Social media has been an amazing source of support for many people in the ADHD community. It can be so empowering for people who struggle with the disorder to see others who are going through the same challenges and to discuss tips and tricks about what helps them manage ADHD on a day-to-day basis.
Sharing these types of stories has also helped to give people without ADHD a better insight into the lives of those who have the disorder. In addition to the educational aspect of this phenomenon, there's also the potential to create greater empathy and understanding of people with ADHD.
Despite the positive outcomes of using social media to connect about life with ADHD, there have also been some negative counterparts in the form of misinformation. When individuals, rather than board-certified ADHD clinicians, give their opinions and advice online, there's a greater possibility that false or misleading content can be shared.
Learn more about the effects of ADHD misinformation on social media, what type of misinformation is being shared, and how to get a proper ADHD evaluation if you've found the content on social media to be confusing.
A Fast-Growing Trend Online
When you think of people sharing on social media, topics like fashion, pop culture, politics and sports might come to mind. That's why it's a bit surprising to find out just how prevalent the topic of ADHD has become on some of the biggest platforms, particularly on TikTok.
Sharing content about ADHD online is incredibly popular at the moment. In fact, videos on TikTok with the ADHD hashtag now have over 11 billion views, a sharp increase in views from 2.4 billion near the end of 2021.
This saturation of content has turned ADHD into one of the top social media trends. There are so many posts and videos, in fact, that there are even memes about how some people are tired of their feeds being overrun by ADHD content.
Some of the content is intended to be educational and informative, such as videos describing ADHD symptoms, sharing helpful ADHD hacks, or posting statistics about the disorder. Other content is personal in nature, giving insight into someone's individual experience with ADHD, often in an effort to show both the quirkiness and relatability of their situation.
A Double-Edged Sword
Sharing information about ADHD isn't necessarily a bad thing when the content posted by users on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and other social media platforms is factual, it can help reduce stigma about ADHD, bust myths about the disorder, break down common stereotypes, and bring greater awareness to the obstacles that people with the disorder face.
For example, there are many women with ADHD who have reported that seeing ADHD content on social media helped them realize they had the disorder. ADHD is thought to be underdiagnosed in girls and women due to the fact that the symptoms experienced by boys and men are more in line with the typical ADHD stereotypes compared to those experienced by the opposite sex.
There are other positive outcomes of sharing about ADHD online, like educating people about the symptoms of the disorder, which may help them to recognize that they might have it. Additionally, sharing helpful tips for people who are in need of ADHD treatment can assist people in knowing where to go for a diagnosis and advocating for themselves when seeking out quality care.
But there are downsides to sharing about ADHD online, too. Researchers have found that the amount of misleading information about ADHD on social media is incredibly high. One study discovered that 52% of the posts on #ADHD TikTok contained misleading information that lacked scientific evidence. For the videos reviewed in that study, the average number of views was nearly 3 million. This indicates a massive spread of misinformation, much of which may have been viewed by people who are specifically looking for help with ADHD.
On YouTube, the findings were similar. Of the videos with ADHD content that were reviewed, 38% were rated as misleading, while only 5% were categorized as highly useful.
Even though most of the ADHD content creators likely have good intentions when they share online, any misinformation in their posts has the potential to create detrimental effects for their audience. Some of these content creators have thousands of followers, and if a post or video goes viral, the possible negative outcomes only multiply.
When social media users view incorrect content, it can affect whether they seek the help they need. Simplifying the symptoms of ADHD without providing context for other possible causes of those symptoms is a recurring issue in many of these social media posts. For example, if someone with anxiety or depression sees their symptoms reflected in a video of #ADHD TikTok, they may not get the care they need for their mental health.
Where to Get ADHD Information Online
Fortunately, there are several ways you can get quality information about ADHD when you're online. If you're on social media, you can follow licensed ADHD clinicians. Unsurprisingly, studies have found that the content uploaded to social media by healthcare professionals is much more likely to contain factual, useful information rather than misinformation about the disorder.
You can also look at websites for trusted sources of health information, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Some helpful ADHD-specific resources that you may want to check out include:
- Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
- Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
- National Resource Center on ADHD (NRC)
- ADDitude Magazine
At Done, you'll also be able to find high-quality information that has been vetted by board-certified ADHD clinicians. Our Knowledge Base is packed with helpful articles to provide useful details about everything from symptoms and diagnosis to living with ADHD.
If you're ready to get the facts about ADHD rather than relying on information dispensed through social media platforms, get in touch with us at Done. We know that seeing posts and videos online may have triggered your ADHD journey, and that's okay. We're here to answer all your questions and give you a thorough evaluation so you can find out if the symptoms you're experiencing are actually a result of ADHD. And if you do receive a diagnosis, we'll help you get the care you need.