It’s a difficult line to walk.
Studies vary but the estimates are as much as 9% of children have ADHD and between 2-5% of adults. That would be on par with the idea that between 1/2 to 2/3 of ADHD does not resolve after childhood, which is contrary to previous clinical belief years ago that ADHD ended when you became an adult. So ADHD in general is actually pretty prevalent.
I think it’s tricky when it comes to deciding who “deserves” a diagnosis. There’s already so much stigma out there regarding ADHD and also so many people get told that they’re “faking it” or don’t have it when they are seeking genuine help. While ADHD may be overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed in some cases, it goes completely undiagnosed and missed in other cases where people are struggling with the disorder and never get the help they need.
It is frustrating when people make light of ADHD or dismiss the diagnosis as not being real. It is also hurtful for people when people say, “Everyone has ADHD” or “Everyone’s a little ADD.” Most of those statements come from people who are naive and haven’t lived with the challenges in their daily lives for years and years.
Bottom line, I can understand being frustrated by the idea that people are faking a diagnosis or trying to get medication or accommodations they don’t need. I don’t want to be in the position, though, of deciding who is deserving of treatment and who isn’t. I want to leave that in the hands of the people themselves and the providers they work closely with. I think everyone who is curious about whether or not they’re dealing with something like ADHD has a right to learn more and see if that’s the case. Not everyone will have it, but other people may. I don’t want to dissuade them from getting help for fear that even people with ADHD will accuse them of faking it.
We’re all in this together, so strength in numbers is never a bad thing.