Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) carries a lot of baggage. There are some misconceptions that don’t do sufferers of the condition any favours. It can go undetected – and hence undiagnosed for years – meaning that the associated symptoms can be mistaken for poor character and a lack of application in academic settings.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), around 9% of children and 4% of adults are affected by the condition. That means having a greater understanding of the ADHD isn’t just desirable, but a necessity if people are going to receive the support they need. Here are eight myths about the condition you should be aware of:
Myth 1: ADHD Isn’t a Real Condition
There has been a lot of debate about the validity of ADHD as a legitimate mental health issue. But the truth of the matter is ADHD has been recognised by the National Institute of Health, Centres for Disease Control and the American Psychiatric Association as a medical condition. It’s not a fictionalised disorder, but in fact, is a very common one amongst children.
Myth 2: It’s a Male Only Condition
Although the condition is more prevalent in boys than in girls – males are twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD – it’s not a male-only problem. With a few rare exceptions, mental health issues are rarely gender-specific. The reason for the misconception is how the symptoms manifest in each sex. Boys can be more hyperactive, while girls can appear more distant, making a diagnosis harder to make.
Myth 3: All People with ADHA are Hyperactive
Intense hyperactivity is seen as the defining trait of ADHD, but it’s only one symptom of a broader set of characteristics that point to the presence of the condition. In fact, there are several forms of ADHD. One variation known as ADD doesn’t involve any form of hyperactivity at all and is more centred around the attention span and retention of information.
Myth 4: People with ADHD are Lazy
One of the least compassionate assertions is that people with ADHD lack motivation and can’t or won’t apply themselves. The solution is often presented that they simply need to buckle down and focus more. The issue is that ADHD isn’t an attitude problem. It’s a neurological issue that affects the attention-span and mental acuity.
Myth 5: People with ADHD Can’t Focus (Ever)
Even though one of the hallmarks of ADHD is the lack of focus, it doesn’t mean that focus is completely absent. There is a ‘deficit,’ but not a complete inability to concentrate at all. In fact, many sufferers are able to enter into a state of ‘hyperfocus.’ While academic pursuits may be a problem, an individual can lose themselves in creative activities.
Myth 6: ADHD is just a Phase in Childhood
Many people believe that ADHD is simply a stage of life. But as we’ve touched on, it’s not an attitude problem. The roots go much deeper. Although the symptoms may become easier to manage in adulthood, there never completely go away. They become less pronounced and change in intensity. But they are never ‘outgrown,’ as some people believe.
Myth 7: ADHD is Caused By Poor Parenting
Again, this comes down to a lack of understanding around what’s causes the condition. ADHD is not the result of environmental factors. It’s caused by an abnormality in brain chemistry. Since many of the symptoms are behavioural, it can be a logical assumption to make. But the condition never has or will be the result of what parents did or did not do for them children.