Myths and Facts of ADHD

October 17, 2021

All it takes is a quick google search to find a wealth of information (and misinformation) on ADHD.

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All it takes is one quick google search and you can find a wealth of information (and misinformation) on ADHD. We hear common myths about ADHD all the time from parents and people in the community. So today, we want to set the record straight by sharing statistics and research. Let’s 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.

Read that again. And if you are a parent of a child with ADHD,  you hear a lot of advice about your parenting. For the record – 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. Changing the way you parent is helpful, but ADHD is not because you’re a bad parent. 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.  Children with ADHD that are not empowered with tools feel 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 a 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 are incredibly useful tools that 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. Children with ADHD need find areas they can excel in, and caregivers should encourage these talents and interests.

We want to empower you with 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

The contents of this site are opinions of The Childhood Collective PLLC partners unless otherwise noted. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any type of medical condition and is not intended as personalized medical/psychological advice. Any decision you make regarding your and your family’s health and medical treatments should be made with a qualified healthcare provider. 

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  1. […] I get into answering the question of which specialist to choose, let’s first discuss ADHD. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder whereby a child has difficulty paying attention and/or has […]

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