Is there any other variable that shows an upside of A.D.H.D, other than creativity?

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I have a son who has attention deficit (hyperactive) disorder (ADHD), so unsurprisingly, I have done a great deal of reading about it.  While I do think that as with autism, there is a spectrum that makes generalization difficult, I do see how there are some benefits to ADHD. 

It is important to understand that ADHD is somewhat misnamed, since many people who have it can and do pay attention to things. It is just that their attention is somewhat uneven.  And in fact, many people who have ADHD tend to hyper-focus on what interests them, and this can be a powerful advantage. There is a down side to this, of course, since responsible adults need to focus on many things they would rather not, like washing dishes or paying bills.  Generally, though, hyper-focus is often behind the accomplishments of people with ADHD, who double down on projects they are enthusiastic about.

Other advantages stem from the "hunter/gatherer" school of thought regarding ADHD.  From an evolutionary perspective, people who didn't sit still very long were far more likely to live and succeed well enough to pass on their genes.  Moving one's camp frequently and acting unpredictably were advantages in many ways against one's foes.  Also, the person with ADHD tends to not have as many sensory filters, so everything just pours in, sounds, sights, smells, touches, and tastes.  Such a person is in close touch with the environment, very alert in many ways, perhaps better able to track game or forage for food than those who did not have ADHD. While it may not be obvious that this remains an advantage in today's world, I think in many ways it must be.  Soldiers are helped by it, certainly.  An organization that needs some micromanaging would be well-served by this quality. Staying safe in a high-crime area requires this kind of alertness.  And I would rather go on a nature walk with my son than anyone else I know.  He doesn't miss a thing, and thus, neither do I. 

Our genetic diversity exists for a reason, to roll the genetic die to see what works and what doesn't. If we were all alike, we would lose a great deal more than we would gain.  The qualities of ADHD have disadvantages, to be sure, but creativity, hyper-focus, unpredictability, and high awareness are qualities that can be used to great advantage.  

 

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