The Rise of Adult ADD- is technology to blame?

Raising awareness of all things ADHD! - ADHD marvin meyer SYTO3xs06fU unsplash

I’ve seen a lot of articles recently that state that the amount of people being diagnosed with ADHD recently is through the roof, especially amongst adults. So what’s causing this change? Is it merely that people are developing symptoms in later life due to environmental factors or is just that they missed being diagnosed at an early stage? Either way we’ll look at both sides of the argument.

There is a lot of information out there on ADHD and of course a lot of varying opinions, but one thing that cannot be denied is that ADHD definitely exists. There are some people who will tell you it’s bad parenting, which is sad, but if that were the case I wouldn’t have it; I grew up with super strict parents. There are some people who will tell you it’s just a child choosing not to behave. Yet, those of us in the know understand that ADHD is about more that just disruptive behaviour. It’s a lack of being able to focus on one thing in particular. It’s forgetting to take the one thing with you that you desperately need despite trying your absolute best to remember. It’s interrupting somebody mid-conversation cause you know quite sure when it’s your turn to get a word in.

“Our dopamine levels are being spiked constantly like never before due to technology.”


Now that we’ve made the case for ADHD existing and not just been the figment of someone’s imagination, let’s try to understand why ADHD is on the rise. A part of me thinks it may have something to do with the fact that everyday stimulation has increased tenfold over the years, due to the advance of some rather impressive technology. When I was growing up, it was video players, portable CD players and dial up internet connections (yes I’m actually that old), which though they seemed impressive of the time still required a period of waiting to get to work. More often that not you had to rewind the video before you could play it, change over the CD for a different type of music and drum your fingers to that annoying screeching dialling noise that helped you access the internet.

These days, we have streaming services for movie and music which means at a few clicks of a button we can watch a movie, not just at home with a video player but out and about through mobile phones. We don’t’ even have to connect to the internet every time now, we just go on our computer or phone and without two seconds we can google endless amounts of information. Effectively all this means that our brain can be stimulated quicker and more effectively in our everyday lives.

“Of course it may just be that lots of children got missed being diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD when they were younger, but many of those never struggled in the education system, which makes it more mysterious.”


Now I know what your thinking, ADHD isn’t caused by technology, because after all, some young children are diagnosed with it before they even really come to grasps with mobile phones or gaming. I’m not saying that every single case of ADHD is caused by technology, but what is ADHD when you get right down to it on a scientific level? Well let’s think about it; one of the biggest factors of ADHD is a lack of the chemical regulator dopamine which means less self-discipline happening in the brain. Dopamine hits can increase with things like exercise, caffeine and generally anything which gives your brain pleasure. So if your brain is getting regular pleasure or dopamine hits from easily accessible technology, why an earth would it want to focus on mediocre tasks that become boring?

Let me conclude this article by saying I don’t know if I’m right and ADHD doesn’t purely come from technology, I only got a computer when I was about 8 (a big bulky thing that took forever to load). What I am saying is that the current education system and every day mediocre tasks we have to complete, can’t complete with the dopamine hits we are getting from technology, which may explain why ADHD is being diagnosed more frequently. I’m no expert though so feel free to disagree in the comments below.


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