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Texting and ADHD: A Major Problem Facing Youth and Adults

Mobile Phones And AbercrombieMy problem with texting is ongoing.  It scares me, because I KNOW it’s not good for me yet I still do it.  It is embarrassing and humiliating and my lack of management is getting me very down.  Even with all of my education and experience and knowledge of addictions, I continue to treat it as something I can control, instead of understanding the chemical reactions in my brain that are producing the ‘high’ that keep me at it.

My guess is it’s the ADHD, and as much as we want to ‘control’ our impulsiveness we still have our brain chemistry that overturns our objectivity for immediate gratification.  I’m now reading that over 50% of all kids text, and about 10% send over 100 messages a day.  While it makes me feel a little better about my own habit, it seriously concerns me as kids are missing out on learning how to effectively communicate in person and are also setting themselves up for addictive behaviors.

Getting a message produces a change in brain chemistry for many, or a ‘high.’  The scarier thing about texting is this high is often intermittently reinforced, which means that it is a behavior harder to extinguish than something that has a regular reinforcement schedule.  It seems to me we are setting our children up for addictive type behaviors at a younger age by introducing them to texting and those with ADHD are especially at risk, as they are especially prone to act on impulsivity.

Addictions often start as we attempt to escape feelings.  Texting allows us to escape those feelings, say things we might not otherwise say in person, and get around having to deal directly with relationships.  While it may save time, be easy, and have benefits, more and more I am having a hard time understanding how these benefits outweigh the disadvantages on our kids and society as a whole.

Like I said, I’ve tried a number of strategies for myself; limiting my text allotments, discussing in therapy, cutting off text allotments, telling others about my problem, and doing both a reward and punishment system.  But to no avail.  So I am going back to the old cell phone, where in order to send a text I would have to push a button four times.  Thanks to my ADHD, a task with even that kind of time pause makes my impulsivity less of an issue, therefore making it a lot less likely that I will succumb to the compulsion of getting my message out immediately.

Does anyone else see the seriousness of this issue?  Do you have strategies in place to help control texting?  How are you monitoring your children’s texting?

Creative Commons License photo credit: garryknight

Texting and ADHD: A Major Problem Facing Youth and Adults

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2010). Texting and ADHD: A Major Problem Facing Youth and Adults. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Aug 2010
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