Does poverty cause ADHD or does ADHD cause poverty? My own thoughts.
Recently I've been thinking a lot about the link between ADHD and poverty/social status/class.
I've been reading some studies on the subject:
If your only knowledge of ADHD was gleaned by reading some of the national newspapers or by watching some documentaries published by mainstream tv channels you might understandably and quite mistakenly believe that ADHD is something that only affects poor people . . . This simply isn't true.
I was diagnosed privately by a respected Consultant based on Harley Street, London and I paid £600 for that assessment/diagnosis. The Consultant that I saw practices privately but also works for the NHS specialising in Adult ADHD. Now clearly if ADHD only affected the poor this man would not be able to practice privately and would be out of business!! The reality is quite the reverse. I had to wait a long time for a private appointment.
I have also visited private schools that specialise in providing for children/young people living with ADHD. Fee's for these schools would be entirely unaffordable for the average person.
Rory Bremner was recently diagnosed with ADHD and he very bravely produced a documentary to chart his journey with his personal diagnosis.
Rory is neither poor nor unsuccessful, yet he clearly is ADHD.
So I wonder then about the general assumption that poverty or class is somehow linked with ADHD and why it's a condition that seems to be connected to the lower classes when that simply isn't true.
I believe that ADHD can 'CAUSE' poverty! I also believe that ADHD is partly genetic and that to me makes the most sense. Poverty is usually inherited just like genetics. People with an ADHD diagnosis can struggle with organisation, timekeeping, focus and attention. Many struggle with the social aspects of life as well. Left untreated these symptoms will understandably not necessarily make you the most successful person in the world and therefore quite likely not the richest either.
But let that not deceive you!!
See the link below for a list of successful people with ADHD, including Justin Timberlake, Jamie Oliver, Will Smith, Jim Carey, Will I Am, Woody Harrelson, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Stevie Wonder, Jack Nicholson, Stephen Hawking, :
What accounts for their success then? There is another side to ADHD which CAN make you VERY successful. That something is 'hyperfocus'. If an ADHD person is hyper-focussed on a subject/thing that also happens to attract money or a fee then watch out world!!
Hyperfocus can cause people with an ADHD diagnosis to move mountains, work like Trojans and become very successful indeed. Take Richard Branson as an example. The difficulty arises when the subject which is hyper focussed on is done so to the exclusion of everything else !! which is usually the mundane and boring . . . cleaning, filing, accounts etc etc
So, in summary I can see why people link ADHD to poverty and social class but it's a very narrow uninformed view to my thinking.
If someone could give me a cure for ADHD tomorrow I would not want it. It has been the cause of some negativity in my life but equally it has been the cause of my success and without it I could not have achieved what I have achieved or done what I have done. Therefore I would not trade it or want it taken away. The upsides are a blessing and the downsides, well frankly they need management there are no two ways about that.
In conclusion it's my belief that ADHD can cause poverty but poverty doesn't cause ADHD. The evidence that I have seen leads me to further say with some confidence that ADHD is not linked to intelligence or social class/status either.