Many common myths and misconceptions exist about attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD). Despite over 6.1 million children being diagnosed with ADHD in the US, some people still believe that ADHD is not a real condition. Not only do the myths about ADHD contribute to stigma around the disorder, but they can also be detrimental to those seeking treatment for ADHD. We’re here to debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions about ADHD. Gain clarity by finding out what is fact and what is fiction about ADHD.

Myth 1: ADHD is made-up.

The people who ask, “Is ADHD even real?” are the ones who perpetuate the myth that ADHD is not a real medical condition. This myth is based on the untrue belief that people with ADHD are lazy, unmotivated, and simply need to try harder.

Truth: ADHD is a real medical condition.

In fact, there is a strong hereditary component to ADHD diagnoses. 1 in 4 children who are diagnosed with ADHD have parents that also have ADHD. Furthermore, there are actual differences in brain structure and development between those who have ADHD and those who do not.

Myth 2: Everyone with ADHD is hyperactive.

It is a common misconception that everyone with ADHD has endless amounts of energy. This is primarily due to the stereotype of kids running around with the inability to focus.

Truth: ADHD shows up differently for different people.

For some kids, hyperactivity is the key indicator of their ADHD. For others, however, ADHD shows up as a lack of impulse control and difficulty paying attention. It is also important to bear in mind that ADHD in adults may look different from ADHD in kids. Hyperactivity tends to dissipate as people age, which means that adults with ADHD could display difficulty paying attention, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus as their main symptoms.

Myth 3: ADHD is a learning disability.

Some people think that kids with ADHD are learning disabled and/or maybe less intelligent than their peers.

Truth: ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence.

Although learning disabilities are also not indicators of levels of intelligence, ADHD is not a learning disability. The disorder may impact one’s ability to focus, which could result in lower grades in school unless diagnosed. Still, ADHD is not an indication that there is a lower level of intellectual functioning.

Myth 4: Only kids have ADHD.

This piece of fiction about ADHD stems from the stereotype of hyperactive kids zooming around.

Truth: Both kids and adults can have ADHD.

One of the reasons people think only kids can have ADHD is that many adults learn to manage their symptoms as they age, but both children and adults can be diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, between 4-5% of U.S. adults have ADHD. While adults with ADHD may not have been officially diagnosed with the condition as kids, the symptoms must have been present during childhood.

Myth 5: ADHD is a boys-only disorder.

Some people believe that only boys can have ADHD.

Truth: All genders can have ADHD.

While children who identify as boys are twice as likely as those who identify as girls to be diagnosed with ADHD, it is not a gender-specific condition. The idea that ADHD is just for boys is a myth; boys are more likely to exhibit hyperactivity with ADHD than girls, who tend to display a more dreamlike state.

Myth 6: The only way to treat ADHD is with ADHD medication.

It is a common misconception that everyone with ADHD needs to be on ADHD medication such as Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Focalin, and Concerta.

Truth: There are many ways to treat ADHD.

ADHD treatment is different for everyone. Some people respond well to certain ADHD medications, whereas others find that talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works better. If you are considering ADHD medication but need guidance on which type would be best for you or your children, it may be worthwhile to explore pharmacogenetics testing for ADHD. Genetic testing for ADHD could help reduce the risk of side effects when trying ADHD medications and lead you to a more successful treatment plan from the start.

Myth 7: ADHD is the result of poor parenting.

Can bad parenting cause ADHD? Some think that harsh or excessively strict parenting, disorganization in the home, or inattentive parenting leads to ADHD in children.

Truth: Parenting is not to blame for ADHD.

Although a dysfunctional home setting may not help with concentration and focus in children, parenting style is not to blame for ADHD. Parents often blame themselves when a child is diagnosed with ADHD. They may look to discipline, diet changes, and sleep as common culprits as well. Once again, while these could contribute to behavioral problems, the myth that poor parenting causes ADHD is, indeed, a myth.

If you have questions about pharmacogenetics testing for ADHD or other mental health conditions, we encourage you to reach out to us at ClarityX for information on our Mindwell tests. Learn more when you contact us today.