I used to think I knew what ADHD was. Then I learned the truth, and it changed my life.
Here are 4 of the Top ADHD Myths:
- ⛔ ADHD Isn't Real
- ⛔ You Grow Out of ADHD
- ⛔ ADHD Always Causes Hyperactivity
- ⛔ People with ADHD Can't Focus On Anything
MYTH 1: ADHD Isn't Real
According to the American Medical Association, ADHD is "one of the BEST-RESEARCHED disorders in medicine" and "the overall data on its validity are far more compelling than for most mental disorders and even for many medical conditions"
ADHD isn't even a recently discovered condition. It was documented in 1798 by a Scottish physician named Sir Alexander Crichton, and in 1902, Sir George Frederic Still gave a series of lectures that described it in further detail.
ADHD may have existed for thousands of years. In ~493 BC, Hippocrates described a condition in which patients had "quickened responses to sensory experience, but also less tenaciousness because the soul moves on quickly to the next impression."
ADHD has been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders since the second edition in 1968 (though it took several editions to settle on the name ADHD), and there has been a vast amount of research and studies on the condition since that time.
To believe that ADHD isn't real, you have to choose ignorance and pretend a vast mountain of evidence to the contrary doesn't exist.
ADHD is real.
MYTH 2: You Grow Out of ADHD
While it was commonly thought that 50% or more of children with ADHD did not have symptoms as an adult, a 2021 study showed the opposite to be true.
This study showed 90% of children with ADHD experienced residual symptoms into young adulthood.
Many people with ADHD aren't even diagnosed until adulthood.
ADHD is not a disorder that only affects children.
Referenced study: Variable Patterns of Remission From ADHD in the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2021
MYTH 3: ADHD Always Causes Hyperactivity
Hyperactive symptoms are more common in children with ADHD, and particularly boys with ADHD. But many others do not exhibit externally hyperactive symptoms like running in circles in the classroom or not staying in their seat.
Many with ADHD are internally hyperactive which can show up as fidgeting, feeling restless and agitated, or even seeming to get "stuck" in a daydream or daze, because their brain won't slow down or quiet down enough to be able to take action.
Also, external hyperactive symptoms are often less pronounced in adulthood and can even go away as someone's presentation of ADHD shifts over time.
ADHD can cause hyperactivity, but not everyone shows it.
MYTH 4: People With ADHD Can't Focus On Anything
Actually, people with ADHD can focus super intently on things they find interesting, novel, creative, challenging, or urgent.
This is known as hyperfocus and it can last for hours.
Where they have difficulty is focusing on things that are more boring or mundane. This can cause trouble as others see that the person with ADHD can focus on something interesting like video games or a favorite hobby, but they can't seem to focus on homework or chores. This is not by choice, it's a symptom of the way the ADHD brain works.
Intention and willpower are heavily tied to the interest level of a task, making it difficult to focus when the interest just isn't there.
Focus can be fleeting, but it can also be intense.