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Can Having ADHD Change Your Politics?

If you live in the United States, you probably know that it’s midterm election season. If you don’t live in the United States… can I come join you?

Anyway, now is the time of year when ADHD Millennial announces its coveted political endorsements.

I VotedJust kidding.

The only advice I’m going to put in the 2018 ADHD Millennial Voter’s Guide for People With ADHD is (1) don’t forget that there’s an election on November 6 and (2) if you lost your vote-by-mail ballot, request another one.

Incidentally, both of these pieces of information were contained in the official materials I got from the Department of Elections, but I feel like they could have been written specifically for people with ADHD.

As far as who to vote for, I’m not going to touch that one with a ten-foot blog post. I did get to wondering, though, whether having ADHD can sway someone’s politics.

One reason this might be the case is because certain issues impact people with ADHD disproportionately. If you have ADHD, for example, there’s a good chance you’ve witnessed up close the absolute absurdity of the United States’s current health insurance system. There’s also a good chance that the idea of going back to a system where you can be denied coverage for preexisting conditions fills you with reasonable dread.

Healthcare is an area where candidates can and do have significant differences. Of course, I’m sure people with ADHD span the entire range of the political spectrum on this issue, but I can’t help but think that a fair number of ADHDers have had their politics influenced by firsthand experiences with the healthcare system.

There’s another, less tangible way, that I suspect ADHD can shape people’s political views. I believe that when you go through life with ADHD, it can make you stop and think about what it means to be marginalized, or to operate in a system that doesn’t really work for you. What I mean is that having ADHD can give you more appreciation than you’d otherwise have for the fact that things such as education and employment are influenced by factors outside your control.

To put that another way, it highlights that promoting “personal responsibility” is not the solution to all problems – after all, no matter how responsible you are, you can’t make your ADHD disappear.

That perspective is something less tangible, but it’s still something that might influence how someone with ADHD ultimately votes.

In the end, people with ADHD surely do vote all sorts of different ways, or not at all, or twice if they forget that they already voted. But I think it’s an interesting exercise to reflect on your experiences with ADHD and see whether there are any lessons you can apply to politics.

Image: Flickr/Bruce Charles

Can Having ADHD Change Your Politics?

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. (2018). Can Having ADHD Change Your Politics?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-millennial/2018/10/can-having-adhd-change-your-politics/

 

Last updated: 26 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Oct 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.