Jessica McCabe, creator of the “How to Fight ADHD” YouTube channel, is neither a doctor nor a healthcare professional. At 38, she worked in a variety of professions, including comedian, actor and restaurant waitress.
Over the years, she learned about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which she diagnosed herself at the age of 12. Explaining this information is something she’s been doing on her YouTube channel since 2016.
“Our brain is a piece of equipment that we work with every day for everything we do, so understanding it is essential,” she said.
She didn’t make the connection between her challenges and her diagnosis, but things changed when she was 20 and found herself unable to complete her education.
She began to research ADHD but struggled to organize all the information she learned. So she turned to YouTube, a platform she was already familiar with, to keep the material. “Notebooks, no, I’m losing notebooks,” she said. “Youtube. I will not lose YouTube.”
At first, she found information for her videos on Google searches, but realized that there was a lot of misinformation about ADHD on the internet. “After I released it, I thought, ‘I’m a college dropout. I don’t have a degree in this area. I shouldn’t be educating people, ”she said.
Rachelle LeDuc-Cairns, a registered nurse in Canada, offered to teach her how to analyze research studies for their validity. Then Patrick LaCount, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, began meeting with her weekly to review and discuss the research studies. Today, she enlists experts to help her on every topic, although her videos are not professionally reviewed on a weekly basis.
“She has done a great job in popularizing the scientific findings on ADHD and bringing more attention to the disease, de-stigmatizing it and even motivating others with the disease and their families to get more information at this topic, ”said Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry. at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.
The average age of its subscribers is between 18 and 34, she says; many of the videos focus on topics relevant to young adults. One of Ms. McCabe’s main intentions is to fight the stigma of taking drugs for this group and giving them to children.
“I think there are a lot of moms who are tired of hearing that they are drugging their children and doing something wrong by treating their child’s condition,” she says.
In her video “What I want to tell my mother, who ‘drugged me’, Ms. McCabe talks about the prescription of Adderall. (When she started taking medication, her grade point average increased by one point.) Medication in children has been controversial, although “many drugs used to treat ADHD have a long track record of safety and research has proven their effectiveness ”. said Dr. Damon Korb, behavioral development pediatrician in Los Gatos, Calif., and author of “Raising an Organized Child”.
It is the adults who are often overlooked. According to Ari Tuckman, a psychologist in West Chester, Pa., And author of the book “ADHD After Dark: Better Sex Life,” there are twice as many research studies on ADHD in children as there are ADHD in children. adult on the National Library of Medicine’s website, A Better Relationship. “
“It wasn’t until recently that they started researching ADHD in adults,” said Ms. McCabe. “Before that, it was considered a childhood problem. So who cares how an 8 year old might be in a domestic relationship since he’s not there yet.
To that end, in one of her most popular videos, she talks about relationships and how people with ADHD can experience situations like being bored with a partner: “Getting involved with the available human.” closest to the desired sex because they are there and you are bored? I’m pretty sure that’s how Tinder works. “
Ms. McCabe thinks a lot about communication and word choice. Most of his videos open with the greeting “Hello, Brains”.
“Mr. Rogers had a whole bible of rules about how he used the language on his show,” she said. “According to my community, one of the most helpful things I did was to give people the language to describe their challenges and strategies. ”
Kerrie McLoughlin, 50, is a subscriber in Kansas City, Missouri, who was diagnosed with ADHD last year. “I had never heard of rejection sensitivity before, but watching the video I knew instantly what it was, ”Ms. McLoughlin mentioned. “I tore the gratitude from myself and started taking notes.”
Celeste Perez, 33, an entrepreneur in Los Angeles, Calif., Was diagnosed at 29. Ms Perez used the channel to help explain her “ADHD quirks” to her husband in a way that didn’t involve boring, text-rich studies. . “I had spent my life feeling anxious for the smallest things, overthinking the words I had spoken and feeling tremendously upset when things weren’t going perfectly,” she said. declared.
Like many creators, Ms. McCabe now uses Patreon, which helps her build up paid subscribers. With nearly 3,000 subscribers, Patreon said his gross income was $ 14,551 per month.
But his first donation came from Scot Melville, an engineer from San Francisco, who has donated at the highest level of $ 100 a month, with a note on how the chain has changed his life. “I have increased my salary by over $ 100,000 per year over the course of four years,” said Mr. Melville, 36. “I attribute a lot of this increase to the skills Jessica has taught me through her videos.
Now, instead of donating money, Mr. Melville is volunteering his time as a technology consultant to Ms. McCabe’s team.