Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
I have worked professionally with people diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder) and personally with friends and family members who have either been diagnosed with ADHD, or show traits that indicate that they may have it. There are still many persistent myths surrounding ADHD. I would like to help separate fact from fiction regarding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
1. My 4 year old is noisy and has a short attention span. He must have ADHD.
Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't. Most 4 years olds are loud, busy people. His attention span might be short because he is young. If you are concerned, discuss it with your health care provider.
2. All children with ADHD are hyperactive.
This is not true. There are three types of ADHD. The inattentive type is not characterized by hyperactivity. People with this kind of ADHD tend to misplace objects, are distractable and seem to make careless mistakes. The second type is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and restlessness. The third type is the most common. It is a combination of the first two.
3. He will outgrow it.
Many adults suffer from ADHD. They may have difficulty with organizational and other work skills such as listening, planning and prioritizing. They may feel anxious and irritable. Outstanding leaders in all walks of life have had traits that indicate that they may have been challenged with ADHD. Examples include: Bill Gates, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis and the Wright Brothers. People with ADHD do not outgrow it. With proper support, they are able to manage it and lead productive lives.
4. Children with ADHD just need to be parented and disciplined better. They are lazy. It’s a behavioral problem.
If only it was that easy! Children with ADHD come from amazing families and families who are not the best, just like everyone else. These kids want to please. They want to succeed just like everyone else. It is just harder for them.
Imagine trying to concentrate on learning a difficult subject and being distracted by cars going by, pencils being sharpened, an itchy sweater, a fly buzzing around and the sound of a clock in the classroom. Most people are not even aware of those activities. Children with ADHD are sometimes unable to tune all of those things out. Each one takes up the same amount of attention as the task at hand. Having ADHD is hard work. These kids work harder than most.
5. People with ADHD are stupid.
Again, this is simply not true. Some people with ADHD are brilliant. Sadly, many people diagnosed with ADHD feel like they are stupid even when they are very intelligent, as it can be more challenging and time consuming to learn.
People with ADHD are just like everyone else. ADHD can affect a person a little or a lot.
ADHD is a real condition. More tools need to be developed which can diagnose and assist people with ADHD. People with ADHD often struggle from a poor self image. Sometimes, natural remedies that aid concentration and relaxation are beneficial. Strategies that reduce distraction in the work place and routines can also help. Patience, kindness, opportunity and understanding go a long way in helping people with ADHD maximize their full potential.