Is being neurodivergent traumatic?

Neurodivergent people are at greater risk of suffering from stress and trauma, which can also influence neurodevelopment. They are more likely to suffer from emotional neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and intimidation. Without a neurodiversity lens, healing from trauma presents a myth that works for all cases, causing low self-esteem when that path fails. While both people with post-traumatic stress disorder and neurodivergent people are at greater risk of suicide, with the right support, recovery is possible.

The difference is that mental health conditions can negatively affect quality of life even without a support network, while neurodivergence is a perceived cultural difference. Neurodivergence has emerged recently because it describes diagnostic thinking processes such as autism spectrum disorder without offending framing it as a problem. The neurodivergent movement seeks to de-stigmatize neurodivergent people and help them to get ahead in a world that focuses on the neurotypical (people who process information in the “normal way”). But even families that prioritize children's rights, that are respectful and clear, that research the neurodivergence that their child experiences, are still part of a community of people who don't understand it. What may not be obvious is the parallels between neurodivergence and PTSD after a traumatic event such as war.

There are many similarities between PTSD and some neurodivergent conditions with respect to the physical symptoms, feelings of isolation, and social stigma associated with the diagnosis. Neurodivergent people can include people with ADHD, learning problems, autism, Tourette syndrome, or synesthesia. Neurodivergence is simply the processing of information differently from the norms of a particular culture. Therefore, since neurodivergence has no established definition, it could be argued that a mental health condition such as PTSD could be included in neurodivergence.

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