ADHD Myths

Posted on: September 30, 2011

As I promised in my last blog entry, here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about ADHD, which I will use this entry to debunk and explain the facts. So here comes the debunkification! (Is that even a word? It sounds like the process by which one takes apart bunk beds. Come to think of it, the proper term would not be “debunkation,” because the verb is “debunk,” not “debunkify.” Yes, here I go on a tangent; typical ADHD behavior. Anyway…)


MYTH: ADHD doesn’t exist. It’s just a scam by the pharmaceutical companies to get your money. If parents weren’t lazy and just disciplined their children, they wouldn’t need to be on Ritalin.
DEBUNKED:  Ah, yes, the old “it doesn’t exist” arguement.  Bob Dylan sang “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand,”  in his song “The Times They Are A-Changing.”   Even though the times sure have been a-changing since 1964 when Dylan wrote that song,  one thing hasn’t changed: people are still far too quick to make uneducated judgements without knowing all the facts. I have ADHD and I struggle with it every day. Trust me, it exists. Trying to convince me that ADHD doesn’t exist is like an Iowa farmer trying to convince a Massachusetts fisherman that the ocean doesn’t exist. 
     Now, I’m sure that there are many people taking medication for ADHD who were misdiagnosed. However, this in no way means that ADHD doesn’t exist, it just means that their doctor made a mistake.  A few years ago, I had a very painful earache, and my doctor told me that I had a bacterial infection in my inner ear and put me on antibiotics. A few days later, I still wasn’t feeling any better, so I went to a different doctor.  This doctor said that I didn’t have a bacterial infection at all, but that the tube between my nose and my ear was clogged, and put me on an over-the-counter nasal spray. Soon, I was completely better.
    Does this mean that ear infections don’t really exist and that they’re just a scam by the people who make antibiotics? Of course not, because when you really do have an ear infection, antibiotics are effective. 
    In the same way, just because some people are misdiagnosed with ADHD doesn’t mean that ADHD doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t make the medications any less effective for the people who really do have ADHD.
   And yes, there are some parents who don’t like to discipline their children. We’ve all been at a restaurant, at the movies, in a store, or even in a house of worship where some bratty little kid is running around screaming; while the parents just simply ignore their child’s behavior, or even worse, say, “Isn’t he/she the most adorable thing ever?” But to it’s absurd to suggest that I or anyone else with ADHD wouldn’t need to take Ritalin if those damn parents would just discipline their kids. Believe me, my parents were very strict with me and my sister when we were growing up, and they did not hesitate to discipline us if we misbehaved.

MYTH: Children outgrow ADHD when they hit puberty.

DEBUNKED: ADHD is a lifelong condition.  It may seem that it goes away after puberty; because the kids who used to run around the classroom and stand on the desks all throughout elementary school are able to stay in their seats when they get to high school. However, that’s because by now they’ve learned that it’s not socially acceptable to run around the classroom when the teacher is talking or to stand on furniture! 
        If you observe them closely, you’ll notice that they are constantly fidgeting with pencils, pieces of paper, or their hair; tapping their feet; doodling in the margins of their notebooks; shifting their position in their seats; and other socially acceptable ways of dealing with their hyperactivity. If they attempt to sit completely still, they are unable to pay attention to the class because they are focusing so hard at not moving. They will continue these behaviors into adulthood when they attend staff meetings at work.  A former colleague of mine, who also has ADHD, would often bounce in her seat during meetings.


MYTH:  ADHD is caused by eating food that is processed in factories or that is not organic.

DEBUNKED:  If this were true, then all siblings who were raised by the same family would have ADHD, and this is not the case. How many families do you know who feed chemically processed food to one child, and organic food to their other child? Unless one of the kids has some kind of food allergy, I’m sure the answer is zero.


MYTH: ADHD is caused by watching too much television in the preschool years, particularly shows such as Sesame Street that consist of a series of two or three minute scenes unrelated to each other rather than one unified consistent plot.

DEBUNKED:  If this were the case, then everyone who watched Sesame Street every day as a preschooler-which is pretty much everyone who’s been born since the show first premiered in the late 1960’s- would have ADHD. Since only a small percentage of the population has ADHD, we can conclude that Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Ernie, and Bert can teach your kids the ABC’s, but they won’t give them ADHD. 


MYTH: ADHD medications turn children into brain dead zombies.

DEBUNKED: I’ve been on Ritalin since 1986. If I were brain dead or a zombie, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and write coherent thoughts on a blog. There goes that theory!


MYTH: If you put kids on ADHD medications, they’ll become drug addicts when they get older.

DEBUNKED: Studies have shown that children with ADHD who are not medicated are more likely to get into trouble with the law, including abusing drugs.  Plus, when your child starts taking prescription drugs at a young age, it offers you a great opportunity to teach him or her the difference between legal drugs and illegal drugs. 

Thanks for reading and please comment!


1 Response to "ADHD Myths"

Excellent Becky!!!!!!

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