Superhero icon
Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being
Article Abstracts
Oct 13, 2021
AnaitSmi/Shutterstock | Canva
Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane—No, It’s ADHD Superpowers!

By KnoWEwell
Article Abstracts
Nov 29, 2021

According to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 6.1 million children in the US diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by impaired levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that begin in childhood and often persists into adulthood.

ADHD symptoms can present challenges to others that may consider those affected as being too distracted or too talkative. Those with ADHD can have weak executive-functioning skills and have trouble organizing time, planning, controlling emotions, and making decisions. In adults, ADHD is often associated with poor outcomes in academic achievement, work performance, and social relationships. But just as someone without sight can have exceptional hearing, those with ADHD may have a variety of skills and abilities, so-called "ADHD superpowers," others may not possess.

While not a diagnosis criterion, hyper-focus is a symptom of ADHD that many people see as contrary to the hyperactivity and inattentiveness symptoms normally associated with the diagnosis. Hyper-focus is characterized by very long periods of highly focused attention on something of interest to the person, such as work, hobbies, or other activities. A hyper-focusing person with ADHD can complete their task more efficiently because they can do it without distraction.

A study in the Journal for Attention Disorders found that parents and teacher see a majority of ADHD children as being resilient. People with ADHD face challenges every day, which may make them more practiced in overcoming setbacks than other people. Another study of adults with ADHD in London revealed that an ADHD person's need to balance overstimulation and boredom with a task or activity gives them an acute sense of self-awareness and therefore resilience.

A different study in the Journal for Attention Disorders found that adults with ADHD reported more real-world creative achievements and generated more original ideas when competing for a bonus. ADHD requires those affected to approach problems from a different perspective and therefore come up with more creative solutions.

Being talkative can be both a curse and superpower for those with ADHD. On the positive side, they can generate interesting conversations. The London-based study also found those with ADHD had higher levels of social intelligence, humor, and empathy.

People with ADHD are not afraid to let their impulsiveness lead them on spur-of-the-moment adventures where they enjoy the moment without worrying about any long-term implications. Participants in the London-based study described being adventurous, spontaneous, and impulsive as fun, with some attributing the numerous things they achieved and places they saw as being driven by their ADHD.

While the negative aspects of ADHD-driven hyperactivity can be disruptive to classmates and work colleagues, that hyperactivity and energy can be a great advantage when movement is required, such as in sports. Often that boundless energy means someone with ADHD can outlast everyone else on the field, the court, the track, the rink, or the mat.

One of the best examples of an individual turning their ADHD superpowers of high energy, hyper-focus, and creativity into a Hall of Fame career is basketball great Michael Jordan.


Boot, N., Nevicka, B., & Baas, M.  (2017, August 28). Creativity in ADHD: Goal-directed motivation and domain specificity. Journal of Attention Disorders.

Chan, E., (2021, June 24). Are there resilient children with ADHD? Journal of Attention Disorders

Sedgwick, J. A., Merwood, A., & Asherson, P. (2018, October 29). The positive aspects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A qualitative investigation of successful adults with ADHD. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders

Sherrell, Z. (2021, July 20). 6 strengths and benefits of ADHD. Medical News Today.

Advanced Search on this topic

Other Articles in this category

Oct 06, 2021 | Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being
Nearly 40 million adults in the US regularly experience telltale signs of anxiety, such as gasping for breath, tightening of the chest, and pounding…
Sep 13, 2021 | Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being
In these times of uncertainty and fear, depression has blanketed millions. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, more than 264 million…
Jul 29, 2021 | Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being
As is now widely acknowledged, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare health disparities among vulnerable populations. North American indigenous…
Jul 27, 2021 | Mental and Behavioral Health and Well-Being
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in America—with a population that increased 72%, to 19 million, between 2000 and 2015. They are…

Customer Service

KnoWEwell News Updates