Before we get into the myths and why they are wrong, I will start by saying I am a person suffering with ADHD and will be making connections to my own experiences in this article. But, I will also be consulting others with ADHD and trustworthy sources for the information I will be giving. Hopefully, this will shed some light on a still under thought about disability.
Myth #1: ADHD is Fake
Many people believe that ADHD is a made-up problem. Although it is sometimes over diagnosed, it is a real brain disorder. There are noticeable differences in the brain make up in an MRI when compared to the neuro-typical (not ADHD) brain. The study done noted that the regions of the brain are smaller and less developed in the ADHD mind, with less volume in general. So, there is medical proof that ADHD is a biological problem, not a mental disorder or being lazy. The brain of a person with ADHD is formed differently then the brain of someone with out ADHD.
Myth #2: ADHD is a child’s disorder.
Because symptoms are more noticeable in children, it is often thought that only children can have ADHD. But that is simply not true. As the brain continues to grow, the regions get bigger and some of the typically thought of symptoms are better managed. But, that does not mean that the ADHD goes away, it is still a brain disorder and as such never completely goes away. Just because someone isn’t running around a room being load doesn’t mean their mind isn’t going a mile a minute. Some people have said “it’s like having the engine of a Ferrari, but the brakes of a Chevy.”
Myth #3: Having ADHD isn’t a big deal.
Well, maybe to people who don’t have it. It is easy to think that having trouble focusing and forgetting where you put your keys wouldn’t affect a person in a big way, but that’s wrong. To share how it affected me, I lost my oldest daughter because of ADHD. Yeah, seems extreme. But that is what happened. I didn’t know I had ADHD at the time and didn’t know why I struggled with things that came so easily to other people. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to clean my house, it was that I couldn’t. I tried to, I worked harder then anyone I knew. I spent hours everyday trying to clean, but it was never good enough. I would start with one thing and by the end I would be a pile of sweat but nothing was ever done. It was so overwhelming that I got depressed. I felt like I could never be good enough. The Family and Children’s Services just saw a mom who didn’t care. Who wasn’t working hard enough. They took my child away from me and wouldn’t give her back even though I cleaned. There were other factors, but even when I fixed those, they still wouldn’t give her back because they said I was unable to maintain a clean environment. And, they were right. I couldn’t do it. Now that I realize what my problem is, I can tackle it head on. I can manage my household better. But, I still give people heart attacks when they see how I live. Only the minimum is done daily. Floors clean, clutter cleaned from floor. Anything a toddler could grab, out of her reach. I won my youngest child in court, but I lost my oldest because she too has ADHD. They don’t think I can manage her on top of everything else, and maybe they are right about that for now. I will tackle that hurdle when I am ready to, and I will win her back. But, that’s a story for another time. ADHD can ruin someone’s life, get them fired from a job, or cause a marriage to end. It can have effects that last for years, and that never fully go away.
Myth #4: Only boys have ADHD.
This myth is based in some fact, but the statement that only boys can have ADHD is false. This has to do with the different types of ADHD. Currently, there are three classifications for ADHD. They are as follows:
Hyperactive- This is the most well-known ADHD, the kind that males seem to have more often. These children/adults are the ones disrupting the class, running around when they are supposed to be sitting, being loud, always moving or fidgeting.
Inattentive- This is more commonly overlooked by all, even medical professionals because it can be hard to diagnose a child with it. These children/adults are the ones staring into space, not paying attention, losing things, forgetting things, chronically late, etc. These people are the type who do the work but forget it on the table as they leave the house. Or, remember as they walk into class that there is an exam that day and they didn’t study. But, they probably still pass the test because they know the material, they just need a trigger (like the question on the test) to remember what they learned.
Combination- This is the most common ADHD of all. Simply put, its both. This is the type that I have. A lot of the time, it mirrors more strongly one of the types and shifts over time.
It is commonly thought that you grow out of the hyperactivity as you become an adult, but that isn’t the full truth. You may not be running around anymore, but you are still always moving. Like as I write this, my foot keeps moving. I notice and stop, but as I keep writing it starts again on its own accord. If I focus on making it stop, I can’t focus on writing. Pretty soon, my foot will be sore, and I will limp. People will ask why, I’ll tell them I fell because trying to explain will just tire me out more. I find, personally, that I am so tired from always moving that I can’t be hyperactive in the way people think I should be with ADHD.
So, there are a few myths about ADHD. There are a lot more, but these are the ones I can answer about with out having to read articles with huge words I don’t understand. Which, with my ADHD, I would give up reading into the first paragraph. Unless it was on DID, which is also an article for another day. Hyper focus, my old friend. I hope this helped you to see ADHD in a different light, and to understand better what people with ADHD are going through.