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The Online Discussions Around ADHD

Also at the new Gawker, James Greig writes that while he’s relieved to have been recently diagnosed with ADHD, he’s kind of annoyed by the online discussions around ADHD. “What’s really striking is the extent to which a disorder associated with garrulousness and substance abuse has been captured so utterly by nerds. To what neurodivergent urges would I now be subjected? Would I be tempted to start drawing pastel-colored webcomics about buying too many notebooks or set up a TikTok account with my boyfriend in which he is assigned the role of baffled but tolerant neurotypical and I am essentially a child? […] I didn’t want to do any of those things, but I did start to consider what we are telling ourselves—and one another—about ADHD.” It reminds me the online discourse a generation ago about what was then called Asperger’s, which was also framed in nerd-superpower terms (and also just as classist).

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2 Comments

  1. Jax

    I found most of his essay interesting, amusing. But this sentence bewildered me a bit:

    “Even if you think ADHD is a made-up diagnosis or really a symptom of neoliberal malaise, surely it just stands to reason that people who have difficulties with impulsivity and concentration, whatever the underlying reason, would have a hard time in economies like Britain and the U.S. Hostility and suspicion towards pharmaceutical companies should be a given, and it’s worth bearing in mind that many of these influencers are pushing the exact same lines, from “taking meds is like wearing glasses for the first time” to the erroneous idea that you can’t get addicted if you have a legitimate diagnosis.”

    How is that idea erroneous? I’ve never heard or read anything in the medical/science community that people properly diagnosed with ADHD can get addicted to stimulant ADHD medications. I think that’s what Greig is saying?
    Would love your thoughts.

    • I don’t know; he could be referring to the idea that you can’t get addicted to painkillers if you’re actually in pain–which is something I’ve seen referred to in chronic pain circles–rather than something ADHD-specific.

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