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Myths and Facts About ADHD

Feb 17, 2023
Myths and Facts About ADHD
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it is a condition that affects millions of people including children, sometimes well into adulthood. There are lots of misconceptions about it, so let’s set the facts straight.

There are many things that affect our emotional, social, and cognitive development, and problems that influence those functions are known as neurodevelopmental disorders. They often occur in children and cover a range of illnesses, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, and various learning, conduct, and intellectual disorders. 

The most common type of neurodevelopmental disorder is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and like many of the other conditions, it may go undiagnosed for many years before it is found and treated. A lot of myths surround this condition, and some of them can actually make it harder for people to get the treatment they need. Let’s try to separate fact from fiction by examining what ADHD is, its causes and symptoms, and what people often get wrong about it.

If you live in the Kingwood or the Woodlands area of Texas and you or someone you love is struggling with ADHD or other types of neurodevelopmental disorders, Dr. Athi Venkatesh and the dedicated team at Kingwood Psychiatry can help.

Defining ADHD

As is indicated by the full name, people struggling with this mental condition have problems with a range of things such as impulse control, hyperactivity, focusing on single tasks, and sitting still. This is a complex illness that is broken down into three types for easier diagnosis:

  1. Predominantly inattentive: People struggling with this type have problems with focus, performing tasks, and following instructions
  2. Predominantly hyperactive/ impulsive: This type describes people that fidget, can’t wait their turn for things, and frequently interrupt others
  3. Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive: This type displays aspects of both of the other types in varying degrees

ADHD commonly starts in childhood, can go undiagnosed until well into adulthood, and leads to significant disruption in school, work, social, and home life.

Causes and symptoms

The causes of this condition are not completely understood, but research points to possible issues with dopamine reduction. This would affect the brain’s ability to trigger emotional responses to stimuli, causing abnormal behavior especially when the brain is still developing. Other possible risk factors include brain injury, low birth weight, smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy, or environmental factors during pregnancy or while very young.

Symptoms will vary depending on the type of ADHD and include not appearing focused when spoken to, bad time management, disorganization, frequently losing things, forgetfulness, highly active in inappropriate situations, difficulty waiting, talking too much, and impatience.

Misconceptions about ADHD

The complexity of this condition leads to many different myths, such as:

Myth: ADHD is just bad parenting

One of the common responses to children with ADHD is to blame the parents for having a bad child, not realizing there is a neurodevelopmental problem manifesting itself. Those that cope with the illness are born with it, and the causes mentioned above bear that out. Parenting has nothing to do with it.

Myth: It is a learning disability

Simply because this illness can make learning difficult for those with it doesn't make it a learning disability, which is a common misconception. Learning disabilities stem from an inability to read, spell, or process information, like dyslexia. ADHD is a developmental problem that causes problems with many things, including paying attention.

Myth: It’s caused by caffeine and sugar

Foods and drinks don’t cause ADHD, so all the sugar and caffeine you take in will not cause you to develop a neurodevelopmental illness. It’s genetic, not developed from diet. This myth simply comes from people that don’t understand what ADHD is.

Myth: You don’t need help for ADHD

It’s sadly common for people to dismiss mental conditions, and ADHD is no different, whether they assume kids are just bad or that they just need straightening out. With adults getting a proper diagnosis can be even more difficult, and in both cases, medication can definitely make a difference in the life of someone with the condition.

ADHD is a problem that millions of people deal with undiagnosed because of misconceptions or simply being unaware of what the illness is. We can help, so if you struggle with the symptoms mentioned above make an appointment with Dr. Venkatesh and Kingwood Psychiatry today to get the treatment you need.