ADHD has been talked about a lot in the media, social media and word of mouth. As with all psychiatric disorders, it has not been free from gossip and myths. In fact, along with ASD, ADHD is one of the most misunderstood developmental disorders.
Some blame the parents, some blame the pharmaceutical industry, and some underestimate the seriousness of the disease. The list of ADHD myths could be endlessbut today we are going to focus on the most shared ones.
Myths about ADHD
Of all the childhood disorders, ADHD, along with ASD, is definitely one of the myths and lies that swirl around it.. There is a lot of misinformation about children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Whether it’s ignoring its symptoms, attributing it to lesser severity, considering childhood pathological, or directly saying it’s an invention of the pharmaceutical industry, the truth is that there are deep rooted rumors about what ADHD is.
Misinformation harms families, but especially children with ADHD. Having this disorder and not diagnosing or treating it in time has a very negative effect on your academic performance, your social relationships, your self-image and your self-esteem. Not knowing why they are doing poorly in school and not getting help to improve academically will determine their future, thinking they are less intelligent than others and feeling deeply depressed and frustrated by this. This is why it is so important that, if there is any suspicion that our child may have this disorder, seek professional help.
Next, let’s look at 11 ADHD myths and explain them in depth.
1. ADHD is a discipline problem
ADHD has a biological origin, with a high heritability (75%). This psychiatric disorder manifests itself in several ways, having the following main components:
- Hyperactivity: altered level of activity.
- Impulsivity: poor behavioral self-control.
- Inattention: lack of attention and concentration.
Boys and girls with this psychiatric illness have severe problems with attention and concentration, as well as impulsiveness inappropriate for their age and developmental stage.
That a child with ADHD is not the parents’ fault. Many believe it is a matter of discipline, the result of the parents’ inability to effectively control the child. Of course, parents may have had this problem, not because they were bad educators but because it is precisely a symptom of ADHD. Your child’s behavior overwhelms them.
The diagnosis of ADHD is very reliable and There are worldwide associations of parents of children with this disorder where they can turn to for help..
2. It’s not ADHD, it’s just that some kids are picky.
It is true that most boys and girls are impulsive and sometimes tend to be inattentive, sometimes to the extreme. However, in the case of a child with ADHD, it is not that it is simply “difficult” for his parents or his teachers, nor that he has his head in something else. His hyperactivity and lack of attention are serious enough to speak of a disabilitya problem that prevents you from working normally in your day-to-day life.
Your symptoms consistently and severely prevent you from doing well in school, adjusting to family routines, following house rules, maintaining friendships, and avoiding injury. Clear functional impairment in children with ADHD is what drives pediatricians and child psychiatrists to diagnose the disorder and recommend treatment.
3. Your child will get ADHD if they focus on their video games for hours
In most cases, ADHD involves problems with tasks that require attention for long periods of time, not so much in interesting or challenging activities. Middle school is especially difficult for children with ADHD because classes are less stimulating in terms of sight, sound, and physical activity, unlike video games.
Most children with ADHD are diagnosed during the school years precisely because the academic, social, and behavioral demands during those years are very difficult for them. It may appear that their difficulties are due to school, a possibility that should be considered, but they are more likely to result from the child’s efforts to manage this environment.
Other situations that can be difficult for children with ADHD that occur at school are social interactions; sports where they need to concentrate (e.g. catching a ball, tennis, volleyball…) and extracurricular activities that require them to sit still, listen or wait your turn for long periods of time.
4. ADHD is a new disease or an invention
One of the most common myths about ADHD is that it is an invention, a new “disease” created to pathologize children’s behavior and medicalize children from an early age. .
It is true that the name ADHD is new and an invention, an acronym known for this disorder of attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity since 1994. However, the symptoms associated with this condition were already known in the 19th century .Various diagnostic labels have been proposed over the past two centuries. Just because the name is new doesn’t mean the disorder didn’t exist before..
One of the earliest records of what we know today as ADHD dates back to 1865, when it appeared in the story “Der Struvanupeter” (Peter the Hairless), written by Heinrich Hoffmann. It was originally called “Minimal Brain Dysfunction”. Later, in 1950, it was dubbed “hyperkinetic syndrome” and a decade later, hyperactive child syndrome or childhood hyperkinetic reaction.
In the 1980s, the name of the disorder was changed again, this time to a name similar to what we have today: attention deficit disorder., with or without hyperactivity (AD with H and AD without H). There are three subtypes in the current DSM-5 classification: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. Its frequency of diagnosis is fairly constant around the world, ranging from 2 to 6%.
5. ADHD is a fake disease, the result of parents’ impatience with their child’s normal behavior.
ADHD must be diagnosed and treated as early as possible because it has a very negative impact on the child. Decreases school performance and, therefore, can lead to school failure, failure of subjects, repetition of courses, school dropout.. And even if there is no school failure, the fact that he has difficulties in class and does not receive an explanation of why will make the boy or the girl think that he is less intelligent, having very low self-esteem and self-concept.
But there are not only problems in the studies. The social and emotional life of children with ADHD is also affected in the form of problems in relationships with peers, friends and family by their impulsivity. Children with this condition have few friends and are short-lived, which indirectly contributes to repeated academic failure and misbehavior. All of this can lead to bouts of depression.
If they don’t get the treatment they deserve when they are young, it will be difficult for them to find work when they reach adulthood and the jobs they get will be below their abilities. Additionally, adults with untreated ADHD may experience multiple consequences associated with irresponsibility, such as having children at an early age, higher rates of substance abuse, lack of work organization, and job retention. weaker.
If these children are not treated properly, their jobs will be below capacity in the future. Added to this are issues such as more pregnancies at an early age, higher rates of substance abuse, lower career progression, and lower job retention. Children with untreated ADHD are more likely to develop negative behaviors: disobedience, defiance, addictions…
6. Anyone can be diagnosed with ADHD
To properly manage ADHD and prevent its complications, correct and early diagnosis is highly necessary. The first to suspect that a child may have this psychiatric condition are parents and teachers.
Whatever experience teachers may have with ADHD in their classroom, they are not in the best position to diagnose the disorder, but a child psychologist, child psychiatrist, or pediatrician who specializes in psychiatric illness.
We point out that the definitive diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist specializing in childhood and adolescence, a neuropediatrician or a clinical psychologist. Once diagnosed, a treatment plan is developed through interdisciplinary collaboration between a clinical psychologist, educator, support teacher, and other mental health and early childhood education professionals.
7. Medication should never be used as the first treatment option for ADHD
ADHD It’s too complex a disorder to be treated with just one option.. Treating this condition involves educating parents about what ADHD is and how to manage their child’s behavior, as well as giving them the support and academic adjustment they need. In addition to this, pharmacological treatment is necessary, as medications for this condition affect the incompatible brain chemistry behind the symptoms of this disorder.
Parents can help children with ADHD by setting clear rules of consequences and rewards for certain behaviors. They also need to collaborate with the little one on chores and homework, dividing them up if necessary, setting stable and predictable routines, increasing the structure of their time and ordering the home, eliminating distractions and motivating the little one.
We have several effective medications to help children with ADHD. On the one hand, we have psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate (for example, Rubifen®, Concerta® and Medikinet®), which mainly acts on dopamine. Other non-stimulant mood-altering drugs, such as atomoxetine (Strattera®), which affect norepinephrine levels, are also helpful.
8. Use Psychotherapy and Avoid ADHD Medications at All Costs
Psychotherapy is essential, not only in ADHD but in all mental disorders. Psychological treatments serve as training for parents on the symptoms, control and management of the child’s behavior..
However, we must understand that ADHD is a condition with a lot of neurological basis and that treatments such as psychoanalysis, play therapy or cognitive training to improve concentration, memory and attention have not shown good results without combining them with drugs. The focus should be on the school, the application of tutoring, the individualization of study techniques and the revision of the subjects that cost you the most..
Any treatment offered as magic, which promises immediate, rapid, effortless and permanent cure of ADHD must be questioned. Extremely expensive treatments can be found in the market to ensure that ADHD can be easily cured.
The sad reality is that behind them are unscrupulous people who are ready to profit from the suffering of parents who, desperate for their child to be “normal”, are ready to pay any price. ADHD is a chronic disease, and although its symptoms improve as the individual matures, requires professional pharmacological and psychological intervention, based on scientific evidence.
9. ADHD Only Affects Childhood
It is true that some of the symptoms of hyperactivity lose their intensity as they mature. But, on the other hand, the symptoms associated with inattention, and especially those of impulsivity, persist in adolescence and adulthood.
A third of children with ADHD ‘stop’ having it before adolescence. The reason for this is a matter of debate, ranging from overdiagnosis (which is real) to a significant enough reduction in symptoms with enough treatment to consider the disorder gone. Another third will stop having ADHD before adulthood. Finally, the remaining third will continue to have ADHD into adulthood.
Despite these statistics, it can be said that some who “recover” have symptoms that affect them, so it is considered that ADHD, even if it is no longer as intense as in childhood, it is a chronic problem that requires long-term management. Similarly, remission of symptoms in adolescence and adulthood may be relevant enough for the individual to have a successful academic and social life.
10. ADHD Only Affects Boys, Not Girls
Another myth is that ADHD only affects boys and not girls. This is the feeling it gives, since this disorder goes more unnoticed in girls. The reason is that showed less hyperactivity and opposition to adults, showing less negative behavior and learning. Girls with ADHD usually don’t have academic performance issues until high school.
11. ADHD Medications Are Addictive
One of the strongest arguments against medicating children with ADHD is that drugs are addictive. The reality is that methylphenidate, the main pharmacological option for ADHD, is not addictive if the therapeutic doses are respected. While it is chemically similar to amphetamine, at normal doses for ADHD and taken orally, it does not produce a euphoric effect.
This is not to say that one should not be careful with these drugs as they are still drugs and as with all precautions should be taken. In high doses, methylphenidate causes euphoric effects, and if given to children with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, it should be monitored very closely.