How can I help my family understand m... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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How can I help my family understand my ADD diagnosis?

jocooks55 profile image
22 Replies

Hello everyone! I am newly (but long-suffering) diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive Type, and having this diagnosis has improved my life greatly. I know have an idea of how my mind works and a wealth of resources to draw from to help cope with the disorder. My question to the community though, is this - how do you help your friends/family/spouses understand the disorder? I have suggested a few books and articles to members of my family to give them an idea of how my brain works, and while it helps, it doesn't necessarily impart the gravitas of the disorder. In particular, I find that a few of my close friends simply cannot accept what they do not see (understandable) but it makes it very hard for me to communicate with them/be myself around them. Any tips?

22 Replies
Eclecticentric77 profile image

Hi there, I have Inattentive Adhd as well. If you click my picture, it will take you to my profile where I have a link in my bio to a Youtube video series I made for the struggles people with Inattentive Adhd go through from childhood to adulthood. Sometimes hearing the perspective from somebody else can help shed some light for some people. Might be worth checking out, hope this helps

Colorlove profile image

I am also struggling with this too. My family says I’m limiting myself, and I don’t need to be emotional. I am very sensitive and they just won’t get it. I am actually done with getting them to understand. I just come here to this app. Because it is abuse that I won’t take any longer.

in reply to Colorlove

I have come to the same conclusion. This is me except it. I’m sick of trying to explain it to them.

Colorlove profile image
Colorlove in reply to

It sucks! But it also feels good to know that there are people struggling with the same challenges. When I’m using this app I don’t feel alone.

in reply to Colorlove

Me too. My kids are good with it but when I try to explain and show them videos etc. they are not interested. 😢

I simply don’t discuss my condition with friends and family. It’s non of their business. I only discuss it with my partner that I live with. They don’t need to understand my condition. I certainly have no interest in some of their conditions.

dgs2018 profile image
dgs2018 in reply to

I agree that most people don't really need to know that much detail, unless it's someone very close who seems to be open to hearing something different and surprising. I think keeping it close to your vest is best.

happy_kitty profile image

I would like to politely but strongly disagree with anyone who suggests keeping your ADHD to yourself.

I'm not saying you need to shout it from the rooftop or tell everyone you meet, but I would suggest telling anyone you plan on spending a significant amount of time with. How much is significant can be up to you but I would suggest being open about it with at least family, close friends, and bosses/teachers.

I say this for two primary reasons

1. Personal Benefit:

- If people are made aware of the extra difficulties you face in day-to-day tasks they are more likely to be sympathetic and helpful rather than critical or shaming.

- I find it easier to be myself around people who understand that work differently.

- We have legal rights to accommodation and non-discrimination which we can't employ if we don't disclose.

2. Awareness:

- If you disclose, you have better opportunities to educate.

- ADHD is actually a very well researched condition - yet many people don't even believe it exists.

- We complain that people don't understand us but we aren't pushing to educate them.

And to combine the two:

-You cave no idea how many times when I said I have ADHD the response was, "Really? Me too!"

I don't know about anyone else, but I spent the first 14 or 15 years of my life honestly thinking that I was the only one who was different and that I may never meet someone "like me", and I'm sure that I'm not the only one. I feel that this can be traced back to hundreds if not thousands people who didn't speak up, either because they were afraid, they were too shy, or because they didn't see a need.

Well I for one am not going stand by and allow kids like me to grow up believing that they are alone in the world. I will not hide my ADHD. And if people want to judge me for it, I won't let them. I will educate as many people as possible, and I will encourage everyone I can to do the same.


Sorry for the rant, I just feel that it's time we stepped out of the shadows.


About helping friends and loved ones understand:

- It helps a lot if you yourself understand what you are trying to convey. I recommend learning about what ADHD is and how it affects you personally before of at leas while you are trying to explain it to others

- YouTube I have found is an excellent place to get information and tactics for sharing your diagnosis. Here is a link to a video from a person with ADHD addressing those who love/live with people with ADHD:

John_Doe_ADHD profile image
John_Doe_ADHD in reply to happy_kitty

Can you post the link on YouTube for the video you posted? It's not playing when I click on it. I get an error. Thanks.

happy_kitty profile image
happy_kitty in reply to John_Doe_ADHD

That's what I was trying to do. Hmm... I'm not sure how to do it any differently...

Did it work this time?

happy_kitty profile image
happy_kitty in reply to happy_kitty

Darn it, didn't work again. Well the video is called "How to Help Someone who has ADHD" and the channel is 'How To ADHD'.

Artaddict profile image
Artaddict in reply to happy_kitty

I agree 100 percent! I am ADHD and proud to be! Free to daydream of intriguing things.. to hyperfocus and create paintings that "touch people", to see the world in a different way. There is nothing wrong with being "different." Who is to say what is normal?? I find I have fought "normal" all my life. And one may say I am a loser for it. I do not believe in 9 to 5s although each to there own.. I have worked in many a restaurant. But I am free. To be me. To have the hours I want. To paint. To work part time. To daydream.. and to write poetry.. Some of us were meant to see more than the normal.. Those people have ADHD ;)

My family lives in another continent. I never see them and hardly ever talk to them. Maybe that’s why I don’t talk about it.

Artaddict profile image

I am exactly the same! Long suffering unknowingly mind you.. and very recently diagnosed with ADHD...

My sister is the most supportive.. She actually was the one to suggest it!! 🤣Boy did I laugh and laugh.... Till I took the suggested online test and failed miserably lol Feels good to now know why you are who you are though right!?

I Don't see it as a negative and I hope you do not as well.. We lose focus and get distracted easily because our minds seek things that are more than the everyday.. ya know? And we hyperfocus and make amazing things happen!!

Just keep being you, unapologetically and use your new knowledge to your advantage.. I use my phones alarm/calendar all day every day to constantly remind me of all lifes tasks... also routine helps.. And my number 1 trick for brain fog and spaced out feelings is raw carrot, beet and orange juice! I am sharp for hours :)

I hope any of my ramblings helped.. I also just ACTUALLY completed my very first thing ever!! Well not really.. but it is a short "book" that looks into the mind of someone with ADHD for a 4 hour stretch.. My mind. As I miss family movie time, again, to write that book. Because I just Have too. Obsessed with a new idea.. I cant stop writing even as I sit beside them full of guilt :(

It is called

ADHD and Maybe Me by Amber Scott. It's only 2 bucks!!

I would love a review.. or just to know someone read it and can relate:)


NonADHDSpouse profile image

As a wife who has a spouse who suffers ADD and ADHD and ASD, I would like to respond. You may not ever get them to understand and that is the sad part. But if they are willing to understand you have a mental disorder called ADD/ADHD they should read the book called HOW ADHD EFFECTS MARRIAGE. It is by Mrs Orlov, and it saved my marriage. Living with an AD/HD spouse is rough as it causes chaos and dysfunction not only in life but in the home life as well. It's called the ADHD effect. Some people want to deny this as they want to blame the ADHD spouse for being lazy, ect, while they don't understand. Tell them to educate educate. You can never stop educating. Also you could have ASD, as should get tested for that too. My spouse is AD/HD and ASD. So that helps me to not nag him and to lay off his back more then I would before I was educated on the disability. Contact me if you want! PM me. And good luck!

NonADHDSpouse profile image

I would also like to say that my husband does not like to take medications. But he'd has changed his diet to the ADHD diet and also changed his supplements to the ADHD supplements. Such as fish oil supplement. And more. Fish oil is very important as it helps the brain function with memory. People who suffer ADD and ADHD have poor memory in the brain and distort all kinds of information that is received. Taking fish oil and proper ADHD supplements and diet will also help improve the ADHD symptoms. Foods such as sugars and aspartame amplify the ADHD symptoms in ADHD effects in life. Switching to a proper diet and supplemental life to improve ADHD will not only be beneficial to your spouse that you and your relationship as well.

TLJ828 profile image
TLJ828 in reply to NonADHDSpouse


that’s interesting to eat as per ADD/HD...

And distort information how?

I’m quite certain I do...

Asdadhdocdabl profile image

I have the same problem

Lovinit profile image

Before your diagnosis you where your self around your friends and family. Why is it difficult now? I went though a period where I wanted so badly for my friends and family to understand and be supportive about my adhd. Their not, they believe or don’t believe what they want to and it hurt me a lot because I felt very alone dealing with my struggles and I feel like they don’t understand how real my stuggles are. The thing is they love me still, they don’t get what I have to deal with and I had to learn to be okay with that because they are who they are. Idk. Someone said to help me feel better about not having the support I wanted from my family that there are some things you can talk about with them and there are some things you can’t. Example I don’t go to my brother and talk to him about my mensural periods. I’m lucky to say I at least have one person in my life I can talk to about my adhd she also has adhd and autism I met her a year ago on She’s been very supportive and has been able to help me though some of my stuggles. She’s now an ash’s coach. Other than that I have no one else who I can talk to other then here on HealthUnlocked. This site has helped me a lot.

Giggles0303 profile image

Theres a really good youtube channel called "How to ADHD" that I would recomend to hell and back. - is about how to describe and explain ADHD. - How to help someone with ADHD

And tons of others. She's a great resource for explaining ADHD since it's accurate as well as simplified. You could either show your friends the videos or use them to give you ideas of how to explain.

I find that I've always gotten the best results when comparing ADHD to sleep deprivation. It's actually quite accurate since ADHD symptoms actually line up with those of long term sleep deprivation. When you might not actually feel tired but you're a bit slower on the uptake, get distracted more easily, and even hyperactive. Except you feel like that all the time.

Giggles0303 profile image

I'm not sure if you can actually veiw the videos.



I've seperated the links so that it doesn't come up as a video here. Just put them together in the search bar and it should be fine.

MrsKlco profile image

HOLY SMOKE...Ted Talks!! There are some great speakers on the subject. There speech is short, spoken by ppl who live it, with many different perspectives. I watch them when I am feeling down and they give me a boost of confidence. I assign my favorites to send to my hubby to watch. That helps him a lot.

Hope that helps!!

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