Common ADHD myths

Several ideas and preconceptions we may have about ADHD are incorrect and simply not true. Below I address some of these.

Myth 1: ADHD is not a real condition
More than 10,000 scientific articles and books have been published on ADHD. Research shows several differences between those with ADHD and those with neurotypical (non-ADHD) brains. ADHD can impact major life domains in terms of functioning, including social, emotional, and academic functioning. ADHD runs in families, with a 57% chance for a child to have ADHD if a parent has it too. Taken together there is more than enough evidence to be confident that ADHD is a real, neurodevelopmental condition.

Myth 2: if you have ADHD it means you are less intelligent
There is no correlation between ADHD and intelligence. People from across the whole intelligence spectrum (very low to very high) can have ADHD. Many people with ADHD are extremely intelligent and high functioning. Altogether, having ADHD certainly does not mean that you would be less intelligent than people without ADHD.

Myth 3: ADHD is a childhood condition
Long-term studies indicated that ADHD is a lifespan disorder, with many children still having symptoms into adulthood. ADHD persists from childhood into adulthood in 35%–65% of individuals. Symptoms will likely change over time with often more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity observed in children and more inattention in adults. It often happens that once a child gets diagnosed, one of the parents starts realizing they may have undiagnosed ADHD as well due to similarity in symptoms.

Myth 4: ADHD is Over-Diagnosed
The rate of ADHD diagnoses in children increases by 5% yearly. This has led some people to question if ADHD is being over-diagnosed. But shows that children are being carefully diagnosed and that most ADHD diagnoses was made following best-practice guidelines. Explanations for increased numbers of diagnoses include more awareness about ADHD, more screenings by healthcare professionals, less stigma, and availability of better therapy support options.

Myth 5: Poor Parenting Causes ADHD
Research studies point to genetic and neurological factors as the main causes of ADHD rather than parenting approach. Twin studies of individuals with ADHD show that family environments contributes extremely little to the observed differences in ADHD symptoms. Instead it is predictive whether a parent has ADHD for a child’s change of developing ADHD.

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