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  • Writer's pictureMonarch

ADHD Myths Debunked

Updated: Apr 10

An ADHD fidget spinner

This month is ADHD awareness month. Like many diagnoses, there is misinformation out there about ADHD. We hope to debunk some of these myths with accurate information.

Below find myths about ADHD, as well as information to help debunk these myths.

MYTH 1: ADHD isn’t real

Reputable organizations (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, American Psychiatric Association, and National Institute of Mental Health, etc.) all recognize ADHD as a difference. ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in childhood. Millions of children, adolescents, and adults all over the United States (and the world) have ADHD.

MYTH 2: People with ADHD "just" need to try harder

ADHD has nothing to do with motivation or effort. Here it comes again for those in the back. Individuals with ADHD are not lazy or stupid. They have differences in their ability to stay focused. Actually, when someone with ADHD is interested in or intrigued by something, they might be able to hyperfocus, or feel engrossed in something to such a strong degree that they are sometimes not aware of what is happening around them.

MYTH 3: Kids will outgrow symptoms of ADHD

ADHD is termed a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means that ADHD is the result of differences in brain developmental and/or function. This means that differences in the brain or what areas of the brain do, results in inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity, as well as a potential diagnosis. With this in mind, children diagnosed with ADHD do not “outgrow” symptoms (because these differences are the result of brain differences). How ADHD is experienced and displayed can vary though. Younger children with ADHD differences are more likely to display hyperactive behaviors (e.g., running around, trouble sitting still, etc.). These differences tend to decrease as the individual ages. Girls with ADHD may be more likely to have inattentive differences that are not as readily observable to others. Inattention and impulsivity can remain throughout a person’s lifetime, although these symptoms may also change as a person ages. For example, a child might be more likely to stand during meals, while an adolescent may sit through meals while tapping their leg sporadically. Russell Barkley, PhD, on shares more detailed information regarding this myth.

MYTH 4: ADHD is the result of bad parenting

As mentioned above, ADHD is the result of differences in the brain. Research shows that ADHD occurs more often in families (thus, there is a genetic component). ADHD is NOT caused by parenting, family problems, teachers, too many electronics, food allergies, or too much sugar.

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