ADHD TikTok – The influence of Tiktok on self-diagnosis and social perception of ADHD

Ms. Vipusaayini Sivanesanathan1

1Queen’s University, Canada

Tiktok, a social media app that rapidly grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, allows creators are able to create short video clips and publish them for public viewing.  Not only has Tiktok served as a source of entertainment, but has also been a hub for information propagation. While mental health has been a popular topic on this app, a mental health disorder called ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) has caught particular attention globally. To date, there have been over 4.1 Billion views on videos tagged with #ADHD. These videos have been made by wide range of persons including self-diagnosed ‘ADHD’ers’ to credentialled mental health professionals, all with the intent to raise awareness on the disorder. While this hub has reduced some of the stigma surrounding ADHD, it has also largely contributed to widespread misinformation on ADHD which has led many to self-diagnose with the disorder and/or consider seeking professional help. In this presentation, I will explore the potential effects of TikTok (and social media overall) on ADHD advocacy and education with particular focus on its influence on recognizing ADHD in marginalized populations and the harms surrounding social-media perpetuated self-diagnoses of mental disorders. I will then offer an ethical evaluation of the influence Tiktok has had on ADHD perception and advocacy and nuance whether it has instead further complicated the already difficult ADHD diagnostic process. Further, I will include a brief discussion on the ethical implications of the public use of social media as the main avenue of  for information on mental health.


Vipusaayini Sivanesanathan (Vipushi) is a MA Candidate in the department of Philosophy at Queen’s University. Her main research focuses include a range of topics in bioethics, specifically philosophy of psychiatry, health equity, the role of religious belief in medicine and the ethics of the doctor-patient therapeutic alliance.

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