Tiktok my ADHD brain's sinkhole

Hello everyone, so I just discovered Tiktok and I don’t know what is happening to me right now it is like I can’t stop watching. I spend hours at a time it feels so relaxing and good when I’m hyper-focused on all these fun little videos and suddenly I noticed that I spent several hours without even noticing. the thing is I never liked social media and I don’t even have any social media accounts, but when I downloaded Tiktok yesterday just to see what is the hype my day was over.

I’ve spent the whole day going through various entertaining videos of what I must admit some very creative people, and when I tried to sleep, I just couldn’t fall asleep as the videos kept running through my mind and I craved more, I’m ashamed to admit that I got out of bed and spent more hours watching even more videos. it is like my brain finally found the stimuli it craved for so long and it was hooked! I feel like my easily getting bored and spacing out problems were made worse by my new discovery, of course, it was kinda beneficial to occupy myself when I have to wait for long periods of time like yesterday after I downloaded the app I had a therapy appointment and I had to wait for an hour because of a schedule mix up, usually, this felt like hell to me, but I just fired up the app and the waiting time just flew by.

What is happening right now, I’m seriously considering deleting the app and suffering through the withdrawal symptoms till I get it out of my system even with some of the benefits that it might bring. any advice you guys, is this a common issue for ADHD brains.

Hello again @Sami

The answer to why you experienced this reaction to TikTok is dopamine.

Even neurotypical people can get hooked on social media, because of the dopamine stimulation they get from it.

Dopamine is called the “reward” neurotransmitter. It is believed to be released by the brain in anticipation of reward. However, it also can be what fuels an addiction. (Caffeine can trigger a small dopamine release. Nicotine triggers more, I think. Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, and it’s said it can cause some people to become addicted the first time they try it.)

When I first started using Facebook, I got into playing Facebook games and mobile games on my phone. But then, I started to binge on the games, and was ignoring my kids and my household responsibilities. Thankfully, I eventually realized what I was doing. I had to delete the games off my phone and make a rule for myself not to open a game on Facebook, period. (I only use Facebook now to keep in touch with people, because I don’t have the phone numbers and email addresses for a lot of the people I know.)

Mobile app creators know that their apps are addictive. It’s behind the trend in millions of people taking to one social media platform after another, and simple games like Flappy Bird becoming an overnight success. I’ve known of people being on Facebook and TikTok all day, and even missing a full night of sleep at a time on these social media platforms.

My advice to you is to delete TikTok, before it becomes a full-blown habit. Find healthier ways to get the dopamine stimulation that your brain needs.

Here’s a HowToADHD video I recommend:

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Yes, and no. This is a common thing for human brains, but I believe it is even more common for those of us with ADHD.


I’m now in a habit of checking this forum every day when I wake up, replacing a previous habit of doom-scrolling news media every morning. I get a lot more out of actually socially engaging with fellow Brains, whereas I only got a lot of angst from the news.

  • It’s a good forum, and it’s really helped me…but I often hyperfocus, making myself late to work (like today :wink:).

So, my two cents on “social media” platforms is that if they are actually helpful with your social relationships with people (keeping in touch with friends & family, getting to know new people, and in the case of LinkedIn - career networking), then make use of them. If they are just endless distraction, is there and point to them?

I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. I use LinkedIn for career networking, and currently for job-hunting, too. I sometimes use Pinterest to follow interests like writing (i.e. to learn about the practices of other writers), bullet journaling, etc. I follow several YouTube channels, like HowToADHD, a couple more about ADHD, as well as ones about relationships, and channels by authors who teach and encourage the writing craft.

  • I have a TikTok account, but I only used it for a couple of months. I didn’t get much that was meaningful from it. I used Twitter even less.
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cool. block the behavior.

i find it helpful to sub in an alternative behavior or behaviors too. i scaled back my youtube compulsion by doing jigsaw puzzles and listening to audiobooks. puzzles gave me visual stim and audiobooks were audio stim + the feeling of learning something new/entertainment.

neither on its own was enough but the combination worked. so don’t worry if it’s not a 1-1 substitution. i think it’s hard to find that perfect swap with things that are so addicting – unless they are also troublesome behaviors. (no good swapping a tiktok addiction for another social media addiction.)

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Brilliant solution!

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I actually think deleting might be an idea.
I do the same. But after having it deleted, I would find something similar. It is always about activation. Finding something active to do. But then I ask myself if we (brains) just need these times to just recharge.

Sorry, not really helpful.

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Part of my morning routine is checking notifications on Discord and the different forums I’m on and responding. It’s way more fulfilling than Instagram, for example.

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It is helpful, actually. You got to the basic need… We need activation.

(That’s probably why I find myself binging this forum every morning when I wake up. I need activation. I also feel in need to be in touch with fellow Brains.)

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Same here. It’s the two-way human contact that I find much more fulfilling than the one way form via TikTok (which usually feels very empty to me).

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Hey that is actually awesome, I’m really into writing too, I love writing in all forms I write fantasy and short stories in D&D, I write blogs as a freelancer for corporate websites, I also dabble in video game reviews, the thing is I don’t know if I’m good or not because nobody actually comments on the quality of my writing but only on the topic that I’m writing about. I also tried to keep a diary several times but could never make it a habit to write regular entries it turned out to be a venting mechanism when I’m overwhelmed by life I would open the file and just vent and write in it for an hour or two.

I would love some tips or advice on how to improve my writing and become a professional writer.

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Yeah I do that too actually when I write stuff here or on Reddit, I made it a habit of checking if anyone interacted with what I posted. to be totally honest it is not about finding answers more to see how people viewed my writing or opinions, I find it really fun to get feedback from people on things I create not only on the internet but come to think of it I do that in every aspect of my life it is like something doesn’t feel truly complete till I get people honest opinions on it. weird I just thought of this thank you for your comment.

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that is actually interesting because I have a habit of combining youtube with everything that I do, like a youtube video or music would be playing throughout the day whether I’m working or doing chores I find it easier to do all of those boring things if I’m listening to something that I’m interested in. but after a while, youtube became a sort of white noise that I use to be able to do things even sleep so youtube wasn’t as interesting as it once was for me, especially that content creator that I follow can’t keep up with my consumption, maybe that is why Tiktok gave me that surge of dopamine as you said because it provided an abundance of new fun videos and content to view which hit all the right spots in my brain.

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Have a look around, there are some really good writers blogs around, with gorgeous communities. Just google writers blog.
If you like to, you can send me stuff and I have a look. In German I do stuff like that professionally. Which doesn’t improve my English, but I could give some feedback. (Right this week my brain is very slow …)
And if you are interested in longer texts, you might want to check nanowrimo (national novel writing month) which is a supportive community even if you are not in to novels but into documentary or diaries…

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Thank you so much, Annamaria, I will send you stuff that I write, don’t worry it doesn’t happen very often I don’t want to add to your workload, most of the stuff that I write about is fiction, fantasy, my ADHD experiences, and on occasion, I write about learning English because I’m after all an English teacher.

I will check out the writer blogs that you mentioned any specific blogs I should keep an eye out for?

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I’m not a professional writer (yet). I just dabble in writing, currently.

I’ve been following a professional writer on YouTube. His name is Michael la Ronn, and his channel is called “Author Level Up”. He’s a self-published author, and so that’s a lot of what he focuses on. But there are many useful channels, blogs, books and podcasts about writing.

I think that almost anyone can be a writer, as long as what they write is understandable. Generally, there’s an audience for pretty much any written work, if you can figure out how to get it to them.

I don’t think that every writer should follow the same specific rules, as is often taught about writing at college. (Many celebrated writers break the “rules”. For instance, I think that Stephen King usually uses way too long of descriptive passages, sometimes even run-on sentences that I think he himself tells writers to avoid.)

I believe @j_d_aengus might have the better tipps, for I usually don’t write in English and go for german blogs.
As he says, it is not so much about specific rules or a certain style… it is more about how to structure yourself how to get your characters going and giving them a characteristic of their own and how to stay on track, don’t be humiliated or how to get rid of to much repetition or giving things away. As a teacher of English you know the basic concepts of dramaturgy.
I always think it is nice to have a crowd and people who are in the same process. The process of wanting to write, keeping it up…
than you can exchange your texts and have trial readers, who can tell you about coherency, and if your snowball works, if the reader stays interested.
I found that writing really helps with ADHD, I often use the pomodoro technique and it is a good start to get going, finding your your voice and being accountable. Even if it is to your fictional characters who want to keep on living their adventures. You can incorporate what is bothering you and so on, and so on…

But enough of talking. Hope you find your way in.

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I’m not exactly “professional” but there are a lot of communities centered around writing out there. (National Novel Writing Month, for example.) But one of the best things I’ve learned from trying to pursue writing professionally is that you need to practice just like with anything else. Or, at the very least, actually work on the thing you want to publish… which is easier said than done.

Anyway… I could ramble on and on about writing, but it pretty much boils down to just putting the time into it. Doing the writing and the research and getting feedback and everything.

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Thank you for the advice, for me starting something feels daunting and impossible when it is not clear what I’m supposed to do first or where should I start that is why I always learn best when I have a teacher or a tutor somebody who can show me the way and then Unleashing me to go wreak havoc on whatever my new skill obsession is

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