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The Downside of the ADHD Mind

Avalanche WarningI’ve been talking about the upside a lot – and I think it’s important for friends, family and coworkers to all realize there is a MAJOR upside.  There is also something that I think a lot of people would benefit from understanding, in terms of the downside.  And if people did, they could save a LOT of painful, ultimately pointless conversations and conflicts.

Just as the ADHD mind has the ability to go on and on, on positive subjects with new, creative, brilliant, juicy ideas…  the opposite can unfortunately happen as well.  If you aren’t careful and don’t understand this, you can end up making the situation much worse by engaging the ADHD mind instead of finding a way to end the conflict (or save it for another time).  I find I am especially prone to this at certain times, so I follow some basic rules:

  • Don’t engage in important discussions when I am tired (generally after 9 pm).
  • Check and recheck any assumptions I might be making – and check them out with the other person.
  • Take a walk / do some kind of exercise if something seems to really be bothering me.  It helps refocus the mind and get the positive brain chemicals moving.
  • Be aware that small problems may often become big catastrophes in my mind if left unchecked.
  • Eat healthy, sleep, exercise, and if I feel a cycle starting, try to circumvent it with something positive.

These negative thoughts can really grab me, and create a story in my mind in minutes without me even realizing it.  A minor issue someone has can suddenly turn into a massive draw on my energy.  This is productive for neither me nor the other person.

So should you find yourself either with ADHD, or dealing with someone with ADHD, try to stop this thinking gently if you can.  Learn to recognize the signs, and share love with ADHD instead of criticism.  Let them understand that this, too, shall pass.

Creative Commons License photo credit: CraigMoulding

The Downside of the ADHD Mind

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. (2011). The Downside of the ADHD Mind. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Mar 2011
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