Are ADHD People Neurodivergent?

Post Highlights

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide, but have you ever stopped to wonder what it is and where it comes from?

    ADHD isn’t a modern invention - it’s been around for centuries. In this post, we’ll explore the history of ADHD and look at why people with ADHD are actually neurodivergent survivors.

    ADHD and Neurodiversity

    What is Neurodivergence?

    Neurodivergence is a term that refers to individuals whose cognitive processes, emotional regulation, or behavior differ from the majority in a given society. This simply means that people who have conditions such as autism, dyslexia, or ADD/ADHD think and behave differently than most other people.

    This does not mean that their brain works less efficiently; instead, it works differently.

    The Earliest Description of ADHD

    The earliest description of the symptoms associated with ADHD dates back to 1798 when Dr. Alexander Crichton wrote about “mental restlessness” in his book An Inquiry Into the Nature and Origin of Mental Derangement. Over time, more doctors began to recognize and diagnose the disorder as “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” in 1902, “minimal brain dysfunction” in 1963, and finally, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 1980.

    Are People with ADHD Neurodivergent Survivors?

    In recent years, people have started to consider ADHD not as a disorder but as a difference in neurodiversity. This means that people with ADHD have brains that are wired differently than most other people – they think differently and perceive the world differently. And this isn’t something new; neurodivergent individuals have been integral parts of our society for centuries.

    After all, there was once an entire population known as survivors –- descended from a line of people who survived the great flood thousands of years ago. Who were these survivors? They were likely similar to those with ADHD today – constantly preparing and scouting for signs, looking for solutions no one else could see. They saved those who weren’t prepared or didn’t realize how necessary their actions were. We owe them so much gratitude for their insightfulness!

    Side note: Netflix has a fascinating documentary series called Ancient Apocalypse, and one of the first episodes is all about the great flood. Did it happen the way we think? Or has the story changed over time?



    At its core, having ADHD is not about having a disorder or illness -- it’s about being different than others, or being neurodivergent -- seeing things from unique perspectives, and coming up with creative solutions to problems no one else can solve. Like those brave souls who survived thousands of years ago, they thought differently, acted quickly on instinctual feelings, paid attention to all details around them that many would overlook or ignore completely, and made decisions based on intuition rather than facts alone.

    So while we may call it something different now -- “ADHD” -- its essence has been around since ancient times. It’s time we start embracing this difference rather than trying to fit everyone into one neat box!

    Thanks for reading! :)

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    Devang Patel

    I am a board certified family physician. I am married and have two beautiful girls. I have ADHD too (hence blog name I was diagnosed with ADHD during my residency training AFTER medical school. Now I want to help others lead more productive lives by giving practical examples and suggestions.

    DISCLAIMER: The content in this blog is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog or on this website.

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