Seven myths about AD/HD...debunked!
The truth behind seven mistaken beliefs about AD/HD.
Few psychological conditions have generated more discussion in recent years than attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). Yet, people continue to harbor many mistaken beliefs about it. Read on to learn the truth about AD/HD.
Myth #1: AD/HD isn't a real medical disorder.
AD/HD has been recognized as a legitimate diagnosis by major medical, psychological, and educational organizations, including the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education. The American Psychiatric Society recognizes ADHD as a medical disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the official mental health bible used by psychologists and psychiatrists.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (also known as attention deficit disorder) is biologically based. Research shows that it's a result of an imbalance of chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, within the brain. Its primary symptoms are inattention, impulsiveness, and, sometimes, hyperactivity. People with AD/HD typically have a great deal of difficulty with aspects of daily life, including time management and organizational skills.
Myth #2: Children who are given special accommodations because of their AD/HD are getting an unfair advantage.
The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that public schools address the special needs of all children with disabilities, including children with AD/HD. Special accommodations, such as extra time on tests, simply level the playing field so that kids with AD/HD can learn as successfully as their non-AD/HD classmates.
Myth #3: Children with AD/HD eventually outgrow their condition.
More than 70% of the individuals who have AD/HD in childhood continue to have it in adolescence. Up to 50% will continue to have it in adulthood. Although it's been estimated that 6% of the adult population has AD/HD, the majority of those adults remain undiagnosed, and only one in four seek treatment. Yet, without help, adults with AD/HD are highly vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. They often experience career difficulties, legal and financial problems, and troubled personal relationships.
Myth #4: AD/HD affects only boys.
Girls are just as likely to have AD/HD as are boys, and gender makes no difference in the symptoms caused by the disorder. But because this myth persists, boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls.