Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Found a link to another article in the sidebar: Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Category or a Continuum? Genetic Analysis of a Large-Scale Twin Study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9183127/

Their conclusion: "These findings suggest that ADHD is best viewed as the extreme of a behavior that varies genetically throughout the entire population rather than as a disorder with discrete determinants."

As someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD, this seems like a more natural explanation. If 5-10% of the population allegedly have a disorder, then maybe the "disorder" is in fact just the tail end of a normal genetic distribution. Doesn't mean that the condition is "made up" or that those people don't deserve some kind of treatment, of course.

I always come back to the analogy of nearsightedness. You can be a little bit nearsighted, or a lot nearsighted. It’s a continuum. It isn’t even precisely a problem to be nearsighted, in theory. It’s just a problem in our society which is designed around being able to see things that are far away (e.g. road signs.) Glasses aren’t technically a treatment for an illness; they’re an optional prosthesis—a “body mod” in the cyberpunk sense. But there’s no stigma to getting them (nor should there be); and anyone who has any degree of nearsightedness has no reason not to get them.

But there used to be a stigma around wearing glasses.

Still is to some extent, and a lot of people just cannot pull them off, so stigma or no they do look worse just like if they were wearing crappier clothes (I'm this way, a bit—hard to find glasses that look at least OK on me rather than awful).

Perhaps better to say that there's no stigma to finding out that someone wears contacts or has had LASIK surgery. Those match the intuition of ADHD as something that's a personal/"invisible" problem, with a personal/"invisible" treatment.

Ah, yes, that's true. The social benefit to having 20/20 vision naturally instead of through surgery or wearing contacts is very low, even if people know about the contacts or surgery.

So was a number of other perceived biological outliers, including left handedness and melanin content. Although not perfect, as society progresses, these outliers are accepted more over time.

I prefer to view it as a trait. It's only a disorder if it's not managed properly. By way of analogy to software, consider parallel processing. A program written by someone ignorant of thread safety will be unreliable or even entirely useless; OTOH, there are huge advantages to multi-core processors and distributed systems. IMHO it's a lazy mistake to label everyone whose mind works in this more complicated way as impaired or flawed. I suggest embracing how your unique mind works, learning more about meta-cognition, and finding whatever combination of tools* works best for you, in order to realize your true potential. Many of the most powerful and successful and happy people in the world have figured this out. Don't let your diagnosis be an excuse for mediocrity or failure!

*eg counseling | coaching, medication, meditation, exercise, productivity systems, journaling, etc.

I think what makes it a disorder is its severity makes it difficult for an individual to manage it properly without treatment or intervention.

Everything you've suggested are things that most people who are aware that they have the disorder try or do already in order to manage it, I would be surprised if a lot of people found out they had ADHD and used their diagnosis as "an excuse for mediocrity or failure!"

If I were being uncharitable I'd say you were just using this comment as a way to dole out unasked for advice to either make yourself feel better or put down some straw-man you've made up. But since I'm not, I'll just leave it at you ain't said nothing slick to a can of oil.

Respectfully, other than your first sentence (which agrees w my post) you've completely misunderstood and mischaracterized what I wrote.

I'm speaking from personal experience about what's been profoundly helpful to me in successfully overcoming a set of challenges related to how my mind works. My intent was and is to share and encourage others. FYI, learning to view this condition as a trait that can be advantageous (vs a defect or impairment) can be transformational for people suffering needlessly from frustration, guilt and self-doubt -- which mental health issues are rampant in my ADHD cohort. My aim is to speak directly to this group in saying "don't give up! try looking at things in this way, keep searching for the right solution and there's a good chance your life could radically improve, as did mine."

As for your ideas about what constitutes being "charitable", the less said the better. May I politely suggest taking a few slow breaths, ideally w your eyes closed, outside, w the sun on your face, and remember how lucky we all are to be alive.

Have a great day!

Left-handedness was considered to be pathological until comparatively recently.

There's a whole neurodiversity frontier to be explored. As well as mind-body frameworks. The news that exercise is better for ADHD reminds me of "fidgiting" or the sometimes more visible behaviours known as "stimming" in the context of autism.

> "disorder" is in fact just the tail end of a normal genetic distribution

This is pretty much the fundamental question that psychiatry has grappled with since inception: what distinguishes "disorder" or "illness" from healthy but aberrant behavior. Over the years, we've seen homosexuality, being black [1], and increasingly today autism, all be considered "normal". Right now, the big one is how you determine what is sadness vs. depression that requires treatment. There isn't a clear answer yet. But all of these designations are inextricably tied to social/cultural mores.

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/witness/201011/how-t...

Based on my experience the difference is whether something interferes with a major life function.

Of course, the downside to that is two people can have the same "disorder", but if one will be fired from their job because of that "disorder" and the other won't because they are retired, then one may be diagnosed with it and the other may not be.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact