ADHD, Facts and Myths
It is common for people to feel distracted or to lose track of things occasionally. However, some people have chronic difficulty with maintaining attention or impulse control throughout their lives. If difficulty with attention and hyperactivity are impacting your life, or the life of your child, ADHD assessment and counseling at Mind, Body, & Soul may be beneficial. Below are some facts and myths to better understand ADHD.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood, and symptoms often persist through adulthood.
ADHD, predominantly inattentive subtype, includes symptoms such as lack of attention to detail, failure to follow through on tasks, poor organization, often losing items, forgetfulness or being easily distracted.
ADHD, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive subtype, includes symptoms such as fidgeting, restlessness, excessive talking, difficulty waiting turns, interruptions, or difficulty engaging in quiet tasks.
Some individuals have ADHD, combined type which includes symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive groups.
Now that you have the facts on ADHD, take a look at some common myths surrounding the diagnosis:
Myth #1: ADHD is a disorder of childhood
Long-term studies of children diagnosed with ADHD show that ADHD is a lifespan disorder. While some people may experience a decrease in symptoms as they get older, many people deal with the symptoms of ADHD well into adulthood.
Myth#2: People with ADHD are always hyperactive
As we learned about in our Facts section, there are three types of ADHD; predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive (we used to call this one ADD) and combined. Typically the hyperactive type has symptoms that are more apparent while the inattentive type often has symptoms that remain a little more “hidden.”
Myth#3: ADHD is overdiagnosed
ADHD rates have increased due to improved awareness about ADHD among healthcare practitioners and parents, more screenings by pediatricians and other primary caregivers, decreased stigma about ADHD, and availability of better treatment options. Despite these improvements, ADHD can often be misdiagnosed or missed by healthcare professionals completely.
Myth #4: People who have ADHD are lazy
Individuals with ADHD often find themselves being mislabeled as lazy when they struggle with tasks that others find simple. ADHD can often be a challenge between a person’s capability, which can be quite high, and their capacity, which can sometimes be lower. ADHD impacts executive functioning skills, which include planning tasks, organizing steps, or paying attention. These disruptions in executive functioning can make task-completion more difficult for individuals with ADHD.
Myth#5: ADHD is an attention deficit disorder
Individuals with ADHD may think, “I can’t have ADHD, I can focus super well when I play video games or do something I enjoy.” This is because ADHD is not a deficit in attention but rather a deficit in attention regulation. The neurodivergent brain is a brain that is constantly seeking stimulation that increases dopamine. When it finds a task that gives us a lot of dopamine, it is easier to regulate attention to that task. When the task does not produce a lot of dopamine (think homework or cleaning) it gets really difficult to regulate attention to that task. This difficulty with regulation can explain why some individuals with ADHD can focus consistently on enjoyable tasks but struggle with “boring” tasks.
Mind, Body, and Soul Therapy & Counseling can help children or adults who are managing ADHD. We have a Certified ADHD Professional on staff, who specializes in the use of evidence-based practices to help individuals with ADHD achieve their goals. If you’re interested in learning more about counseling options for ADHD, reach out to us at (856) 834-3709.