ADHD and temporality: a desynchronized being-in-the-world

Mikka Nielsen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskning


According to the official diagnostic manual, ADHD is defined by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity and patterns of behaviour are characterized as failure to pay attention to details, excessive talking, fidgeting, or inability to remain seated in appropriate situations (DSM-5). In this paper, however, I will ask if we can understand what we call ADHD in a different way than through the symptom descriptions and will advocate for a complementary, phenomenological understanding of ADHD as a certain being in the world – more specifically as a matter of a phenomenological difference in temporal experience and/or rhythm. Inspired by both psychiatry’s experiments with people diagnosed with ADHD and their assessment of time and phenomenological perspectives on mental disorders and temporal disorientation I explore the experience of ADHD as a disruption in the phenomenological experience of time and a state of desynchronisation with the environment.
I will present empirical data collected from interviews with adults diagnosed with ADHD and observations while visiting, hanging out with and chatting with the interviewees. From small data excerpts I will illustrate how the verifiable impairment in time in people with ADHD is manifested in an embodied experience of being out of sync and I will argue that the experience of ADHD is both characterised as 1) an inner restlessness and bodily arrhythmia; 2) an intersubjective desynchronisation between the individual and its surroundings; and 3) a feeling of lacking behind socially due to difficulties in social skills. I will end my presentation by opening up for a discussion about ADHD as not only a disorder located in the individual but also as an intersubjective phenomenon.
Publikationsdato9 okt. 2015
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 9 okt. 2015
BegivenhedSocial Pathology of Contemporary Civilization: 6th International Conference - Aalborg, Danmark
Varighed: 8 okt. 20159 okt. 2015
Konferencens nummer: 6th


KonferenceSocial Pathology of Contemporary Civilization