The 15 Most Corrosive ADHD Myths
“Can you grow out of ADHD?” “Is ADHD real, or just an excuse?” “Aren’t we all a little ADD?” ADHD myths promote shame, misdiagnosis, and incomplete treatment. Here are the harmful misconceptions with the biggest detrimental impact, according to ADDitude readers.
Our understanding of ADHD has leapfrogged forward over the last generation. No longer considered a diagnosis just for hyper little boys, ADHD is recognized (at last!) as a lifelong condition that cannot be outgrown. Women are being diagnosed in increasing numbers. And the medical community is beginning to recognize its most overlooked symptom: emotional dysregulation.
ADHD’s abundance of research, treatment advances, and outspoken ambassadors should paint a clear picture for all to see. But that’s simply not the case. Outdated misconceptions continue to sabotage health outcomes for a diverse community of individuals with ADHD.
During ADDitude’s recent 25th anniversary webinar with Dave Anderson, Ph.D., we asked: “What ADHD myth — believed by others or by you — has had the biggest impact on your life?” Here are the most common responses we received from more than 100 listeners. (Bonus: We added ADDitude articles to counter each one.)
ADHD Myth #1: “ADHD doesn’t exist. Everyone feels like this…”
ADHD Myth #2: “You’re just a busy working mom. That’s why you’re scattered and can’t get things done.”
ADHD Myth #3: “You choose to act this way.”
ADHD Myth #4: “ADD is a behavior problem rather than a cognitive difference, and therefore something you can control if you just try hard enough.”
ADHD Myth #5: “ADHD can be outgrown.”
ADHD Myth #6: “Girls and women don’t get ADHD.”
ADHD Myth #7: “Female hormones do not affect ADHD symptoms.”
ADHD Myth #8: “I wasn’t hyperactive enough so I could never have ADHD (big mistake).”
ADHD Myth #9: “You do not have ADHD if you can focus on some things.”
ADHD Myth #10: “Wife about ADHD husband: ‘He’d remember if it was important to him!’”
ADHD Myth #11: “Kids are just exhibiting bad behavior [due to] poor parenting or poor classroom management skills.”
ADHD Myth #12: “You will hurt your child if you give them medications, so try every possible non-medication option first.”
ADHD Myth #13: “Using ADHD medications can lead to substance use disorder.”
ADHD Myth #14: “Medicine is the only answer to helping with ADHD.”
ADHD Myth #15: “You are stupid.”
Addressing ADHD Myths: Next Steps
- Download: 3 Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks
- Read: No, Gabor Maté Did Not Actually Diagnose Prince Harry with ADHD on Live TV
- ADDitude at 25: Giant Strides — and More to Go
The content for this article was based on poll responses submitted by live attendees during the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled, “ADHD Then and Now: How Our Understanding Has Evolved” [Video Replay & Podcast #447] with Dave Anderson, Ph.D., which was broadcast live on March 21, 2023.
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF ADDITUDE
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