ADHD Myths and Misconceptions

ADHD is a disorder that a lot of people don’t fully understand. This leads to false concepts about the condition and the individuals who have it most of the time. But to fully understand the difficulties someone may face having ADHD, you need to know what ADHD is and the myths that surround this condition. 

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that causes someone to have hyperactive and impulsive behavior above normal levels. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), it affects more than 8% of children and 2.5% adults. That makes it one of the major reasons for neurodevelopmental issues in kids. 


Here are some common misconceptions about this disorder and the facts proving why they aren’t true:

ADHD isn’t real.

ADHD is not a defect in one’s personality or character. It is a disorder formally recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the U.S Department of Education. Clinicians began noticing signs of ADHD in kids in the early 1700s, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s that the American Psychiatric Association officially recognized ADHD as a diagnosis.


All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.

This concept about ADHD is not true. 

There are three subtypes of ADHD, which include:

  •  Inattentive-The main signs of this type are a lack of focus, getting distracted easily, and being disorganized.
  • Hyperactive/impulsive- People with this subtype show no signs of inattention, yet they are agitated and restless. This is the rarest kind of ADHD.
  • Combined-This is the most prevalent type of ADHD, and it includes the symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive.


It’s important to remember that a child doesn’t have to be hyperactive to diagnose ADHD. A child with symptoms of inattention may seem like they daydream a lot and are distracted easily. They might be messy, forgetful, or not care about what they do.

If they can focus on a video game, they can’t have ADHD.

The problem isn’t so much that they can’t focus but that they can’t keep their attention on tasks that require prolonged attentiveness and seem dull. Hyperfocus is a symptom of ADHD that can cause youngsters to spend too much time on one thing and completely forget about other things they need to do. This can happen when an activity or a place stimulates them too much.

Only boys can have ADHD

Nearly 80% of teachers and over 60% of ordinary people believe that only boys can have ADHD. However, girls have the equal possibility to have the condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because of this common misperception, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition.


Based on research published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), girls are more likely to exhibit predominantly inattentive signs, such as daydreaming, as opposed to boys, who are more likely to exhibit stereotypical behaviors like restlessness and hyperactivity.


However, this is not always the case. As mentioned earlier, ADHD has three types; it’s not just about hyperactivity. Boys can also have the inattentive type of this condition. In addition, ADHD doesn’t have a direct connection to gender; it’s about the brain chemistry of the person. The reason why the condition is commonly linked with boys is that they are more likely to display externalizing hyperactive behavior compared to girls, who mostly have distracted symptoms. But this doesn’t mean that girls can’t be hyperactive.


Kids with ADHD are troublemakers and lazy.

This misconception seems to be one of the hardest on kids because it says that they are trying to make other people mad on purpose and that they are troublemakers and lazy.


There are times when parents may feel scrutinized because of the misperceptions that they need to be more strict with their children. The public doesn’t know that the kids with ADHD are trying their best to be more attentive and interact with the people around them. Most of the time, these objectives are beyond their capability; that’s why they often fail and it makes them feel irritable and frustrated.


Taking medicine is dangerous! 

The American Pediatric Association (APA) strongly recommends proper medication and behavioral health treatments as primary options for treating ADHD. Even though some prescription drugs can have adverse effects, it is crucial to talk to your doctor about your concerns and the best treatment method.

ADHD roots in poor parenting.

This is a common misconception among the general public. ADHD is a biological disorder that even healthy adults can acquire.

Children with ADHD act most of the time very impulsively. However, they do impulsive things because of their brain chemistry, making it difficult to control their impulses. 

Even though kids with ADHD need some kind of healing structure, punishing their impulsive behaviors can do more harm than good. The best thing you can do as a parent is to stay with your child side by side throughout their treatment process. Ensure that they get the right help and medication they need to keep the symptoms under control.


ADHD can only be treated with medicine.

ADHD is a disorder that a lot of people don’t fully understand. Medications such as dexamfetamine, atomoxetine, and methylphenidate can aid in managing ADHD symptoms. But synthetic drugs are not really the long-term answer. Incorporating medicine and behavioral therapy is the best way to treat ADHD. 

Behavioral therapies have been utilized to treat kids’ disruptive and aggressive behavior and those with ADHD for decades.

There are different types of behavioral therapy treatments available today. This includes clinical behavior therapy, neurofeedback therapy, and direct contingency management.


Having a child with ADHD can be frustrating for both you and your kid. 

ADHD is a disorder that a lot of people don’t fully understand. But you can help your child do well if you fully understand the condition and clear up any misconceptions and myths about ADHD that you and the people around you have in the first place.