t Stand For. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Aug 2017
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