What Should You Avoid Saying to Someone With ADHD?

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have symptoms that many of us find relatable — such as difficulty sitting still or being easily distracted. At one point or another, you may have even said something like “I’m so ADHD!” to describe your own experiences.

As a result, it’s easy to forget that ADHD is a clinical diagnosis that needs professional treatment.

While everyone feels inattentive, distracted, or impulsive sometimes, the experience is not the same,” says Jaclyn Halpern, PsyDa licensed psychologist and director of the SOAR Program for Psychotherapy and Testing at Washington Behavioral Medicine Associates in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “The attention and executive functioning challenges many individuals with ADHD encounter can impact nearly every aspect of their well-being.”

In other words, the symptoms of ADHD are often much more intense, to the point that they cause distress and interfere with a person’s ability to go about their daily lives. Because not everyone understands ADHD and the difficulties that come with it, people without the condition may say things that they think are helpful but actually aren’t. And in the process, they may inadvertently reinforce rampant myths about ADHDsuch as the notion that people with ADHD are lazy or simply need to work harder.