Does ADHD Have Any Benefits?

I’m starting to see my impulsivity as a strength

Ryan Fan
5 min readJan 3


Photo from Andrii Zastrozhnov on Shutterstock

As a special education teacher, I hear from students with ADHD about whether they take medication or not. I don’t ask for the information and it’s private, but sometimes kids or parents will divulge it anyway, in an era where stigma around disability is, fortunately, receding.

Some kids, from my vantage point, really do benefit from their medication and are able to focus significantly more on school. It depends on the kid, and medication is truly a lifesaver for many with ADHD.

As a disclaimer, this article is not intended as medical advice. Instead, it’s a personal reflection and recounting of personal experience. Anyone who needs the assistance of a provider for strategies to deal with ADHD or medication should listen to their provider.

Over the summer, I was also diagnosed with ADHD. I tried medication and was prescribed a drug that didn’t really work for me. I didn’t really feel any different, and I experienced a lot of side effects related to nausea, feeling like crap when I exercised, and GI issues. Just because the medication didn’t work for me doesn’t rule out that other medications might work well in the future, but my provider and I both agreed to stop the medication and go back to what I was doing before.

I have always been impulsive and easily distracted. In certain peer groups, I have a reputation for this impulsivity. I’ll make sudden, major decisions based on how I feel and my gut feelings. I won’t be cautious enough or think things through. I rely on instinct and gut to simply guide everything I do.

I accept the fact that this might be simply who I am. I was impulsive in the past, and I am impulsive now. Since I was in an incredibly busy season with law school, a busy job, and a lot else going on in my personal life. I understand my ADHD may be leading to this taking on a lot on my plate and constantly making me a little overwhelmed.

But, as I said to my therapist:

“I’m impulsive, but I’ve come to accept that that’s who I am.”

ADHD has a lot of cons

I don’t mean for this piece to come off as romanticizing ADHD. There are a lot of cons…



Ryan Fan

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: