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Do people with ADD and ADHD tend to love gaming?

Michael asked this
October 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM



Interesting question!

I happen to be ADHD (The term ADD isn't actually used by doctors anymore, it's just different types of ADHD) myself, but aside from a few wii things, I'm actually pretty terrible at video games. My eye hand coordination? Let's put it this way: I duck when a ball is thrown towards me. haha

However, I recognize I am only one of the many, MANY ADHDers out there so I did a little search to try and see if there was any special sort of relationship between ADHD and video games. Here's what I found:

"Video games hold special attractions for children with ADHD. A child who’s bothered by distractibility in the real world may be capable of intense focus, or hyperfocus, while playing. Nor is hyperactivity a problem; a child can hold the controllers and stand or pace back and forth in front of the TV as he plays.

For children who struggle with social skills, or lack the skills to play team sports, these games entertain and level the playing field. Computer games are emotionally safe. When a child strikes out in a baseball game, he’s doing it in front of a crowd of peers. But when he makes a mistake while playing a video game, no one else has to know.

Video-game errors aren’t circled in red ink by teachers, either. In fact, making mistakes helps the player improve. By trial and error, he learns the specific action needed to advance the next time. There is satisfaction in steadily improving and, ultimately, winning, with no chance of failing or being teased." -

I may not play much, but I can see how it would appeal to many ADHDers and people in general!

Erin Froehlich answered
October 25, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Michael, I am going to go ahead and assume that you aren't fitting of the "child" label anymore. I also see that you label yourself as a gamer and I have the utmost respect for my fellow brethren.

ADHD is just another way of saying that you have a hard time paying attention the archaic techniques lobbed at you by a generation of leaders who don't understand what it takes to grab your attention. If gaming is one of the ways that you are able to hone in your focus and succeed consistently, then yes, those with ADHD are drawn to it. If you find yourself interested in other immersive platforms like comics, cartoons, anime, and the like, then you have an imagination man...and that is something to be proud of.

Don't let a label get in the way of you enjoying life Michael. Enjoy being a gamer man, the community is amazing and they accept people no matter what the label.

E.M. Wollof from SLN answered
October 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Thanks for the answers, it was just something i was wondering about cause me and a friend are gamers and we both have ADHD so it just made me wonder

Michael answered
December 19, 2012 at 5:25 AM

My 12 year old son with ADHD is so focused when he plays his Xbox games such as Madden, FIFA and any sports related games.

MARLA answered
January 5, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Marla, we have a tendency to view the focus on video games as a negative when compared to a lack of focus in the classroom. This is an unfortunate circumstance.

Video games are more than just a collection of brightly lit images, they operate on a psychological reward system that sustains their mass appeal. By awarding the player intangible rewards for every achievement, the player feels a sense of accomplishment and the game keeps them interested. Coupled with outstanding stories, amazing graphics, and the ability to compete within a social arena, video games speak directly to our technologically advanced children.

Our schools need to start paying more attention to this mode of information transfer. When they do, they may find children are far more attentive, and we may see the moniker ADHD start to fade.

E.M. Wollof from SLN answered
January 7, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Gaming is a release for me. I game when I need to escape the pressures of the "real world". Games tend to be much more captivating of imagination where the real world seems overly structured and processed. The real world is boring for creative and imaginative people.

For instance, In everyday life I have a systematic regimen of tasks to accomplish that are normally quite uneventful, as well as minimally rewarding. I go to work to pay bills by a certain dates. I can go a whole day in the "real world" without my heart racing in suspense, excitement, fear, etc. I can go a whole day without a feeling of success.

When I game I can get these sensations, but I get them a lot quicker. For instance in one of my favorite games titled Skyrim. I can go from creepy dungeons to an epic dragon battles in less than an hour. In the real world Creepy dungeons are blocked off by authorities, and dragons don't exist. I can also go toe to toe with my friends on a Battlefield with Tanks and jets. Even if you joined the military you couldn't do both of those do to the intense training. Now granted the real deal is awesome I'm sure, but the price tag is your career, and sometime your life.

Gaming for me is an escape from the boring mundane everyday grind, but also take into account that I've learned more about history and science from gaming than I have from school teachers elementary to college level. Lets take a recent game called Assassins Creed III. The game is a fictional story based on actual events during the American revolution. I played this game and loved it, but I also got so into the subject matter that I voluntarily researched the era and people in much greater depth. The game got me interested into the actual history.

To go off off E.M. If our backward thinking teachers could step up to the plate and utilize gaming in their teaching I wholeheartedly believe a lot more of our kids would retain and desire to expand upon the knowledge they're taught. Think about your kid coming home and wanting to do his homework because his homework was a form of gaming.

GaRcHoW answered
March 14, 2013 at 9:42 AM
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