Does aphantasia affect the way we experience mental disorders?  

So this just popped into my mind but do you think that aphantasia can affect disorders, for example how someone experiences ADHD or Autism? I have suspected or about a year now that I have a form of ADHD but haven’t done anything about it as I can’t fully relate to the whole being distracted by a daydream type thing. I’ve been suspected of having autism but I don’t feel it fits but having inattentive ADHD would make sense and clear up many issues that I’ve struggled with in the past but I just can’t get as distracted by things in my mind as, well, there’s almost nothing distracting in my mind; no visual distractions, no physical distractions, no sensory imaginations there to distract me (except sound, I’m almost fully aphantasic except sound). I can still get distracted by a crow outside the window or just find it more compelling to look outside the window and be lost in my own thoughts rather than listen to a teacher drone on about a topic I find dis-interesting or I have to force myself to read something over and over again just so I can comprehend it as my mind just doesn’t want to focus (which ends up not working anyway but I found a way around it thankfully). So yeah that’s my question; Does aphantasia affect the way we experience disorders?  

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Hello there, 

In terms of aphantasia itself, this study was just published showing “although aphantasia meets the criterion of statistical rarity, the impact on activities of daily living and personal distress is too weak to justify a classification as a mental disorder.”

Regarding a relationship to other neuro differences, here’s one study exploring the relationship between Aphantasia, Synaesthesia and Autism.

Christina Crowe, a registered psychotherapist, also recently did a podcast episode discussing this topic. 

Aphantasia as a discovery is still in its infancy, and the research is ever-evolving. Many more unknowns than knowns at this point. But here you can find links to some of the latest research and media

Hope these resources are helpful!

And for anyone seeking support with their aphantasia discovery, here’s a great resource for how to talk to a healthcare professional about your experience.

Here are some links to the overlap between autism and aphantasia. You’ve probably noticed quite a few questions on the AQ are about visualization.

I have ADD and autism (and PTSD, depression, and anxiety) and am a total multi sensory aphant with SDAM. It’s a nightmare.