All it takes is one quick google search and you can find a wealth of information (and misinformation) on ADHD. We hear many common myths about ADHD from parents and people in the community. So today, we want to set the record straight by sharing some statistics and research. Let’s go ahead and dive into our top 5 myths and facts of ADHD.
1) Myth: ADHD isn’t a real disorder; it is the result of poor parenting.
This is a common myth. And if you are a parent of a child with ADHD, more than likely you have heard a lot of advice and criticism about your parenting. Let us set the record straight – there is no research to support that ADHD is caused by bad parenting. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental or brain-based disorder. It is strongly heritable, meaning it is often passed down from parents to their children. Approximately 65-75% of children with ADHD will have the diagnosis because of genes (aka a family member probably had that diagnosis as well). Approximately 25%-35% of cases of ADHD are likely attributed to toxins or hazardous events (birth trauma) – though more research is needed here. Though changing the way you parent can be helpful, this is not because you are a bad parent. This is because children with ADHD are biologically different and benefit from very specific strategies. If you want to learn more, check out our online course that offers step-by-step strategies to support your child with ADHD at home!
2) Myth: ADHD only affects boys.
While boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls (some studies suggest a ratio of 4:1), ADHD affects both boys and girls. Though the diagnostic criteria are the same, research has shown that the symptoms can look different in boys and girls. In general, girls are more likely to demonstrate inattentive symptoms, and boys are more likely to demonstrate hyperactivity. This may be a contributing factor to why boys are detected at a younger age; their hyperactive symptoms are more obvious to teachers and parents.
3) Myth: Medicating children with ADHD will lead to substance abuse later in life.
Research has shown the opposite is actually true. Children who go untreated for their ADHD symptoms (either with behavioral and/or medicine interventions) have been shown to use alcohol or drugs more frequently as teens and adults. This may be the result of children with ADHD feeling compelled to “self-medicate” because their symptoms are otherwise uncontrolled. While medications do not “cure” ADHD, they can be helpful in managing symptoms so that children can be successful. In fact, research has shown that they are the single most effective treatment for ADHD in children. They are one recommended first line of treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics in children over 6 years of age. Learning to manage the symptoms of ADHD early in life can also help reduce lifelong levels of anxiety and depression.
Looking for more information about ADHD treatment? You need this FREE ADHD Treatment Guide which breaks down all of the science behind common ADHD interventions.
4) Myth: ADHD accommodations at school give children with ADHD an unfair advantage.
Accommodations can be an incredibly useful set of tools to help “level the playing field” by allowing a child with ADHD to have access to the curriculum. Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments or tests, or change the grading structure. Rather, they help the student have the best opportunity possible to show what they know.
5) Myth: Children with ADHD will never be successful in their lives.
Children with ADHD have many unique strengths. With the right support, they can live happy and fulfilling lives. Individuals with ADHD have a unique way of seeing the world, and they can be exceptional problem solvers. At their best, they can bring creativity, humor, and enthusiasm to situations and are a welcome addition to a group. It is important for children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD to find areas they can excel in, and for caregivers to encourage these talents and interests.
If you are interested in more of the science behind many common ADHD treatments, click here to get our Free ADHD Treatment Guide.
And, if you are a parent of a child with ADHD (or suspected ADHD), make sure to check out our online course, Creating Calm. You can watch this course on your own schedule from anywhere in the world (no babysitter required!).
We hope you have an amazing week!
Katie, Lori, and Mallory