ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder which is a chronic condition which affects millions of people from their childhood to their adulthood. At least two or three of the following difficulties are often present in people with ADHD, including an inability to pay attention, daydreaming or tuning out, organizational difficulties, and hyper-focus that results in losing the track of time. You have probably heard about ADHD earlier or know someone who has been diagnosed with it. You might even have specific assumptions about the disorder or how it usually shows up in relationships, but how well do you really understand the disorder? There are still a lot of misconceptions about ADHD that lead to misunderstandings and can make it difficult for people with ADHD to get the support they would need at their work or in school. Here are some myths about ADHD you might have not considered false earlier.
“ADHD is not a real disorder”
The American Psychiatric Association recognizes ADHD as a medical condition. It is often a hereditary disorder which affects early brain development to differ from people without ADHD. Persistent problems include trouble maintaining focus, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour which are all possible parts of ADHD. However, ADHD’s wide variety of symptoms can hinder everything from relationships to careers. ADHD symptoms are expressed differently in different people. One person may experience issues with organization and impulsivity. Another person might be unable to start a project or control their frustration levels. It is an invisible yet unmissable disorder.
“ADHD is a disorder that only affects children.”
ADHD is not exclusive to kids. Studies of kids with ADHD demonstrate that the condition is a lifespan disorder. Thus, the majority of people with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. However, some symptoms can lessen or disappear as kids with ADHD get older and learn new ways to manage their symptoms. Even when symptoms may change with age, most kids don’t totally outgrow ADHD.
“ADHD is caused by poor parenting.”
Some people assume that when children fidget, behave impulsively, or fail to pay attention, there is a lack of discipline. However, brain differences, not poor parenting, are what causes ADHD. Fidgeting, impulsivity, and difficulties listening are signs of a medical condition. Hence, ADHD symptoms never come from anything the parents or other caregivers did or didn’t do.
“People with ADHD just need to try harder.”
Those that have ADHD are already making every effort for paying attention. Hence, ADHD is not a problem with a lack of motivation, discipline or laziness. People with ADHD do not battle with attention because of their attitude. It results from differences in the structure and operation of their brains. Asking someone who is nearsighted to simply see farther is like telling someone with ADHD to “just focus better” or “try harder”. How it may feel like: focusing so hard on trying to focus that you don’t actually process what you are hearing, reading or watching.
“People with ADHD are never able to focus.”
Against the common assumption: ADHD actually causes people to pay too much attention to everything most of the time instead of being able to focus on anything. When their five senses pick up on extraneous information, people with ADHD are easily sidetracked and easily bounce from one activity to another. It can be easily overwhelming to be noticing multiple things simultaneously. Additionally, if something isn’t inherently interesting or emotionally compelling, people with ADHD may find it difficult to pay attention. How it might feel like: thoughts being pulled in a million different directions at once or having too many browser tabs open in one’s brain.
No more myths – just knowledge
ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all explanation for behaviour and difficulties. The ability of people with ADHD to adjust to different situations is influenced by factors such as stress, boredom, disinterest, lack of sleep, hunger, and a sense of being overwhelmed by noise. People with ADHD can see patterns, make connections, and find workarounds that others don’t. Creativity, empathy, imagination, a sense of humour, and experience managing stress can help people with ADHD to succeed in what they want to. Quite often people with ADHD are also highly sensitive and empathic. If you or someone close to you is struggling with ADHD symptoms, reaching out for suitable help or professionals is always advised.