Psychiatrist Dr. Eraka Bath sat down with co-hosts Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade to unpack the stigmas and biases surrounding ADHD in the Black community on the latest episode of Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji.
According to the mental health professional, a misconception that particularly affects the Black community regarding ADHD is the notion that if someone isn’t constantly overperforming, it’s due to intentional laziness.
“I feel like our community is one where we believe in hard work, ‘grinding’ and the hustle,” the psychiatrist stated. “The threshold for us to make any mistake is very low so we have to be working hard — twice as hard, ten times as hard. And so if someone is underperforming, the perception is you’re lazy or you’re not doing anything.”
“The stigma [surrounding those struggling with ADHD] creates a barrier to even naming any diagnoses,” Dr. Bath noted.
Dr. Bath said, “Many school teachers look at Black behavior through the lens of ‘That’s a bad kid that’s acting up.’ Black girls in particular are more adultified. Its as if they’re loosing their childhood because they’re [deemed] loud or extra or having an attitude.”
“They could just be eager or suffering from ADHD,” the mental health professional expressed.
“It’s really about attention and focus,” Dr. Bath added on what she wishes people knew about ADHD as a disorder. “It has nothing to do with IQ. People get it twisted all the time. It’s really about focus, organization, distractibility. There’s nothing about intelligence, right, aptitude, and there’s nothing there. And so, that’s like a MythBuster because then, I think that makes people relax, right…and it’s also not about being lazy. And it’s actually a neurological disorder.”
In the episode’s opener, a statistic shared by Jama Psychiatry highlighted that “nearly 15% of Black adults currently have ADHD.” In addition, the Jama Network Open further detailed that “ADHD Disgnoses among adults are growing 4x faster that ADHD diagnoses among children in the U.S.”
Like children living with ADHD, Henson explained that adults with the diagnosis “have difficulty focusing or just functioning.” Moreover, around “two thirds of those with ADHD also have other mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and sleep disorder,” according to the actress.
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Actress, comedienne and Nailed It host Nicole Byer stopped by during the episode to discuss how being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 32 has affected her and her career. In addition, 25-year-old Christina Brown shared her traumatic experience growing up with ADHD and how the disorder continuously impacts her adult life.
Watch the latest episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji here.