Should I Tell My Friends I Have ADHD?

Many ADHD adults struggle with whether to tell friends they have the disorder. Some believe it is better that friends understand what they are going through so they can be more understanding and flexible when their symptoms flare up. Others worry that telling friends they have adult ADHD will scare them away or cause friends to start treating them with kid gloves.

According to experts, there's really no one right answer. In many cases, the right decision may be based on the severity of your symptoms, and/or the closeness of the relationship.

When Your Symptoms Are Mild

If your symptoms are mild and you are able to manage or disguise most of them with medication and therapy, you may decide there's no reason to tell friends you have adult ADHD unless you feel that telling them would strengthen your friendship.

When Your Symptoms Are Severe

On the other hand, if your symptoms are more severe and/or frequently disrupt your life and the lives of others, telling friends you have the condition may help them be more understanding, forgiving, and flexible when they're on the receiving end of your symptoms.

Telling a Prospective Spouse

It's always wise to reveal your disorder when you're dating someone who is highly likely to become a permanent life partner. Adult ADHD can negatively impact everything from your ability to earn a living or regulate your moods to your capacity for intimacy. The disorder is also hereditary.

If you're contemplating marriage with someone you're dating, telling him about your adult ADHD and coming up with a plan for how the two of you can deal with it before any issues arise can strengthen your relationship. Be honest with him about how your symptoms may impact your marriage, your capacity to get and keep a meaningful and well-paying job, your ability to be comfortable during intimacy, and how being an ADHD parent will affect your potential children (who are at a high risk of inheriting the disorder).

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