Intrusive Ideas: A Signal of ADHD?

On an episode of an ADHD-related podcast I lately heard, the visitor shared a well-recognized backstory — one among lifelong frustration and candy reduction after receiving an ADHD prognosis in maturity. Recognized with ADHD in my early 30s, I knew this story all too properly.

Then, virtually nonchalantly, the visitor recalled a time when he had an intrusive thought of spitting in a pal’s face. He recalled how bothered he was by this thought that appeared from nowhere, and the way laborious it was to tame.

My god. His anecdote transported me again to the time I needed to cease myself from doing the very same factor. So troubling and sudden was the urge, I needed to go away the room for a psychological reset. Why the hell would I need to spit in somebody’s face, not to mention my pal’s?

And why the hell did I’ve the identical expertise because the podcast visitor? Did it recommend that our shared intrusive, weird thought was tied to ADHD?

L’appel du Vide: Exploring the Name of the Void

Like a chilly case flung open by a brand new piece of proof, the bothersome expertise compelled me to start some contemporary digging. My first little bit of analysis led me to l’appel du vide — “the decision of the void.” It’s a time period that describes the sudden thought or urge to leap from a excessive place. Like many others, I’ve encountered the decision of the void atop sure tall buildings, rapidly suppressing an undesirable urge to vault myself over the sting.

[Read: ADHD and Obsessive Thoughts — How to Stop the Endless Analysis]

However the name of the void isn’t restricted to the sensation of leaping from nice heights. It has developed right into a time period that captures different sudden, worrisome ideas like: “What would occur if I twisted the steering wheel and plowed into oncoming visitors?”

These intrusive, out-of-character ideas have lengthy troubled us people. (See Edgar Allan Poe’s The Imp of the Perverse, for one.) However these urges, I discovered, are literally a common feeling, and so they’re not tied to a need to hurt ourselves or to die. In a 2012 study, Hames et al. gave the phenomenon a brand new moniker — excessive place phenomenon — and instructed that, removed from being a need to die, the decision would possibly really be an affirmation of the urge to stay.

OK, so I discovered a complete lot in regards to the name of the void, however I wasn’t certain if the spitting urge fell squarely below this phenomenon. I additionally couldn’t discover something that immediately hyperlinks the decision of the void to ADHD.

Intrusive Ideas and ADHD

Nevertheless, I did discover one other eye-opening study throughout my investigation. It concerned faculty college students with ADHD (and a management group) who took questionnaires that measured ranges of hysteria and worrisome ideas.

[Read: “Why Do I Assume the Worst-Case Scenario?” How to Stop the ADHD Mind from Worrying]

Compared to the management group, these with ADHD skilled increased rankings on all intrusive-thought scales. “Our outcomes recommend that worrisome, intrusive ideas are an essential phenotypical expression of adults with ADHD,” the researchers wrote.

There it was. I put collectively a prosaic clarification for an incident that had bugged me for years: I’m extra prone to have intrusive ideas, and Spitgate, I presume, appeared to be a warped model of a phenomenon a number of folks expertise. It’s what occurs, I suppose, when the decision of the void meets ADHD.

Spitting Mad

Phew. This was comforting (and, on reflection, not stunning). Perhaps I’m not a horrible individual in any case! Perhaps the urge to spit in my pal’s face got here from a need to take care of my friendship, which could endure a little bit of a hiccup had been I to comply with by way of on the urge. Aren’t brains bizarre?

Anyway, I don’t really feel the decision or different unusual urges a lot today. I attribute that change to remedy, which dims my head chatter and retains it at tolerable ranges. Add in a routine of anxiety-busting train, and the decision virtually vanishes. That mentioned, you’re unlikely to seek out me striding atop the Eiffel Tower anytime quickly.

Intrusive Ideas: Subsequent Steps


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