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Myths VS Facts About Childhood ADHD

myths vs facts

It’s time to clear up some common misconceptions!

Here’s a list of some of the most frequently assumed ideas about childhood ADHD and the real truths behind them.

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MYTH: There is no biological difference between children who have ADHD and children who do not.

FACT: Children with ADHD have proven biological differences in their brains. They have lower dopamine levels, brains that mature 3-5% more slowly, thinner frontal cortexes, and more rapidly maturing motor cortexes.

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MYTH: If caregivers were more consistent with discipline, children with ADHD would eventually stop showing symptoms.

FACT: Children and teens with ADHD require more consistent (unchanging) discipline than their peers, however, no amount of discipline can remove ADHD symptoms completely. Structured, yet kind, discipline can only improve the symptoms or make them less frequent.

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MYTH: Children/teens with ADHD can easily socialize and find friends if they choose to.

FACT: Some kids with ADHD make friends very easily because they’re outgoing and talkative. Other kids with ADHD, however, have a hard time making friends because they’re too talkative or too active. And those who have the opposite kind of ADHD (Inattentive Type) usually portray symptoms of reclusiveness and forgetfulness, which can also impair the ability to socialize.

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MYTH: All ADHD looks the same.

FACT: There three types of ADHD. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD manifests with symptoms like talking too much, making rash decisions, and being “driven by a motor. Inattentive Type ADHD manifests with symptoms like forgetfulness, “head in the clouds,” and frequently losing things. Combined Type ADHD manifests with symptoms of both.

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MYTH: ADHD manifests the same way in both boys and girls.

FACT: Boys are statistically more likely to have Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD or Combined Type ADHD. Girls are statistically more likely to have Inattentive Type ADHD, which makes girls much less likely to receive a diagnosis because their symptoms are harder to catch.

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MYTH: Younger children and teens show the same type of ADHD symptoms.

FACT: Most teens with ADHD have gained a better ability to control their body movements because their brains have matured in those specific areas. However, some of them start to struggle more than usual with symptoms of inattentiveness because they’re dealing with more variables like lack of sleep, changing hormones, etc.

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MYTH: You can usually tell that a child has ADHD from the moment they’re born.

FACT: While parents can often look back on their child’s toddler years (after their child has received a diagnosis of ADHD) and say, “Okay, that explains a lot,” no one can say with 100% certainty that a child has ADHD until they’ve left the toddler years. Right now, the youngest age medical/behavioral health professionals can technically diagnose it is five years old. Until then, behaviors amongst children all look way too similar to distinguish one from the other.

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MYTH: Kids outgrow ADHD.

FACT: Some children do “outgrow” symptoms of ADHD because their particular set of symptoms might be stemming from slower maturity of the brain. When the brain fully matures, albeit slower than other people’s, they reach the same level of maturity as their peers, thus, “outgrowing” ADHD symptoms.

Some children, however, never outgrow ADHD because their symptoms don’t stem from slower maturity of the brain. Some types of ADHD stem from lower levels of dopamine in the brain (or a variety of other factors), which will never change over time. Some people have ADHD their entire lives.

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MYTH: ADHD can be diagnosed with a brain scan.

FACT: While physical differences can sometimes be seen between ADHD brains and non-ADHD brains on imaging scans, there is no distinct image that can show when someone has ADHD and when they do not. The human brain is too fluctuating to know for sure. There are too many variables.

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MYTH: Having a child with ADHD means the parents have done something to cause it.

FACT: While environmental factors can influence the manifestation of ADHD, a person with ADHD would have to be genetically predisposed to the disorder before environmental factors could have any influence on it. If a person is genetically predisposed to have ADHD, they can develop the disorder even if their parents are perfect.

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MYTH: ADHD does not actually exist.

FACT: Do I even need to waste my (virtual) breath on this one? Yes, it does. There are proven biological differences in the brain of people with ADHD. Refer to any post I’ve ever made.

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MYTH: Childhood ADHD is curable.

FACT: At this point, ADHD cannot be cured. It can only be managed or made less severe.

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MYTH: All children with ADHD should be put on medication.

FACT: Medication doesn’t help everyone, and some kids would rather deal with the symptoms of ADHD than deal with the side effects of medication. Medication is right for some people, but others might choose to use therapy, dietary changes, or oils to manage their symptoms.

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MYTH: Students with ADHD do poorly in school.

FACT: While students with ADHD do face more challenges in school than their peers, some of them flourish in certain areas of academics. They might have a hard time concentrating or sitting still, but they might be a state champion athlete, musician, or artist.

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life thinking its stupid.” — Albert Einstein

Success is relative.

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MYTH: Children with ADHD are obnoxious.

FACT: It kind of breaks my heart that this needs explaining. They’re not any more obnoxious than any other kids are. (Because let’s be real… all kids are obnoxious at some point or another.) They just need a different kind of love and patience than their peers do.

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MYTH: Children with ADHD have less strengths than their peers.

FACT: They do not have LESS strengths. They have DIFFERENT strengths.

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Educate yourself, folks. It makes a difference in how you treat people.

Myths VS Facts About Childhood ADHD

W. R. Cummings


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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2016). Myths VS Facts About Childhood ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/loving-adhd/2016/04/myths-vs-facts-about-childhood-adhd/

 

Last updated: 16 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Apr 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.