“I’m ‘The ADHD Doctor’ on TikTok. Here’s How the App Has Changed Me.”
“I never thought I’d end up as a content creator on TikTok with a sizable following. I was initially reluctant to engage in this platform, as I felt it was undignified for a physician to do so. Now, as I am completely immersed in it, I recognize the value in providing research-backed, data-driven information in a palatable, engaging manner.”
I am a physician who specializes in ADHD and who also happens to have ADHD – and I’m on TikTok. No wait, it gets better. I am on TikTok and I’m over 30 years old. If you haven’t already stopped reading in anger, please let me explain myself.
At the start of the pandemic, as billions around the world downloaded TikTok, I, like many others, considered the platform to be nothing more than an incredible time-waster for preteens.
But my patients began introducing me to another side of ADHD TikTok. During our appointments, they’d tell me about the latest tidbit of mental health information they learned on the app. Sometimes the information they gleaned was insightful and legitimate. Other times, it was absolute garbage.
Still, I marveled at this impressive app for the way it engaged so many people, and for the way it was bringing mental health out of the shadows. I began to realize that TikTok wasn’t just a tween fad, but a powerful platform for information transmission. People don’t want to read an article or watch a documentary nowadays – they wanted bite-sized, digestible pieces of information that do it all: educate, entertain, and inspire.
So, I joined TikTok.
The ADHD TikTok Experience
It was weird at first. I was super self-conscious. My first video probably got 30 views. Considering that my knees couldn’t keep up with trending dances and that my lip-syncing skills were far below average, it was difficult to see an avenue for growth. I nearly gave up, but part of me really wanted to create an educational safe space to teach others about ADHD (with hopes that it would at least benefit my existing patients if they were to see such a thing). So I continued – and eventually got to more than 356,000 followers.
As my numbers grew, I became more invested in reaching marginalized populations who have historically been left out of ADHD and mental health discussions. I was able to interact with individuals from all walks of life – those who were struggling to find a name for their symptoms, those who didn’t have access to a physician, and those searching for next steps after recognizing ADHD symptoms in their child.
I started doing TikTok Lives as a way to answer questions from viewers in real time, and guide them in their journey toward symptomatic relief. I’ve even been able to mentor aspiring physicians with ADHD in the process.
The Importance of ADHD TikTok
I never thought I’d end up as a content creator on TikTok with a sizable following. I was initially reluctant to engage in this platform, as I felt it was undignified for a physician to do so. Now, as I am completely immersed in it, I recognize the value in providing research-backed, data-driven information in a palatable, engaging manner.
But a big reason why I continue to contribute on TikTok is the vocal, supportive, and endlessly empowering ADHD TikTok community. I’m not ashamed to say the feedback I get from followers has been insanely validating to my experience as a woman with ADHD.
Being on TikTok has also impacted how I practice. I am acutely aware of today’s misconceptions and fears about ADHD, the controversies surrounding it, the limitations of seeking care and concerns of stigmatization. I’ve also learned more about what patients need and want from their psychiatrists.
We need more experts to share sound, educational information in an environment not completely saturated by medical hubris. I strongly believe that this is the pathway for those looking to reach even the most vulnerable populations.
And for others dealing with ADHD and mental health issues, platforms like TikTok can give them that first exposure to meaningful information that could lead to diagnosis, treatment, and a better quality of life.
If you do get on TikTok, look me up @thepsychdoctormd (but don’t say a word about my dancing).
ADHD TikTok: Next Steps
- Self-Test: Does My Child Have ADHD? Symptom Test for Kids
- Free Download: An “Ethics Manual” for Your Teen’s Electronics
- Read: My ADD Sabotages My Social Skills Online
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