– Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACG
Creativity: The Upside of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
When many people think of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD (formerly called ADD), they tend to picture a hyper and oppositional kid who is bouncing off walls. Or maybe they envision a day dreamer who never listens. Or they think of a disorganized and habitually late adult, whose desk is a mess, and who can never remember where he put his phone. While attention regulation – and sometimes hyperactivity and impulsivity – are certainly part of this “disorder,” there are also many advantages to having ADHD.
One of the greatest gifts of the ADHD mind is creativity. The abilities to jump from idea to idea, to connect seemingly unrelated topics, and to wander (apparently without aim) inside a world of imaginative thought is a double-edged sword. In some situations, these traits can be disabling. But when understood and effectively channeled, these same handicaps become the seeds for ingenuity and discovery. “Impulsivity” can spark spontaneous and brilliant solutions. “Hyperactivity” can fuel the creative process. A “lack of focus” is an advantage when it frees a person from preconceived notions or strategies that aren’t working – and if it results in heightened concentration on more important activities and goals. Indeed, the creative juices of ADHD often produce novel and ingenious solutions, theories, and inventions.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, a Hungarian physiologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 and discovered vitamin C, said,
– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Physiologist
– Dr. Katen