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Fact Vs. Fiction: Debunking the Myths About ADHD

Most people have heard of ADHD. Short for attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, it is a condition that impacts millions of people. When it comes to mental health topics, there is a lot of stigma and misinformation out there. ADHD is no exception to this. In fact, it is probably one of the most misunderstood mental health disorders.

When you have access to the correct information regarding mental health, it makes you more informed. Not only does it help you, but it will also help you support someone who has a certain mental health condition. Overall, accurate knowledge about mental health will generally destigmatize it in society.

Let’s talk about the real facts behind this condition.

Myth #1: ADHD Is Fake

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common in the mental health industry to hear that people don’t believe in the validity of certain disorders. While there are some conditions that aren’t diagnosable (even though they are real problems), ADHD is not one of these.

It is a very real mental health concern that all medical organizations verify it’s existence.

Myth #2: ADHD Only Impacts Children

Another common misconception regarding ADHD is the idea that it only impacts children. While ADHD is one of the most common mental health disorders in children, they aren’t alone in dealing with it.  

ADHD is not something that you can just grow out of as you get older. Instead, ADHD changes over time in how it impacts you. Furthermore, adults can still be diagnosed with ADHD. In all likelihood, ADHD was present when someone was a child. It’s just that, for whatever reason, it flew under the radar. Speaking of that…

Myth #3: Boys Only Deal With ADHD

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Speaking of flying underneath the radar, it’s a myth that only boys are impacted by ADHD. The truth is, girls also deal with it. ADHD is more commonly associated with boys due to them exhibiting more of the hyperactive symptoms. While it isn’t clear on why, boys are more likely to exhibit symptoms such as fidgeting, restlessness, or being hyperactive.

Girls, on the other hand, often go undiagnosed because they exhibit lesser-known/associated symptoms. Symptoms include indecisiveness, talking a lot, daydreaming, and forgetfulness.

Myth #4: It’s Overdiagnosed

When there is a rise in the number of people being diagnosed with mental health, many people will say, “It’s just being overdiagnosed too much.” Or, they might say things like, “They are only diagnosing it so frequently to force people to get on medication.”

The truth is, there is no validity with either of those statements. The reason why ADHD cases are on the rise is that there is more widespread knowledge and research being conducted within the medical and mental health fields. In fact, if anything, the standard for diagnosing and evaluating people to diagnose them with ADHD has become far more strict than that ever was. That isn’t a bad thing, though. Now, a proper diagnosis of ADHD often involves two separate doctors, primarily the family physician and a psychiatrist.

Myth #5: ADHD Is Easily Managed Without Meds

This is part myth and part fact. It’s a myth because managing ADHD, with or without meds, is not easy. Can ADHD be managed without medication? Absolutely, and in fact, it’s often recommended that other options besides meds, like therapy, lifestyle changes, or management tools, be used in addition to meds. But that does not mean that it is easy.

Part of the stigma surrounding mental health concerns, in general, is the idea of taking medication to treat them. While medication may not be appropriate for some individuals, it can really improve the quality of life for the majority of people who choose to do so.

If you or your child are struggling with ADHD, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for therapy. We can help you manage your symptoms as well as find ways to cope.

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Ammirati Counseling
Terri A. Ammirati, LCPC, has 25+ years of clinical experience. She is a Certified Gottman Therapist and presents Gottman's "The Art and Science of Love" couples workshop.

Terri specializes in empowering clients to strengthen their relationships. She works with all aspects of relational distress and provides solution-focused therapy.
Terri A. Ammirati