Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Religion and ADHD

Loaded Topic?  Sure.  I'm hoping to get some discussion going with this on, either on Google+ and/or Facebook.  Notice I said religion, and not spirituality.  What's the difference?  I suppose it depends on who you ask.  For the sake of discussion, lets say Spirituality is your belief of a higher power.  This could be your Higher Power in NA/AA, God, Allah, Thor, Superman, AOL... it yours to have and understand as you will. For some, there is no higher power per se, just life to live how one chooses.  All of these are acceptable and work for this discussion.  Religion, on the other hand, while still being your will, is more organized, and we'll consider it to be a provided method, in a somewhat controlled environment, with which you learn about and your higher power and support/practice your beliefs.  I know this may be a bit unorthodox (no pun intended...) given our definition of higher power, but work with me.

I have heard many (And certainly not all) arguments for and against "organized religion."  It's too controlling, it's not controlling enough.  It's not completely in line with my beliefs.  There's nothing out there that I agree with 100%.  I don't believe in God.  Religion is to commercialized...  There are a lot of reasons to challenge the idea of Church, Tent, Prayer, and anything organized.
How is someone with ADD or ADHD affected by organized religion?  Similarly to anything else in life... Hyper focused or not interested.  Maybe some rollercoaster between the two.  Some with ADHD need a congregational support system with a leader and a system of practice (we'll call this church).  Some with ADHD need only their religious texts (if applicable) and time to study.  Others yet need none of this, and choose simply to believe in themselves, and that's okay too.
Here's why someone with ADHD might not need religion.  We can research on our own anything we question in the history of what we believe, especially with today's techonological developments.  It's so much easier to learn and practice on our own time, when we know ourselves and our capacity to retain knowledge and focus.  We can read the histories of Islam, Judaism, Hindi, Christianity; the debates, the news, the wars.  For someone with ADHD, it is often easier to learn on our own, as we see fit, then to absorb what is set in
front of us by a support group, priest, minister, etc.  There are also those who are aetheists, and are free from the burden of judgement and compliance, aside from that of mankind.  The media, law, and public forum are enough to guide them.

Here's why someone with ADHD might Need religion.  We can't always give up our bad habits, vices, and sins on our own.  It's too easy to give in.  It's too easy to stick with what's familiar and feels good. I will give my own example here: I have long recognized personal habits which, I feel, are ugly and undesireable.  I eat whatever and whenever I can.  I procrastinate.  A lot.  I'm more than happy to just sit and do nothing, literally, since it's easier than doing something.  However, more recently, I have come to identify these traits as something more serious: Sloth and Gluttony.  Of course these are my own opinions, and you're welcome to disagree.  The point is this: I cannot overcome them alone.  I need support.  I need a regular practice which strengthens my spirituality and reminds me to endeavor to be a better person.  Most importantly, I need the structure which organized religion or support often provides. 

I was born into a Catholic family, baptized, but not more.  I was not regularly taken to church.  I have never received communion, nor do I fully understand what it even is.  It is my lack of understanding that leads to my fear to dive in and pursue joining a parish or congregation at a catholic or any other church.  So I am stuck.  I know I want more, but don't have the courage to get it, or the knowledge of where to begin. 

so that's where I am.  I don't expect anyone to agree or even accept my beliefs, my practices, or my opinions in this blog.  I am, however, VERY interested to hear what others have to say, not necessarily about their own beliefs, religion or otherwise, but rather how they feel about the topic of Religion and how it relates to ADHD in general.   

Please share, comment, and as always, thanks for reading! 



  1. Ha. The flowchart! It's accurate. And I can kind of relate to what you're saying even as a person without ADHD.

  2. Damn! I didn't even realize I had this comment! Thank you for commenting, and please share anything you feel others might relate to!

  3. Interesting article The only thing I have to share is once upon a time a friend commented that I was the only person of my religion that had ever been nice and accepting of her and her religion. There are thousands upon thousands of people of my religion and although that friend could have only met a few out of those thousands - I knew the statement rang true to what I had seen from the good people of my religion. This was a very eye opening comment for me. Since then, I have tried to remember the impact we have on others and tried hard not to allow myself to discard a friendship based on religious beliefs alone.

  4. Its amazing what the lack of tolerance some people exhibit in the name of religion teaches others about that religion. Right or wrong, it spreads a particular view as to how that religion leads its "flock".

    Thank you for reading and contributing!

  5. I only just found this post.

    As someone with ADHD and a host of other issues I understand the desire for structure. Never be ashamed of what you don't know. Simply state, I don't know, but I would like to learn; can someone help me? The worst thing they can say is no, and if that is the case you've lost nothing and gained a bit of knowledge about that church.