Eight ADHD Myths — Crushed
Not for nothin’, Crusher believes in facts. Erroneous beliefs about ADHD are fueled by ignorance, emotion and plain ol’ BS. And we all have a stake in promoting scientific fact, because myths stunt advancement of knowledge and discourage people from seeking help. With this in mind, here are some of the most common ADHD myths, and the myth-crushing facts that we all need to make sure the world knows…
Myth #1: There’s no such thing as ADD/ADHD – it’s a pharma conspiracy to make $$$ from us inattentives.
- Myth-Crusher: It’s real. It’s documented. It’s accepted by the medical profession at the highest levels. If your doctor is not among the enlightened, switch to a reality-based one. Meantime, here’s a good primer on the topic.
Myth #2: It’s is a new phenomenon.
- Myth-Crusher: ADHD kids are cited back to 1845. Our culture of gadgets and mega-multitasking didn’t start it. Harvard’s David Urion says, “People have this idea we live in a world that causes ADHD.” While of course one shouldn’t text and drive, “for a harbor pilot bringing a four-masted sailing vessel into Boston Harbor, paying attention was a good idea then, too.”
Myth #3: Only the USA uses medication for it.
- Myth-Crusher: An NIMH study of data from 1993 to 2003 says while the US remained by far the leading consumer of ADHD medications, other high-income countries, particularly Canada and Australia, had significant increases in medication use, and that more countries have begun to use them — from 31 in 1993 to 55 in 2003. Surely many, many more by now.
Myth #4: Poor Parenting Causes ADHD.
- Myth-Crusher: While poor parent management (being critical, negative) can exacerbate ADHD and increase risk of comorbidities, the fact is, genetics account for 80% of the variance in ADD symptoms. It’s worth noting that the belief that symptoms are intentional and controllable often results in harsh, punitive parenting practices.
Myth #5: Medication is the only treatment option that works – nothing else helps.
- Myth-Crusher: the most authoritative voices (Barkley, Ratey, Hallowell, etc.) will tell you that medication can be the single most impactful remedy. BUT they ALSO say it’s not the ONLY treatment option, and that meds can have greater impact with the addition of other practices. Just beware of BS miracle claims.
Myth #6: ADHD meds are mind-control that turn people into zombies & junkies.
- Myth-Crusher: Actually, it can be just the opposite. Having UN-treated ADD increases risk that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol. Proper treatment reduces that risk. And ADHD meds have on balance been proven safe/effective for 50+ years. (And NO, Crusher is not a tool of Pharma. Just the messenger.)
Myth #7: ADHD affects only boys.
- Myth-Crusher: Girls are just as likely as boys to have ADHD, though they tend to be less hyperactive. And as a result, girls are less likely to be diagnosed and treated. Some research also suggests higher rates of overall distress, anxiety and depression in ADHD girls. Read this previous Crusher blog that expands on these sad stats.
Myth #8: Kids with ADHD eventually outgrow their condition.
- Myth-Crusher: More than 70% of childhood ADHD cases continue into adolescence. Up to 50% will continue into adulthood. And of the up to 6% of the adult population with ADHD, the majority remain undiagnosed, only one in four seeking treatment. Without help, these adults are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, to name a few. More sad stats at another Crusher blog.