Friday, February 10, 2006

Misconceptions about ADHD

Some of the misconceptions about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include the following:1

There is no such medical condition as ADHD.

ADHD is a medical disorder, not a condition of the child's will. A child with ADHD does not choose to misbehave.

ADHD is caused by bad parenting. All the child needs is good discipline.

ADHD is not caused by bad parenting, however, parenting techniques can often improve or worsen some symptoms.

ADHD is a life sentence.

Although ADHD symptoms usually continue into adulthood, the person learns ways to cope with the symptoms. People with ADHD have plenty of energy, are creative, and can often accomplish more than people who do not have the condition.

Having ADHD means the person is lazy or dumb.

ADHD has nothing to do with a person's intellectual ability. Some highly intelligent people have ADHD.

The diagnosis of ADHD is confirmed if certain medications (psychostimulants) have a positive effect on what seem to be symptoms of ADHD.

Children without ADHD respond to psychostimulants similarly to children with ADHD. A trial of medication is not used to diagnose the condition.

Medication for ADHD will make a person seem drugged.

Properly adjusted medication for ADHD sharpens a person's focus and increases his or her ability to control behavior.

Medication prescriptions for ADHD have greatly increased in the past few years because the condition is being overdiagnosed.

ADHD is estimated to affect approximately 3% to 7% of all school-age children in the United States.2 There is little evidence to support claims that ADHD is overdiagnosed and ADHD medications overprescribed.3

Psychostimulants are no longer useful after puberty.

Teens and adults with ADHD continue to benefit from medication treatment.

Children with ADHD are learning to use the condition as an excuse for their behavior.

ADHD is a disability. Children with ADHD have to learn ways to deal with their symptoms (inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity) that cause them to have difficulties in life.

Children outgrow ADHD.

About 70% to 80% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms during their teen years and about 50% have symptoms into adulthood.4

If a child has ADHD, he or she can always be diagnosed in the health professional's office.

A child may not always show symptoms of ADHD, especially in an unfamiliar setting. Evaluating a child from one office observation may result in failure to recognize or diagnose symptoms.

Robin AL (1999). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescents: Common pediatric concerns. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 46(5): 1027–1038.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text rev., pp. 85–103. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Brown RT, et al. (2001). Prevalence and assessment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in pimary care settings. Pediatrics, 107(3): 1–11.

National Institute of Mental Health (2003). Attention Deficit Disorder. NIH Publication No. 03-3572. Available online:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I read this all I could think of was Tom Cruise and his comments re depression. Articles like this are highly irresponsible.

As an adult that grew up wondering what was wrong with me, why was I so different? Always feeling depression, anxiety.. The hyperness.. The sadness... Sorry Folks, ADHD is REAL. As real as Depression and it can bring on depression due to the loneliness our disability/disorder inflicts on us.

Yes, some of us are different, some can get "better" with behavior modification and other alternative vitamins.. but many of us, that isn't the option.

I grew up in the Caribbean. I didn't have TV to watch all day; didn't want to anyways. The ocean was my playground. Water is safe there, free of lead, so that wasn't the cause. No there wasn't lead base paint in my home.

My mother had us eat the 5 food groups with every dinner, no, missing breakfast and lunch. And a Salad was included every day. So, that wasn't the problem either.

She had be taking a vitamin b complex and massage therapy - that helped a bit, but no that didn't cure me either.

So, as an adult, suicidal emotions were rampant. I've stayed away from Drugs, alcohol, and anything that could be addictive (oops, I do smoke cigarettes, hard to stop, as they REALLY do calm me down) - didn't want to try any street drugs as I was scared of really liking them, and what the outcome would be. I don't even like taking any medication for basic pains either, headaches, back pain. Nothing

Doctors thought maybe bi-polar - no, cause the emotions were to rapid; Depression - those pills caused me to become suicidal; Maybe I had a personality disorder they thought - those pills made me a raving lunatic;

Could it be ADHD? I asked.. My son has it, my father shows the signs. No, they said.. You are too old, Adults don't have adhd. The kids grow out of it by the time they are 14 --- YEAH RIGHT !!!! said with sarcasm - No ONE and I mean NO ONE wanted to acknowledge that I had ADHD! and NO ONE wanted to help me!

Finally, Adults have finally been recognized. The first time I tried any medication was in a clinical study. Literally I could start SEEING better, HEARING better, not only did I get to pay attention more, feel more focused, feel more part of the society that seemed to shun me, so different.. I was able to become a part of it. It happened immediately.

Everyone around me noticed the results immediately - it was like I entered the world of being human. I fit in.

Unfortunately the drugs do build up in my system, and I have to cycle them, off and on. Am I aware? you bet, after a couple of weeks, I know, it is time to get on them again; People who are close to me (there aren't many- I still have a hard time opening up to others, more out of habit today) let me know when again, because I am driving them insane. Unfortunately there isn't a magic cure, YET, and it is all different for different people.. but I can assure you.

Sorry Charlie -- Doctors don't really like giving ADHD medication as many of the Naysayer Dr’s likes to present. The reality, you have to Fight to get medicated.. You have to Fight the doctors, do so many tests to be correctly diagnosed, and forget about trying to change doctors -- Did you know we have to make sure you go back each mth for a prescription - as expensive as that may be, because the Doctor could lose their license for prescribing multi mth doses? - oh, and let's not forget your insurance company hassles, especially if you want to miss a couple of mths to purge!

Why is Adhd so rampant today? Because Adults were Never diagnosed Correctly. We had to live in Hell because of the Naysayers, who obviously has not lived within the mind of an individual like us.

If it were such a myth - this ADHD - then explain WHY do we need to have Behavior modification, or eat special foods? WHY are there so many different Alternatives to help the individuals of this so called Myth?

My question to the “dr’s” who believe this is a myth – have YOU Sat with a group (50 or more) ADULT Adhd individuals, and heard their stories.. See us before we take our meds, have us take our meds in front of you, and then see the difference.. listen to us speak, think, read, watch our attention, watch our body language.. before and after.. and then tell me that you still believe it isn’t real.

Try to convince Us too that what we feel isn’t real. There would be a group of very unhappy people for sure.

To the Dr’s who don’t believe, I think you have been out of the field for too long, for you to even be able to really get an honest perspective on this disorder.. it was people like YOU who put my life in jeopardy with your misdiagnoses.

Yes Virginia – Indeed, there really is ADHD