Last updated:

March 9, 2024


 min read

Benefits of ADHD: Does it make you smart?

Unveiling the link between ADHD, intelligence, and executive function, debunking myths while exploring success strategies for individuals with ADHD.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not limited to childhood; it can persist into adulthood, affecting millions of adults worldwide. ADHD can bring challenges in various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and daily functioning. While conventional treatments like medication and therapy are commonly prescribed, some adults with ADHD explore alternative options, such as homeopathic remedies. However, one thing is certain: there are many highly successful people who have ADHD.

Understanding ADHD in Adults

Adult ADHD is often misunderstood and overlooked, leading to individuals grappling with symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and disorganization. These symptoms can cause significant distress, affecting productivity and overall well-being. Despite the misconception that ADHD is exclusive to children, it is increasingly recognized as a prevalent condition in adults.

Common ADHD symptoms in adults include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus.
  • Impulsive behavior and poor impulse control.
  • Restlessness and an inability to sit still.
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization.

ADHD can be a lifelong challenge, and for many adults, it's essential to explore various treatment options, including alternative approaches.

Does having ADHD make you smart?

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may struggle with attention and memory. This may make them appear less intelligent than an average person to some. On the other side, they can appear wiser than others due to their improved powers of observation and capacity to hyperfocus on topics of interest. Despite the fact that ADHD and IQ are two distinct traits, they can sometimes intersect.


Is ADHD and IQ related?

ADHD is a neurological disorder that impairs concentration and contributes to hyperactive and impulsive behaviour. You can have any degree of IQ if you have ADHD. Your IQ may range from intellectual impairment to average or higher.

Brain scans show that there are disparities in the brain alterations linked to ADHD and IQ, and that these differences occur independently of one another. Meanwhile, a 2017 study employing fMRI technology found that connectivity across distinct brain regions influences IQ. More connections lead to higher levels of intelligence.

Breaking the Myths of ADHD and High IQ

The misconception that persons with ADHD are smarter than average continues. When their children are diagnosed with ADHD, some parents may find solace in this thought. It's essential to realise, however, that ADHD and IQ exist independently of one another and are unrelated. Assuming that ADHD behaviours are nothing more than indicators of intelligence may cause the affected individual to be delayed support and treatment.

It's also essential to realise that ADHD's cognitive difficulties are not a symptom of low ability. According to a study in 2012, cognitive deficits from ADHD were not associated with low IQ. Even brilliant people with ADHD can struggle in areas such as academics and executive function.

Does ADHD have an effect on Executive function ?

Most people with ADHD struggle with executive function, or higher-level cognitive functions in the brain. These difficulties include issues with self-control, planning, and working memory. These characteristics are passed down via family and may have a genetic basis, but they are usually unrelated to IQ. Executive function issues have been associated with problems at home, job, and education.

While ADHD is defined by challenges with concentration and hyperactivity, doctors are becoming more aware that deficiencies in executive function, the brain's management system, are at the root of the condition. ADHD is built on executive function. Most people with ADHD suffer with it to some extent. It has an impact on our academic lives, professions, and personal lives.

It is essential to emphasise that executive function has nothing to do with intelligence. It is not a sign of personal failure or weakness. It is, however, a symptom of a relatively frequent medical condition.

Adults with high intelligence and ADHD

Due to the developmental delays that characterize the condition, children with the disorder are often three to six years behind their chronological peers in social / emotional functioning. At the same time, highly intelligent children with the condition tend to be intellectually three to five years ahead of their peers.

Later in life, high-IQ individuals with ADHD have more cognitive impairments, functional deficits, and comorbidities than high-IQ adults who do not have ADHD. Furthermore, the degree of their executive function abnormalities, particularly in working memory and processing speed, is similar to that of other adults with ADHD.

Hopeful Note

The truth is that none of us is capable of maintaining that sense of control. Since you can't access your capabilities when you need them, you may believe they don't exist. We are not expecting artists to create masterpieces every single day; instead, try to be more compassionate to yourself and be kinder to yourself. 

Many persons with ADHD find comfort in highly stimulating, challenging, and supportive work environments that encourage creative thinking. Rather than attempting to stifle their steady flow of ideas, people who take the risk of sharing them discover that they are well appreciated, even if they occasionally disturb others. Their vast imagination enables them to make their work more enjoyable, exciting, and colourful. 

It is important to remember that your symptoms, diagnosis, or IQ do not determine who you are. Don't let these labels define your life. Many persons with ADHD are successful. The prism through which you see yourself in connection to the rest of the world is what creates the difference. 

Empower yourself on your ADHD journey with Rocket Health's tailored solutions. Take the first step towards managing symptoms effectively and achieving your goals. Get started today!


Website, N. (2023c, March 13). Symptoms.

Brown, T. E. & Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders, Yale University School of Medicine. (2008). ADD/ADHD and impaired executive function in clinical practice. In Current Medicine Group LLC, Current Psychiatry Reports (pp. 407–411) [Journal-article].