Myths Surrounding ADHD
Like most disorders, there is a lot of wrong information out there about ADHD and ADD.
Some of that misinformation comes from the fact that for many years the medical profession diagnosed ADD and ADHD only in younger boys and no one else.
I think the most popular myth about ADHD is that it is not real. I hear too many people exclaim that "all that child needs is a good spanking". Many people believe that a ADHD diagnosis is just the current fad in the medical profession.
Another myth is that any child who misbehaves in a classroom is probably ADD. Add a slow learner or a child who has not yet learned to control outbursts or a child who doesn't do homework but watches TV instead and you get a few more candidates for ADD. Sadly, some parents just want to put their children on drugs to quiet them down.
Teachers have a difficult job under the best of circumstances, but a disruptive child or two can be a special challenge. But, disruptive children especially in the first few grades do not necessarily have ADD or ADHD. My daughter, who is a teacher, in recent years has seen more and more parents pushing to label their children ADHD.
While there appears to be an increase in ADHD and ADD in America, this may be due to many different reasons. One factor that needs to be considered is the evolution of technology and medicine. Each year, we learn more and more about every type of disorder and ADHD/ADD just happens to be among them. This does not mean that it is a fad diagnosis.
You have probably seen a lot of advertisements asking if you have Adult ADD. This is not something you suddenly develop as an adult. Undiagnosed ADHD/ADD in a child may be recognized in an adult simply because the information available has increased. However, most of the TV information is due to a drug company wanting to make a bigger profit.
Another thing to consider is that sometimes children are slapped with a label before it has even formally been diagnosed. The ADD label is so informally thrown around that how many children actually have the disorder is misconstrued. Now there is a formal proceedure that schools must go through before putting the ADHD/ADD label on a child. No single teacher or parent request will get that label applied.
Another myth is that ADD is overly diagnosed. This is simply not true. As discussed in the previous paragraph, ADD is not diagnosed formally unless a psychologist or psychiatrist tests an individual. Testing can either be formal (which I believe is preferable) or informal where an individual's history is taken and evaluated. Most Doctors do not just quickly give out ADD as a diagnosis, and will send the child and family for a consultation with a specialist in the field.
Another not true "fact" is that ADHD is only a disorder for hyperactive boys. This myth comes from the many years that it was promoted as fact by the medical community. Even doctors make mistakes and tend to follow the crowd at times. It is not true, and it is also not true that more boys have this than girls. Because girls have only recently been diagnosed, there is not an accurate picture of how many actually have to learn to live with ADHD/ADD.
Another myth that can be very damaging is that having ADD is only a small problem in an individual's life. Sure, some people have milder symptoms and an easier time in learning to live with ADHD. But, many children and adults have real problems in dealing with everyday life issues and routines. The difficulties that people with ADHD/ADD face should not be blown off simply because you don't have the problem and do not understand what it means.
A myth that has just recently been disproved is that people outgrow ADD by the age of twelve or thirteen. Some individuals may outgrow it or the symptoms dissipate over time, but many individuals do not. It is not something that just goes away on its own though, and anyone who thinks that is true has their facts wrong. Doctors now believe that learning to cope with this disorder is the best that can be hoped.
Perhaps the most devastating belief is that medication is the only thing you can do to help ADHD/ADD. This is something that is believed by a lot of people. Yes, medications help in many cases of ADD but it is the just the beginning of getting help. Counseling and learning how to structure your time and space are also very important steps to take.
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Sharon Owen edits and publishes AnswersForYourHealth/ADHD. Now you can have your health questions answered in plain language not doctor speak. For more information see http://adhd.answersforyourhealth.com
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Living with ADHD