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The Rise Of ADHD Awareness On Social Media; The Pros And Cons

ADHD is now getting more exposure via social media than ever before. More awareness of neurodiversity along with an increase in video creation on social media, especially on TikTok, has brought a new wave of ADHD creators, bloggers and influencers. In this article, we consider the impact of social media on social perceptions of ADHD.
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The Rise Of ADHD Awareness On Social Media; The Pros And Cons


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is now getting more exposure via social media than ever before. More awareness of neurodiversity along with an increase in video creation on social media, especially on TikTok, has brought a new wave of ADHD creators, bloggers and influencers. In this article, we consider the impact of social media on social perceptions of ADHD.

What’s changed?

Social media is no longer just a way to keep in touch with friends and family. It’s now a source of information and a way to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Social media influencers make a living from the content they produce and some have become celebrities with millions of followers.

There has been an increase in people telling personal stories about mental health on social media, including their experiences of ADHD. This is particularly prevalent on TikTok, which has become a platform for short-form videos. However, ADHD-related content is now widespread across all social media channels. This includes Instagram, which is moving more and more from a photo to a video channel. You can also find longer ADHD-related videos on YouTube with millions of views.

ADHD bloggers share their content across different platforms, and ADHD groups, discussions and communities are rapidly growing across all social media channels.

What is the impact?

Sharing information about ADHD on social media has had a positive impact in the following ways:

Increased awareness and acceptance. Awareness of ADHD has been growing for some years, but by making it so accessible on social media, it is also becoming more accepted. People are realising that ADHD symptoms can affect anyone and that they are not always obvious.

Social media is a good way for people to find new information. There is a lot to know and learn about ADHD, so it’s useful to be able to learn from real people. Information on social media is current and interesting. For many, it’s preferable to learn from social media than from textbooks that might be out of date and scholarly articles written by academics.

For someone who suspects they have ADHD, it may encourage them to come forward for assessment when they see someone on social media posting about it.

Increased coverage can help to normalise ADHD and to reduce the stigma surrounding it, especially when content is posted by someone we can really connect with and relate to.

There are now many online communities made up of people who have ADHD or whose family members are affected by it. Having this support is really valuable and can reduce feelings of isolation. Online groups give us the chance to ask questions and get advice from people that can relate to our experiences.

However, there are also some negative consequences arising from the increased social media focus on ADHD:

Social media content about ADHD can be misleading and may lead to inaccurate self-diagnosis. To a certain extent, everybody experiences symptoms of ADHD. We might feel restless or be disorganised or prone to procrastination. There may be times when we find ourselves with an excessive amount of energy. But this does not mean we all have ADHD. Self-diagnosis can be dangerous and only a qualified clinician, usually a specialist Consultant Psychiatrist, can make an accurate diagnosis.

ADHD symptoms can often co-occur with symptoms of other mental health conditions such as autism, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and OCD. It takes a skilled mental health professional to unpick how and in what way these conditions may be interacting, exacerbating or perhaps masking each other and every presentation is unique.

Somebody may describe their ADHD symptoms online, but not everything they describe is always solely due to ADHD. They may not even have ADHD if they themselves have been misdiagnosed. If you want to explore this topic of comorbid conditions more, then our blog here goes into more details on the subject: The Tip Of The ADHD Iceberg – When It’s More Than ADHD 

It is therefore vital that diagnosis and treatment options are fully assessed by a qualified and experienced medical professional.

While the hope is that online posts about ADHD will lessen negative stereotypes about it, they may actually reinforce stereotypes and typecast people with ADHD even more. Of course, this very much depends on the type of content that people consume and how they interpret it.

Posts on social media are not checked for factual accuracy and we should always be aware of this. It’s an unfortunate reality that people may not produce content with the best intentions for their followers. For some, social media is merely about exposure and people may perform for the camera or use exaggeration for effect. People use social media in different ways but it’s mainly to inform, educate or entertain. Short-form videos such as those that are popular on TikTok and Instagram are often intended for entertainment. It’s important to consider this when we watch them.

People with ADHD often reach out for help when they are distressed or when they reach a certain crisis point. Just because somebody talks about ADHD on social media, that does not mean that they are qualified to help others who are struggling with similar symptoms. An ADHD influencer is unlikely to be equipped or trained to deal with a vulnerable person. They could be suffering from a serious mental health condition, which is having real and drastic effects on their day-to-day life and level of functioning. Someone with ADHD needs structured and supervised regular support to help them cope with their challenging symptoms. They would definitely be advised to seek out the help and guidance of a professional ADHD clinic.

Our Advice

Social Media is a wonderful source of entertainment and information, but it’s important to remember that what is presented may not be wholly accurate.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has ADHD, it’s useful to connect with others in the same situation via social media; it’s reassuring to learn about people’s experiences. However, any ADHD diagnosis needs to be done by a qualified clinician specialising in ADHD. Only then can you access the correct type of ADHD treatment and support.

There are similarities to other mental health conditions that can overlap with ADHD or be isolated conditions. Only a medically trained practitioner can assess this and provide a diagnosis of ADHD and/or other related conditions.

Do not assume that you have ADHD just because someone you’ve seen online is similar to you. You need to consider which sources are accurate and which are simply there to entertain. Remember ADHD can be very challenging and everyone experiences it differently. Influencers on social media will rarely give the whole story and typically they will just present a snippet of information at a given time to grab your attention.

Who Should You Follow To Learn About ADHD?

If you search for the term or hashtag ‘ADHD’ on any social media platform, you’ll get many results. It’s worth taking your time and looking through a few that grab your interest. Be wary of people with no expertise who are dishing out advice.

If you choose to join a community such as a private Facebook group, choose one where people are genuinely supportive and questions are encouraged. Remember that you can always leave groups, stop following people and even delete apps should they make you feel uncomfortable.

To find out more about our private ADHD assessments and our different ADHD treatments and coaching plans, please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via

Further Information

TikTok Is My Therapist: The Dangers And Promise Of Viral Mental Health Videos

TikTok Influencers With ADHD

Take Our Free Five Minute Quiz This non-diagnostic quiz can give you an indication of if you may have ADHD.

Our free EBooks are full of useful and accurate information about ADHD:

Adult EBook About ADHD 

Practical Tips And Techniques For Students With ADHD

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