What Social Media Does to an ADHD Brain

What is it about the ping you hear from your cellphone, alerting you to an email, tweet, or status update? Why do you feel excited when you see the cute picture you posted this morning already has 8 comments?

Researchers are beginning to study how our brains are affected by social media, particularly when a person has ADHD. That little thrill you get when you see reactions to your posts and that urge to check for updates is real—researchers are learning that the brain is releasing neurotransmitters that are related to pleasure and a feeling of being better focused when we receive these notifications.

For adults and teens affected by ADHD, social media can interfere with daily activities and relationships. Young adults may be spending nearly nine hours a day using their smartphones. Already, there is growing evidence that people affected by ADHD are more likely to