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Things You Know and Might Not Know About ADHD

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Sure, you’ve been reading ADHD blogs, and you’ve got your subscription to ADDitude Magazine. You’re a webinar junkie and you’ve been using ADD Crusher’s instructional videos to crush your ADHD. You’ve read the ADHD classics and all the latest, including ADHD According to Zoë – The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys.

But do you really know as much as you think you do about ADHD?

Let’s find out.

You probably know: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-5) states that ADHD symptoms must be present before the age of 12 for a diagnosis.
You might not know: Some ADHD experts now say that a diagnosis is possible even if symptoms only appear later in life, even as late as middle age, in post-menopausal women, and in seniors.1

You probably know: Estimates for those with ADHD who also have a learning disability range from 20% to up to 70% but the two are thought to be two distinct disabilities.
You might not know: Some ADHD and learning disability experts say ADHD is by definition itself a learning disability.2

You probably know: Many adults with ADHD are convinced that neurofeedback has long-term positive effects on symptom management.
You might not know: the jury is out regarding research to back up that claim, but preliminary studies, while inconclusive, look promising.3

You probably know: Sports and exercise help alleviate ADHD symptoms.
You might not know: This isn’t just anecdotal; exercise is one of the few treatments for ADHD that is borne out in research. Many adults with ADHD say they take a brisk walk or workout before a meeting so they can focus better.4

You probably know: Sugar intake is commonly believed to exacerbate hyperactivity in kids with ADHD.
You might not know: The research to support this is inconclusive, with studies arriving at contradictory conclusions. On the other hand, sugar isn’t healthy for anyone,  so it’s a good idea to lessen its use or cut it out altogether (use substitutes like fruit, maple syrup, or other healthy sweeteners).

You probably know: More boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD, in a ratio of about 3:1.
You might not know:
By adulthood, the ratio of men to women with ADHD is 50 / 50. School-age girls aren’t identified as early with ADHD for many reasons. To learn more, check out my video: Diagnosing ADHD in Girls.

You probably know: Boys with ADHD tend to be more physically hyperactive and rambunctious in childhood (with the notable exception of some girls, but I won’t name names. Ok. Me.)
You might not know: Girls with ADHD tend to internalize shame, blame, and rejection and try harder to fit in with their classmates, get good grades at school and not be disruptive (these tendencies contribute to why they aren’t diagnosed until later in life).5

You probably know: ADHD takes different forms, some with hyperactivity and some with inattentiveness being more predominant (plus a combination category in which those like me are blessed with the full program).
You might not know: There’s another condition called Concentration Deficit Disorder (CDD) that mimics inattentive ADHD. Check out the Summer 2014 edition of ADDitude Magazine for an article about CDD called, The Other ADHD by Rosemary Tannock, Ph.D.6

What have you learned lately about ADHD?



1. Smart but Stuck, Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD by Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., Jossey-Bass, 2014,  p. 107
DSM-5 Changes: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by John M. Grohol, Psy. D.

2. Various personal interviews with ADHD and learning disability experts, 2014.

3. Fast Minds – How to Thrive If You Have ADHD (Or Think You Might), by Craig Surman, M.D. and Tim Bikey, M.D. with Karen Weintraub, The Berkley Publishing Group, 2013, p. 250

4. Exercise reduces the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and improves social behaviour, motor skills, strength and neuropsychological parameters by C.F. Kamp, B. Sperlich, and H.C. Holmberg, Acta Paediatrica, March 2014.

5. Understanding ADHD in Girls: Identification and Social Characteristics, by Janice A. Grskovic and Sydney S. Zentall, International Journal of Special Education., 2010, 25(1):170-183.

6. The Other ADD, by Rosemary Tannock, Ph.D., ADDitude Magazine, Summer 2014, pp. 42 – 43.


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Things You Know and Might Not Know About ADHD

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2014). Things You Know and Might Not Know About ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 May 2014
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