“I Wanna Be Sedated” as an ADHD Anthem

The punk rock “I Wanna Be Sedated” was written about the chaotic, high-energy lifestyle of a touring band. But it’s also a good representation of living with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), where that overwhelming energy comes from the inside.

The constant refrain of “I Wanna Be Sedated,” resonates deeply with those who suffer from ADHD. It reflects the internal chaos and relentless drive that are hallmarks of ADHD:

20, 20, 24 hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go-oh
I wanna be sedated

Just get me to the airport, put me on a plane
Hurry, hurry, hurry before I go insane
I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my brain
Oh, no, oh-oh, oh-oh

Punk rock, characterized by its rapid tempos and unfiltered energy, mirrors the ADHD experience perfectly. The boundless energy and disregard for societal norms reflect the feelings of being out of sync with a structured, orderly world.

Moreover, the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic of punk rock encourages personal expression and creativity, providing a sense of empowerment and validation for those who feel marginalized by conventional standards. This raw authenticity allows for a cathartic release of pent-up energy and emotions, offering a sense of community and understanding for listeners.

What’s fascinating about “I Wanna Be Sedated” is that it’s a punk anthem pleading for calm. Paradoxically, to calm the mind of someone with ADHD, you don’t use sedatives but stimulants. Individuals with ADHD often have lower levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, and attention. Stimulant medications increase dopamine levels in the brain, which helps improve focus and reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity. Essentially, these medications help normalize brain activity, allowing for better control over attention and behavior.

So a high-energy punk anthem about being overwhelmed and seeking sedation. Yup. Sounds like ADHD.

Note: Over the years, the original version of “I Wanna Be Sedated” has begun to feel somewhat slow and outdated to modern ears, especially when compared to the high-energy performances typical of today’s punk rock scene. However, contemporary covers by bands like The Offspring and New Found Glory have injected new life into the song.

Note 2: I wrote this in about a half hour with the help of ChatGPT. ChatGPT wrote most of it and I just had the ideas and edited it. I wrote it while listening to punk covers of pop songs by the band New Found Glory.