As it is with the most mental health conditions, there are a lot of misconceptions related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These myths are particularly damaging to the people suffering from such conditions as they can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, not to mention the sense of helplessness and misunderstanding between the patient and guardians. It is rising to be a common disease among children, and thanks to the various researches and brain imaging studies now done, we know a lot about the disease today.

In this article we shall discuss the symptoms and treatment options for ADHD along with busting a few myths related to the disorder.

Table of Contents:
1. What is ADHD?
2. 10 Myths about ADHD
3. Diagnosis and Treatment for ADHD

What is ADHD?

  • ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactive disorder.
  • It is a chronic condition that mainly affects children but has also been diagnosed in adults.
  • It generally affects the patient’s emotions, behaviours and the ability to learn new things.
  • The disease presents three basic types of ADHD in children- inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

10 Myths about ADHD

1. ADHD is not an actual medical condition

  • As it is with most mental health conditions, people tend not to accept ADHD as a real disorder or a cause of concern.
  • It is one of the most common disorder affecting children both in our country and the world. It is recognised as a medical condition by the CDC.
  • ADHD has been shown to be hereditary. Also, if one twin is diagnosed, it is likely that the other child will develop symptoms.

2. People with ADHD are making excuses

  • It is not a problem of motivation and the affected patients are often trying their best to pay attention and keep up.
  • Their struggle has nothing to do with their attitude but is actually due to the difference in their brain structure.
  • Telling someone with ADHD to just “try harder” is like asking a near-sighted person to just try to see farther.

3. Girls don’t get ADHD

  • In reality, recognising ADHD in girls is difficult as young girls tend to be less hyperactive than young boys.
  • Girls mostly suffer from ADD- a predominantly inattentive type of ADHD.
  • Since these symptoms often go unnoticed at a young age, they can develop into larger issues such as anti-social personality, anxiety and other combined disorders.

4. ADHD is caused by poor parenting

  • Parents of kids who are fidgeting, impulsive and hyperactive are often judged for their lack of parenting skills by ill-informed people.
  • It is important to understand that these are signs of a medical condition and not due to the lack of proper discipline.
  • Often scolding, punishments and reprimands for such behaviour cause more damage in the long run.

5. People with ADHD are actually lazy

  • Since the symptoms usually manifest as disinterest, disorganisation and easy distraction; people mistake ADHD as laziness.
  • Accusing ADHD patients of being lazy makes them guiltier, less motivated and decreases their productivity.
  • These judgements are particularly detrimental as they leave people with a sense of failure, poor self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.

6. ADHD means mental retardation

  • This is a very common and serious misnomer. In fact, researches have shown that there is no relation at all between ADHD and IQ.
  • ADHD can make it very difficult for people to work effectively in schools and offices. The inability to focus or complete a particular task makes people believe that they have lower IQ.
  • It can also lead to patients having hyper-focus on things that interest them. This sometimes makes people think they have a higher IQ.

7. People with ADHD can never focus

  • This is actually untrue in the fact that they are usually unfocused on the tasks that do not interest them.
  • In tasks that they find interesting, they tend to hyper-focus and give their best. This is why some patients perform exceptionally well in some parts of the school like only music or only art or only academics, etc.

8. Kids with ADHD can outgrow it

  • Although some symptoms tend to disappear or decrease with age and practice, diagnosed children generally don’t outgrow ADHD.
  • This is because there is no particular cure for ADHD. There is no absolute medication.
  • Symptoms change as the kid grows older and learns how to manage them.

9. People with ADHD are bound for failure

  • Since ADHD is not linked to one’s IQ; this myth is far from the truth.
  • In fact, people such as Robert Frost, Bill Gates, Elvis Presley, etc. have all shown symptoms of ADHD.
  • The success of a child suffering from ADHD greatly depends on the parents and teachers; just like in any normal child. Their encouragements and words will pave the path for him/her.

10. Medicines are the only treatment

  • Medicines are used to manage the symptoms but are not the permanent solution.
  • The best treatment for ADHD is shown to be a combination of medications and behavioural treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment for ADHD

Diagnosis is done after children start developing symptoms, which is around the age of 6-7 years. There is no simple test and symptoms are similar to other disorders. Doctors usually diagnose by ruling out other conditions. The behavioural changes must be disruptive in day-to-day activities and must last for at least 6 months.

There are a number of treatment options available with the primary goal being the management of symptoms and promoting positive behaviour. Therapy and medications are considered the best options. Children under 6 are usually told to attend behavioural therapy with no medications.

Most children diagnosed at a young age do not express serious symptoms by their mid-twenties. ADHD is a lifelong condition for most people, but it can be managed by learning how to deal with symptoms and avoiding triggers. ADHD is not an excuse to avoid work; it is a mental health condition that needs to be diagnosed and effectively treated. There is no “one-size-fits-all” method. It is important to work with a registered medical practitioner and work out a plan that is unique to you.

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