ADHD is often seen as a mental illness or a disability and because of that, many people with ADHD believe that there is something wrong with them. Recently in my abnormal psychology class, we discussed ADHD and my professor introduced me to a different perspective of ADHD. What if people with ADHD are just descendants of ancient hunter-gathers? And the reason why we struggle so much in this modern society is because it’s a farmer’s society? Famous radio host Thom Hartmann first introduced this theory in his book “Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perspective“.
Hundred of thousands of years ago, almost all humans were hunter-gatherers, nomadic people that roamed the Earth looking for food. Over the years, the human race has adapted to a farmer society because it’s easier and safer. However, Thom suspects that people with ADHD still have the traits of their hunter-gatherer ancestors. Part of this theory comes from the fact that ADHD is largely genetic. Another part is because many of the aspects of ADHD, impulsivity, hyper-focus, etc., would’ve been useful in a hunter-gatherer society.
So who’s to say that people with ADHD aren’t hunter-gatherers in a famers’ world? One of the more unique things about ADHD is that are advantages of ADHD. People with ADHD take risks, are more creative, have high energy and are able to act on a moment’s notice, and notice things that other people normally don’t. This theory of people with ADHD being decedents of hunter-gatherers make people with ADHD feel good about themselves. It helps them feel like they aren’t in fact broken but are just different.