HOW ADHD impacts College Students

The University of Scranton’s Counseling Center and Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence offers therapy and accommodations for those with ADHD.

by Ashley M. Burdick | Staff Writer

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, where there is an executive dysfunction that causes issues with organization, emotional regulation, prioritizing tasks or task management.

Like other physical or mental health conditions, the symptoms are stereotyped as being hyper, having bad grades and not being able to focus. That is incorrect, since ADHD can have many faces.

Like other conditions, ADHD is unique to the person and their personality as a whole.

ADHD is proven to be less researched in women and adults. It is often referred to as a “male disorder” because most of the diagnoses are in young boys. However, ADHD can be very present in women and adults.

In adults and women, it is claimed to be less prevalent due to lack of research. Both adults and women with ADHD around 4% are diagnosed, according to a study done by Healthline. One of the main reasons that is the case is that a lot of areas do not test for adult ADHD or these areas do not believe adults should be tested.

Ben Curby, 16, is a junior in high school in Virginia.

“In elementary school, I was seen as the smart kid, but middle school was when I started having trouble with my work and motivation. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my later high school years, not knowing what it really meant and thought it was just getting distracted. I was never given any information about what it was and what it did to me. Even when I got accommodations, teachers and professors of mine didn’t follow them. It was only until later I figured out how much it really affected me,” Curby said.

“The only advice I have been given was to ‘just focus’, which doesn’t always work for me, and when I struggle they just always assume I’m lazy. They say something like ‘everyone gets distracted sometimes’ and go on with their day, but they don’t know what it is to know you need to do something but not being able to do it,” Curby said.

For females, a handful are diagnosed with the ADHD diagnostic symptoms for men; when the criteria is visibly different in females. ADDtitude, an ADHD based magazine, describes the symptoms of ADHD in women as constant daydreaming, trouble with organization, impulsive thoughts or actions, masking, rejection sensitivity dysphoria and the ability to cry easily or more than others.

ADHD has received some attention on the platform TikTok; a social media platform geared toward entertainment for teenagers and young adults.

Madi Manini, 20, of Lynbrook, New York, is a student at the University of Scranton with ADHD.

“People faking ADHD for a trend and attention on TikTok does happen, like with every other condition and it makes people not treat it seriously. It’s important to talk about these things so people can know bout it, but there are people who self diagnose themselves with ADHD after losing focus one time,” Manini said.

“When I say I have ADHD, people only assume I get distracted easily but it’s hard for me to do really anything. Especially with TikTok, the community there thinks ADHD is fidgeting and getting distracted easily. It’s more than that. You can put five fingers down for a TikTok trend and it’ll diagnose you with ADHD,”

ADHD becoming popular on TikTok has been influential in getting people to realize they have ADHD and get help if they needed.

However, the term “ADHD” has been tossed around in the social media algorithm constantly, making fidgeting a little a cold cut symptom of this neurodevelopmental disorder.

Though, some people have good intentions, there are other people that are a part of TikTok that are damaging the ADHD community and encouraging harmful stereotypes.

One of the phrases that harm people with ADHD is “everyone has a little bit of ADHD”, which could definitely be caused by the negative influence of social media.

“‘Everyone has a little bit of ADHD,’ but not everyone has it. My biggest issue is tones and executive dysfunction. A lot of people with ADHD struggle with it. I think the worst part with TikTok trends is that people will say: ‘I put five fingers down, I have ADHD!’ but they don’t realize that when people with ADHD experience these symptoms, they experience them at a level that is almost debilitating,” Manini said.

“When someone says ‘everyone has a little bit of ADHD’, it’s like minimizing problems they don’t understand.” Curby said. “I got diagnosed in 7th grade and had to wait through a nine month waitlist.”

“The estimated number of children ever diagnosed with ADHD, according to a national 2016 parent survey, 1 is 6.1 million (9.4%).” The CDC said in a data and statistical survey.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that is more common than people think, especially in college settings like the University of Scranton.