ADHD brains work differently and don’t properly connect an action with the dopamine response that makes them want to do the action.

Dr. Russell A. Barkley describes ADHD as primarily a motivation-deficit disorder. This is because ADHD affects executive function.

Motivation Bridge is a nice way to visualize this.

For neurotypical people, motivation bridge is mostly intact with some small gaps that can be easily overcome with will power and self-discipline.

For people with motivation-deficit disorder, half of the metaphorical motivational bridge may be missing. This makes it very difficult for someone with ADHD to do something even though it may be just as important to them as it is for someone else without a motivational disorder.

This causes ADHDers to avoid mundane tasks and procrastinate on important tasks.

It can also lead to emotional issues when people feel lazy or inadequate because they can’t find the motivation to do something they know is important.

ADHD brains need accommodations to work properly:

  • Stimulation is a huge factor in success.
  • We need our efforts to matter (and right now). Delayed consequences don’t work since ADHD brains experience time differently. We need immediate accountability and incentives.
    • 30m of video game time for finishing task
    • stopping for fancy coffee if leave on time