Global search volume for ADHD online skyrockets since 2019
April 4th, 2024, Clifton Mark

Global search volume for ADHD online skyrockets since 2019

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common and most talked-about types of neurodiversity. But who’s talking about ADHD online, and what are they saying?

A new global YouGov report delves into the online conversations surrounding ADHD, autism and dyslexia. The report is based on data from YouGov Signal, a social listening tool that tracks online discussion on topics, brands and media titles.

Of the three topics covered in the report (autism, ADHD and dyslexia), ADHD is generating by far the most online interest, and interest is growing. Online searches for “ADHD” increased significantly across 19 out of the 20 territories for which we have data between 2019 and 2023, and the trend is continuing in 2024.

To understand public interest in ADHD, Signal tracks search activity for relevant keywords in each territory and assigns an “Indexed Search Volume” score to each keyword. Indexed Search Volume is a score reflecting the number of online searches a topic receives in each territory, which indicates public interest in a topic or title. The following table shows how Indexed Search Volume for ADHD has changed over the past four years.

South Korea has the highest search volume for “ADHD” by far, with an Indexed Search Volume of 900k 900 thousand. The territory with the next-highest search volume is Sweden scoring 440k Indexed Search Volum, less than half as much as South Korea. Anglophone countries, UK, Australia and Canada occupy ranks three to five, with the US further down the list at number 14.

Not only do these territories have high search volumes for “ADHD”, they’ve been searching the term more since 2019. UK residents searched for “ADHD” three-and-a-half times more in 2023 than in 2019, whereas Poland’s search volume increased more than tenfold. In Sweden volume doubled, and in India it increased by 128%.

Demographics of those discussing ADHD online

YouGov Signal delves deeper than simply analyzing search trends. It also tracks ongoing online discussion about a topic, revealing the demographics of participants and what they’re saying. According to the YouGov Signal report based on English-language tweets about ADHD, the online audience appears skewed towards women (62%).

Additionally, the data suggests a gap in online engagement by age group. Younger individuals (under 30) make up only 9% of the online conversation, while two-thirds (67%) are aged 30-44 years.

What do people talk about when they talk about ADHD? And what else are they interested in?

Conversational analysis from YouGov Signal shows conversations about ADHD online also mention other mental health topics. For example, “autism” is the word that comes up most within the online discussion of ADHD. Similarly, terms like “brain” (5th most frequent) “anxiety” (6th), “depression”(8th) and “mental health” (11th) also appear regularly within these conversations. Keywords two-through-four are relatively generic words that could occur in many contexts (“thing,” “time,” “people”). In other words, discussion of mental health topics often overlap one another.

Signal also reveals more granular conversational trends in the online discussion of ADHD. Many of those discussing ADHD online talk about having only two modes of being: hyperfocus and boredom. Shortages of ADHD medication is also a prominent topic, as are perfectionism and productivity.

Outside of mental health and ADHD, what else are people who talk about ADHD interested in? Signal also shows affinities between different topics, titles and brands. Affinities measure how much more likely someone who talks about one thing online will also engage with another.

For example, users who engage with ADHD online are more likely to engage with series such as Picard, Black Mirror and House. Brand affinities show a tendency of those who discuss ADHD to be digitally plugged-in, with above-average associations with brands such as Paramount+, Audible, Apple and Twitch. Those who discuss ADHD online are also more likely to engage with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

Click here for the YouGov Signal report on ADHD, autism and dyslexia. for the YouGov Signal mental health report for further insights into ADHD, autism and dyslexia.

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Methodology: Signal combines A.I. with digital, social, survey and marketing data collected across 42 territories to create insights, recommendations, and strategies for our clients. We help discover your different audiences, track their demand for content, and market to them more efficiently.