The empathetic rollercoaster of ADHD

According to empathy is the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Empathy sounds like a basic concept that most understand but empathy is much more complicated than most asume. Most people give an example of empathy as relating to another person who has gone through a similar experience. An example of this is a person who was raised in a single parent houshold can better understand the feelings of another person who has gone through the same situation. This raises the question of how can we relate to a person who suffers from ADHD?

According to ADHD is “a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity.” Is it possible to share similar feelings with someone who suffers from an illness that we have not experienced? Is it possible to have empathy for a person whos biological disposition creates a mental state that lacks empathy? These are never black and white or yes and no questions. Instead of asking ourselves is it possible maybe a better question is how can I have more empathy for those I do not understand.

By: Matthew Cipolla, IMFT
Intern Marriage & Family Therapist
License Number: IMF85538

Clinical Supervisor: Ben Novell, MS, LMFT, LPCC
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
License Number: LMFT25733, LPCC859

To schedule an appointment with Ben Novell, MS, LMFT, LPCC, Janelle Novell, LMFT, RPT-S or any of our therapists, please call 951-252-9911. (Image from