The prevalence of ADHD content on TikTok has skyrocketed, garnering over 20 billion views. Supporters argue that this surge has helped raise awareness and destigmatize ADHD. However, there are concerns that the abundance of content may perpetuate stereotypes and encourage inaccurate self-diagnosis.
BBC Asian Network conducted interviews with individuals diagnosed with ADHD, a TikToker who creates videos about the condition, and a medical professional to delve deeper into this phenomenon.
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a multifaceted condition that typically emerges during childhood and affects individuals in various ways. The National Health Service (NHS) identifies two main categories of ADHD symptoms: Inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness.
These symptoms encompass difficulties with concentration, persistent restlessness, and excessive talking. Formally diagnosing ADHD involves a specialist evaluating a comprehensive checklist of symptoms and their duration.
It is crucial to note that possessing a couple of traits doesn’t necessarily indicate having ADHD.
TikTok’s Impact on ADHD Awareness
Many content creators on TikTok utilize the platform to share their personal experiences with ADHD, believing they are aiding others by doing so. One such creator is Humz, a 24-year-old from Manchester, who started his TikTok channel to educate people about ADHD, particularly its underdiagnoses in girls. Humz, diagnosed during his university years, has garnered an audience of 160,000 followers.
While some of the self-care methods he discusses lack extensive scientific backing, Humz remains unfazed by the backlash, asserting that he sees no harm in individuals learning about ADHD symptoms from his content.
Potential Pitfalls and Concerns
On the other hand, Aish, a 22-year-old also diagnosed with ADHD at University, shares a contrasting perspective. She believes that social media, including TikTok, can be overwhelming due to the inundation of ADHD-related content.
Aish deleted TikTok 6 months ago to mitigate impact.
While acknowledging the role of social media in raising awareness, she highlights the need to combat the spread of misinformation. Aish cites examples of posts claiming that individuals with ADHD cry excessively, a notion she personally finds untrue. She emphasizes the importance of consulting professionals for accurate information.
Insights from a Medical Professional
Dr. Saadia Arshad, a consultant psychiatrist with over 15 years of experience, specializes in treating ADHD and neurodevelopmental disorders. While she recognizes the positive aspects of social media for ADHD awareness, Dr. Arshad warns against self-diagnosis, deeming it harmful. Try this ADHD test now.
Self-convincing without seeking professional help can have adverse consequences. Dr. Arshad encourages individuals who suspect they have ADHD to consult their general practitioner and keep a symptom diary.
Ignoring symptoms or misdiagnosing oneself can prevent access to appropriate assistance.
TikTok’s community guidelines express a commitment to providing reliable information, original content, and an authentic community. They emphasize the importance of trust and accountability both on and off the platform.
As ADHD content continues to increase on TikTok, striking a balance between creating awareness and mitigating potential risks remains crucial. Seeking professional guidance and engaging with credible sources are essential steps to ensure accurate understanding and support for individuals affected by ADHD.