5 Things Not to Say to Someone with ADHD

Do you ever wonder what to say to someone with ADHD? Maybe you’re a parent, or a teacher, or a friend of someone who has it. Chances are you’ve probably said something hurtful without even realizing it.

Today we’re going to talk about 5 Things Not to Say to Someone with ADHD.

I’m Angela Howard, my passion is to break the stigma of mental illness among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a more purposeful life with God, and with one another. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get the first updates of new content and connect in community.

In my video “Cause of ADHD” I talked about the CDC report that 11% of children 4-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives. About 60 percent of children with ADHD in the United States become adults with ADHD; that’s about 4 percent of the adult population, or 8 million adults.

Less than 20 percent of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed or treated, and only about one-quarter of those adults seek help. (https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/adult-adhd#)

A big reason that people don’t seek help is because of the stigma. Stigma causes us to say insensitive things and send a message of disapproval that surrounds a person circumstance, their qualities, or even who they are or what they struggle with. Let’s think about what we say before we say it.

5 Things NOT to Say to Someone with ADHD

  1. ADHD is just an excuse for being lazy. Hallowell refers to as a “moral diagnosis” referring to the person as the problem verses viewing the disorder as the problem.
  2. You need to try harder to be organized. I talk to one person who felt like for years she tried to organize herself the way other people did things and it never worked for her, she’s just now realizing that she’s going to have forge her own path and it has nothing to do with the level of effort she has put forth—it’s the fact that she thinks and processes differently)
  3. It’s wrong to take medication for ADHD. There are a lot of options for treating ADHD such as stimulants, non-stimulants, supplements, exercise, behavioral therapy, biofeedback, or neurofeedback. Your choices are as individual as the people making them and differ depending on your goals and life situations. There’s no one size fits all. When in doubt, keep your opinion to yourself.
  4. Stop overreacting. A huge symptom of ADHD is emotional dysregulation. Do you think they enjoy this? It’s frustrating for everyone, but compassionate understanding is far more healing than judgmental comments. If you don’t know what to say, choose kindness.


She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26


If you’re struggling with ADHD, what would you like people to say to you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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