ADHD vs Asthma: Understanding Stigma

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ADHD vs Asthma: Understanding Stigma

ADDYTeens are more likely to face discussions as to whether they have something “real” or not. Many people have no problems with sitting still or focusing when they choose to, it’s hard for others to understand why for some, it is not a simple choice.


In a recent post, “ADHD vs Asthma: Why the Stigma?” I explained that I played on a traveling Academy soccer team that was extremely demanding both physically and mentally. Several players had Asthma, I was the only one with ADHD. 


With Asthma, you don’t have to take lung function tests in front of all your friends. With ADHD, you are graded every day in front of your peers, parents and teachers. When you don’t bring what you need to soccer practice, everyone notices. When you don’t give eye contact to people who are talking to you because your mind is elsewhere,everyone notices –  they get offended.


Rarely anyone gets frustrated if someone with Asthma forgets to use their inhaler.


When the soccer game is over, no one is concerned with who used their inhaler and who used their ADHD medication. All the team cares about is who suited up and who performed well in the game. Your ADHD medication is like soccer cleats: it gives you traction that you are supposed to have. It is NOT like “performance enhancing steroids” which are designed to give you an edge over others. It just brings you up to your own level. It helps you play to win.


ADDYTeens, you will need to toughen up a bit, there are a lot of doubters, and loads of haters.  No one looks down on people with Asthma.  Do people with Asthma feel stigmatized by public opinion?  No way.  Why then are people with ADHD stigmatized?  Answer: Because many don’t understand what ADHD is all about. 


Let’s fix that!