Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on
August 30, 2021
Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on:

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

There are many ADHD myths that people believe to be true. Some of these myths have been passed down from generation to generation, while others were started by the media or a doctor who didn’t know much about ADHD.

In this blog post, we will discuss 17 myths and facts about ADHD so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment options.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurological disorder, and it affects millions of people all around the world. It can cause impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness that is not characteristic of a typical person’s behavior.

People who have ADHD usually don’t know they have it because they probably haven’t been properly diagnosed.

17 ADHD Myths Debunked

Myths about ADHD are all over the internet, and it can be difficult to figure out what is true about the disorder. Here are 17 myths that you should know when you or your loved one had ADHD:

ADHD Myth #1: ADHD isn’t a real medical disorder.

ADHD is a real medical disorder. The American Psychiatric Association has had ADHD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for over 50 years now!

ADHD Myth #2: ADHD is a modern farce created by drug companies.

It’s important to understand that ADHD medications don’t only help children with the condition but also adults. They are not just for profit, and parents shouldn’t be afraid of giving their children medicine because it will make them “dopey.”

In fact, ADHD medications are very effective at treating the condition.

ADHD Myth #3: ADHD is the result of bad parenting.

ADHD is not the result of bad parenting. There aren’t any genes that are linked to ADHD, and there isn’t a particular family dynamic that causes it either.

The cause of ADHD is unknown at this time, but researchers think genetics has something to do with it as well as environmental factors like smoking or drinking during pregnancy. 

ADHD Myth #4: ADHD affects only boys.

ADHD can affect anyone of any gender. It just so happens that it is more prevalent in boys than girls. 

Genetics and environmental factors may play a role in this, but researchers still don’t know for sure.

In fact, ADHD affects people all around the world, no matter what their age or sex is. 

ADHD Myth #5: ADHD is only a problem in children.

While ADHD is most prevalent in children, it can affect adults as well. In fact, the number of people who are diagnosed with adult ADHD has been increasing over the years.

This means that more and more adults realize they have symptoms associated with ADHD after their childhood diagnosis was dismissed or missed entirely.

ADHD Myth #6: Everyone with ADHD has the same symptoms.

There are three types of ADHD symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

However, people with the condition can present differently than others because everyone’s brain is wired differently. Some might have more severe hyperactivity, while someone else has more intense inattentiveness.

It all depends on how your body reacts to certain stimuli, and it’s essential to treat your ADHD symptoms accordingly.

ADHD Myth #7: People with ADHD can’t pay attention.

People who have ADHD are actually very attentive at times because they may be hyper-focused on a specific thing that interests them.

However, this isn’t always the case for everyone. Some people with ADHD might have a hard time paying attention to things that aren’t of interest to them or just don’t really care.

However, this doesn’t mean they can pay attention when the situation calls for it.

ADHD Myth #8: Children with ADHD eventually outgrow their condition.

ADHD doesn’t go away on its own.

Back when ADHD was first being diagnosed, doctors would suggest that children who were struggling with attention problems should be held back a grade or two to help them catch up in school because they might “grow out of it.”

But as the years went by and research about ADHD increased, it was found that ADHD is actually a life-long condition.

ADHD Myth #9: People with ADHD are smart but unfocused.

People who have ADHD might be intelligent, and they can definitely accomplish good things in their lives if they put the work into it. However, people with ADHD aren’t just “smart” or “unfocused.”

In fact, ADHD has nothing to do with how intelligent a person is or isn’t. An intelligent person can have it as well as an unintelligent one. 

It’s all about how their brain works, which makes them either more susceptible than the average Joe or not.

ADHD Myth #10: Children who take ADHD medication are more likely to abuse drugs when they become teenagers.

ADHD medication doesn’t impact a child’s decision to abuse drugs in the future.

In fact, research has found that ADHD medication can actually decrease substance use and addiction in teenagers with ADHD.

That being said, it is important not to let your child take their medication without supervision because there are some side effects they might experience.

ADHD Myth #11: People with ADHD can control their symptoms if they try hard enough.

Although some people might be able to mask their inattentiveness or hyperactivity when they’re in public, it doesn’t mean they can control their symptoms.

ADHD is a neurological condition that makes people behave the way they do and affects everyone differently. Some might be able to focus better with stimulants or certain lifestyle changes, while others might not respond to anything at all.

What works for one person isn’t guaranteed to work for another.

ADHD Myth #12: Children who are given special accommodations because of their ADHD are getting an unfair advantage.

When a child with ADHD is given accommodations, it means they’re getting the same amount of opportunity as their peers.

If anything, people might think that children without disabilities don’t get enough opportunities in life because they are expected to keep up with non-disabled kids.

ADHD Myth #13: Unmedicated ADHD is better than medicated.

There’s no such thing as “unmedicated ADHD.” Patients are either medicated, or they aren’t, and this has nothing to do with how severe their condition is.

If anything, doctors suggest medication for their patients because it’s the safest and most effective treatment out there.

ADHD Myth #14: ADHD is just an excuse to be lazy.

People with ADHD might struggle when they’re trying to work, study, or do anything that requires focus, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want to do these things.

People with ADHD are often very hard on themselves and will work much harder than the average person to accomplish their goals.

ADHD Myth #15: Medication is more effective than behavioral therapy in treating ADHD symptoms in children, teens, and adults.

Medication isn’t always necessary to treat ADHD. Some people can benefit from behavioral therapy alone.

In fact, research shows that through a combination of both medication and behavioral therapies is the most effective treatment for ADHD.

ADHD Myth #16: Adults with ADHD just need to “grow up” or stop acting like children.

Being an adult doesn’t mean you don’t have ADHD anymore.

Although ADHD often goes untreated or misdiagnosed in adults, it doesn’t go away.

As a matter of fact, there are some ADHD symptoms that only get worse as people age, such as impulsivity and hyperactivity.

ADHD Myth #17: Junk food and sugar cause ADHD.

ADHD and sugar have nothing to do with each other. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you won’t get ADHD, and eating junk food isn’t going to give you ADHD either.

A poor diet is associated with worse symptoms, while a good one can help improve them in some cases.

Interesting Facts About ADHD

ADHD myths and facts are easy to find on the internet and in non-academic circles.

However, it can be hard to know which information is accurate or if you’re looking at biased sources.

Here are some interesting facts that might surprise you about ADHD:

– ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects the way people focus and behave.

– It was first recognized as a mental health condition in 1902 by Dr. Emil Kraeplin, who called it “minimal brain dysfunction.”

– Despite what many believe, there isn’t one single cause of ADHD. There are genetic components, environmental influences, and brain chemistry changes that all play a role in its development.

– ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorders, with an estimated 65% of schoolchildren receiving treatment for it at some point during their education years.

– ADHD is diagnosed in children and adults

– It affects roughly 11% of all school-age kids (ages 16 to 18)

– Women are more likely than men to have ADHD, but because they’re often less disruptive at home and school when they’re young, their symptoms usually go unnoticed until adulthood.

– The most common ADHD myths are actually the most dangerous ones because they cause people not to get diagnosed and treated.

– While there’s no cure for ADHD, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes such as proper diet, exercise, doing a hobby you love (as long as it doesn’t require too much focus), etc.

When to Seek Help for ADHD

If you suspect that someone you love has ADHD, talk to them about it.

Don’t make assumptions based on what everyone else is doing and saying because people with ADHD are very unique individuals who need support and understanding just like anyone else in this world.

If your symptoms get worse over time or they’re affecting your everyday life, then you should seek professional help.

There’s no such thing as too many doctors’ visits when it comes to ADHD. The worst mistake is waiting for something terrible to happen before getting help—start with a quick and easy consultation with a mental health professional you can trust

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