Creative style and achievement in ADHD adults

Here is the abstract:

Previous research has suggested that adults with ADHD perform better on some measures of creativity than non-ADHD adults. The present study replicated previous findings using a standardized measure of creativity (the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults, Goff & Torrance, 2002) and extended previous research by investigating real-world creative achievement among adults with ADHD. Results indicated that adults with ADHD showed higher levels of original creative thinking on the verbal task of the ATTA and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without ADHD. In addition, comparison of creative styles using the FourSight Thinking Profile (Puccio 2002) found that preference for idea generation was higher among ADHD participants, whereas preference for problem clarification and idea development was greater among non-ADHD participants. These findings have implications for real-world application of the creative styles of adults with and without ADHD.

The paper, by Holly A. White and Priti Shah, is here.  Note that ADHD individuals score high on "verbal originality."  Here is a previous White paper on ADHD and creativity.

It's also worth repeating the more general point that many (most?) ADHD individuals have a high variance of focus abilities, not a complete inability to focus on something.  They can be some of the world's best focusers, under the right circumstances.


But is that what manufacturers/industry really want... creative people?
Would you want an airline mechanic with ADD?
A nurse?
A waiter?

If I suffer from ADHD, and by the nature of the condition am not capable of fulfilling many jobs' requirements, what do I say? 'Sorry, I'm a creative, so I really should be a writer/director.'

I'm sorry, I'd love to see ADHD as a blessing, but at this point its hard to see it as anything but a liability.

Gatto would not be surprised. According to him and the writings of the initial proponents of compulsory state controlled education, stamping out individuals "unpredictability" or creativity was the goal. They wanted assembly lines and they didn't want creative destruction...creative destruction and independent thinking individuals are bad for the established institutions.

As someone who actually does suffer from ADHD, I'm glad I was diagnosed and I'm glad I can get medication for it. I'm happier and more productive because of it (and I haven't noticed any loss of creativity).

It would seem Delirious hasn't had any personal experience with ADHD. It's not a crippling disorder if you know how to handle it. It's all about learning what clicks your brain and what doesn't (which everyone has to do at some point, ADHD or not.) My brother, with ADHD, would make a wonderful doctor. Because he's fascinated by the medicine and LOVES interacting with people. However, he would make a terrible artist, musician, etc. (all "traditional" ADHD fields) because he doesn't care about them at all. Just putting it in perspective.

It's less of a "disorder" and more of a difference of brain function. Nothing is wrong, it's just different than a non-ADHD brain.

I think I'm fighting back against the sunshiny idea of everyone being able to choose their careers.
I don't think the job market is so catering; many people have to do work, at different points, that they are not ideally suited for. As an ADHD "carrier", I feel very uncomfortable in the job market; I (and most with the condition) have a long history of work calamities/ disasters.

No employer wants to hear "sorry, I can't focus on things unless I'm interested in them." Nor should they have to.

Definitely on the superb focus for some things - Having ADHD just means you need to find a career where what you easily focus on is the purpose of your work.

Give me something to design, or a problem to solve and the world melts away (when I'm working intently you basically need to wave your hand in front of my face to break me out of whatever I'm working on... my boss doesn't even bother asking me a question before he's broken my trance anymore).

That's quite the misconception. People usually wind up doing what they do for a reason -- you may not see it going forward but you will looking back. This isn't a disorder in the sense that whoever has ADHD is "broken". Some peoples mind's wander more than others, some think faster, and some are less attentive. But the difficulty to focus on monotonous tasks makes up for itself in the trance like state those with ADHD can find themselves in.

"This isn't a disorder in the sense that whoever has ADHD is "broken"."

Agreed. It's a disorder in the sense that it's getting in the way.

"That's quite the misconception. People usually wind up doing what they do for a reason -- you may not see it going forward but you will looking back."

If you see it looking back, then are are already at the destination. For people who are not there yet, what is the misconception, exactly?

Sorry wrong thread. :LP

"if I know where they are, I don't move them, whether or not they are in the "right" place. (Usually I just leave them in my coat pocket.)"

In my house I instituted a policy of "if the right place for something isn't written down, then the right place is where it is." Noone else follows it, but that's the policy.

Part of the problem is being an introvert I don't have the energy to rearrange stuff constantly. The ES-J does it for a living. It's like a game until someone loses an i-pod.

They can be some of the world's best focusers, under the right circumstances.

Ritalin is a lifesaver. That and a personal assistant if one has the executive functioning skills of a 4-6 year old...

Mr. E's experience is my experience. Almost everyone who speaks with me for even a short time remarks that I'm smart; everyone who works with me for even a medium amount of time grows to hate it. I have no long-term plan that I can manage to because I cannot manage.

That movie "Limitless" that's coming out might as well be about ADHD people. "Take this pill and stop wasting your potential."

I'd like to echo Mr. E and bcg. Except for the part where the medication works. I have yet to find medication that yields anything close to that sort of result, and I have worked my way through most of the options.

"I cried every time I took the medicine for the first week, because it simply wasn't fair that I had tried so hard to be focused and productive FOR DECADES and a little pill gave me more focus and persistence than any system, effort, or anything I tried."

This. I have ADD.

I was doing *everything* right before my diagnosis -- working in a field I loved, eating well, exercising, etc. etc. -- and I was still failing at my first major job. It took me 10 hours to do what my co-workers could do in 8, no matter how hard I tried. The same with college: I couldn't focus in "boring" classes and I couldn't focus in exceptionally interesting classes, which meant I didn't do as well as I could have.

Then I found an open-minded doctor (this was when adults, somehow, couldn't get ADD, as if it just faded at age 18), and started the medicine I still take 20 years later.

I resemble those remarks. However, they don't change the (often overstated) point that a big reason it's a problem for 7 year olds is adult expectations. If children naturally sat in rows and stayed in single-file lines we wouldn't need schools at all.

"After being treated for chronic sinusitis last year my main symptoms of ADHD disappeared."

What treatment did you receive?

Nasonex, which is a steroid, and it is possible the drug itself is elleviating the ADHD symptoms rather than the ADHD symptoms being caused by the sinusitis. However, the ADHD symptoms did not clear up until my sinuses did which was a few months after I started taking Nasonex, and the ADHD symptoms also temporarily vanished whenever I used Afrin to clear my sinuses for a day or so, which simply reduces swelling by vasoconstriction. So my best guess is that the inflammation itself was causing the ADHD symptoms either by pushing on the profrontal cortex or interfering with its supply of blood, but I really have no idea.

I found that ADHD meds made me more creative, also more hospitalized. Talking to cardiologists about a possible fix for that so I can be smart again.

But yes, definitely creative. Not necessarily *usefully* so, mind. No one really seems to have a need for my unending stream of "interesting ways you could make a business that could not possibly succeed", no matter how awesome the "world's worst theme park" is on paper.

Creativity is often treated as an unambiguously awesome thing, because for many people, the artist and other creative types is elevated on a pedestal. But I think it's a lot more complicated than that. Like any technology, creativity is neither good nor bad. I have extreme energy for economic research, and on my projects, I am hyperfocused even if I am doing too many things at once. But as that oftentimes takes resources away from my family, and can often lead to a floating kind of mental presence when I am talking with loved ones, I may inadvertently be harming - even badly - the people I love the most, like my wife or my children. If you act as though your creative expression is your sole right, and no one can tell you otherwise, you may find yourself alone - fired from your job, divorced, estranged. And you will have no one to blame but yourself when that does occur. I had to come to that place recently. I hope I can steer my life in the direction where I am able to live at my potential and maintain loving relationships with those closest to me, but I also know how much effort in creatively solving the unique challenges that ADD presents for me it will take.


Do you have sinusitis or do you just take Claritin because it makes you think more clearly? After my recent experience, I am very curious about the relationship between sinusitis and ADHD.

The only info on-line I have been able to find is a study connecting adenotonsillectomy — the surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids to improvements in ADHD symptoms in children. The mechanism is beleived to be through a secondary sleep disturbence.

And an off-hand comment at the end of this info sheet indicating that some of the medical community is exploring a connection between ADHD and sinusitis.

That was, the study screened children under treatment for ADHD for allergic rhinitis.

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