We’re thinking about ADHD wrong

For decades, the answer has been medication. Looking through the medical lens, that seems to make sense. Medication does help some people.

But if we zoom out and look at ADHD through an anthropological lens we find something quite different.

We often refer to people with ADHD as hunters.

What can we learn from hunter gatherer tribes?

They spend most of their time outside. We spend most of our time inside.

They learn through play. We learn through coercion and compliance.

They live in accordance with nature. We live in opposition to it. We’re stuck in a human zoo.

I was diagnosed with ADHD at 27. I decided against medication. And I’ve been on a five year journey to find ways to deal with it without having to medicate myself.

During that time I’ve experimented with 100s of activities – yoga, meditation, breathwork, cold exposure, journaling, exercise, productivity hacks and diet – to find a method that works for me.

I’ve researched indegionous tribes, eastern philosophy, yogic sciences and western science to find the answers to how other people can triumph with ADHD without having to rely on medication.

We’re living through the War on Attention

We’re sinking deeper into a technologically dominated world. With social media, gaming and endless video calls dictating our lives. Yet when we break away from this – even if just for a moment – our ADHD symptoms begin to dissipate. 

Why is this happening? 

I believe the answer lies in that anthropological view. 

There is clear evidence that ADHD is not so much a disorder. But an evolutionary mismatch to the modern, technologically obsessed and fragile world we’ve constructed.

There are two options for us:

  1. Ditch the modern world and live like hunter gatherers (our natural habitat)
  2. Borrow ideas from hunter gatherers, combined with the techniques I’ve been using for five years, to thrive within the boundaries of this fragile modern world.

I’m on a mission to change the way we think about ADHD (and the wider attentional problems faced in the world today).

I don’t have neatly packed answers—I don’t think anyone does. I mostly raise questions and share what I’m learning and building. I’ll know I’m doing things right if you start thinking in a new way.

About me

I’ve been building businesses since I was 22.

And sold one in 2017. The same year I was diagnosed ADHD.

My wife and I have lived in Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, Tbilisi and Cusco.

Now we live in the Peak District, UK, with our one year old son, Ronnie.

I’ve given lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham University and General Assembly. And spoken at conferences and events across the UK.

Today, I co-own financial technology startup, Fellow Pay. Run growth at The Tech Dept. And rant about drug-free ADHD on social media.

At the weekend you’ll find my trail running through the Peak District. Playing with my son. And watching F1.