In today’s world, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, most commonly known as ADHD, is often overlooked and misunderstood by many people due to the fact that it is so common and not taken seriously. Here’s the catch, most people don’t even know what ADHD really is or the side effects that follow it. For people who do not experience this, it is hard to understand exactly what it is like. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood.” Being so common, some think it is not as big of a deal as it is made out to be, but this is completely wrong. When I was five, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with ADHD, and then again when I was 10 at a follow up appointment. From that point on, I had to deal with teachers and people in my life not understanding my diagnosis and how it affected me everyday. From zoning out in class to talking over people, my diagnosis affects every interaction and situation I encounter. 

In reality, nobody really understood the daily struggles I go through dealing with this. One of the biggest things that I still have trouble with years after I was diagnosed is concentrating in different settings like school and even day to day conversations with my friends. One minute I will be listening to a lecture from a teacher, and the next I am in my own world daydreaming about what I will be having for lunch next period. In a similar way, I can be talking to my friends, fully interested, and all of a sudden I will completely lose focus on what they are saying. It is not like I mean to ignore what people are saying or seem uninterested, it’s just a side effect of being diagnosed with ADHD. 

“Usually when my brain gets so tired out of having to focus, I get super tired or start putting my head down and they [teachers] think I’m being disrespectful,” sophomore Sarah Cannon said.

Along with the inability to focus comes problems in friendships and different relationships. Since most people do not understand ADHD, they might not know about some of the things that come along with it or understand why certain things might happen. Sometimes, my friends and I will be hanging out having a normal conversation when something comes to my mind that seems so important that I just have to blurt it out. Within seconds of it coming to mind, it leaves my mouth without me even realizing that somebody else could be talking. This is very common with ADHD, but it is not always done on purpose or with the intention to stop someone else from talking. When this occurs in a friendship or any type of relationship, the other person can oftentimes feel as if they aren’t valued enough or their thoughts and comments aren’t important enough. 

One of the most important things that I deal with daily, but definitely not the last, is my ADHD being overlooked at school. According to, ADHD can affect a student’s ability to focus, pay attention, listen, or put effort into schoolwork. One of the many times a day that I daydream is unfortunately in the middle of class. When this happens, my teachers tend to think I am bored of their lessons or uninterested in being in their class. A majority of the time, this happens in classes that I love where I would never want the teacher to think I did not want to be there. 

Without knowing how any of these side effects really feel, many people think ADHD is just not being able to focus or that it isn’t legitimate because everyone claims they have it. Just because lots of people happen to have ADHD does not mean the symptoms and side effects they experience should be invalidated or don’t matter. Contrary to popular belief, ADHD has a major effect on people’s lives due to things like the inability to focus,  and even more serious issues like depression. Just because something is considered common does not mean that it is not a real problem. 

I have struggled with ADHD pretty much my whole life and know exactly what it is like to not be taken seriously or understood. I have had to experience the inability to concentrate in several settings, people not understanding my ADHD in relationships and friendships and being overlooked in school. In order for ADHD to begin to be taken as seriously as it is, people need to understand the side effects of this disorder and exactly how it affects the lives of people who struggle with it.