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what are typical ADHD misconceptions, and what’s the reality? by jean

the stigma around mental health is unfortunately a real one, and it includes sperading false information about real things that affect many persevering people with mental health conditions, including ADHD. so, let’s review some common ones and debunk them.

1. “ADHD is just not paying attention”

though this is one aspect of it, it’s important to remember exactly that: *it’s just ONE aspect of it.* ADHD is more than just inattention, including hyperactivity, impulsiveness, or internalized symptoms. as a society, we should have basic knowledge of these things. what frustrtes me is the impact that misconceptions like this can have; you may have seen the viral TikTok video of an influencer mocking ADHD by trying to convince their followers that they have ADHD, where in one of their videos, they pretend to be distracted by a butterfly when doing a dance outdoors. whether ironic or not, people genuinely believed them. it is sad that people think ADHD is a joke or something to be used for clout. it’s up to us to do better.

2. “ADHD only affects children”

this misconception is generalizing the fact that ADHD is mostly diagnosed in childhood. yes, that is true, but what this misconception dismisses is the fact that ADHD is a lifelong condition that can continue into later stages of life, such as adulthood. many with ADHD go on to experience symptoms and challenges throughout their lives.

3. “ADHD is a boy thing”

though it is true that ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys, that doesn’t mean it cannot affect girls. especially taking into consideration that many girls go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, as they tend to have different symptoms, including internalizing behaviors.

4. “ADHD is not a real disorder”

ADHD is a recognized and well-documented neurodevelopmental disorder. in fact, some ADHD cases go as far back as the 1700s. it was, and is still, a real disorder. it has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is widely used by mental health professionals for diagnosis.

5. “ADHD is just laziness”

ADHD, once again, is a real, complex mental health condition that affects the brain - mostly the parts that control attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity.

6. “ADHD is just an excuse for bad behavior”

ADHD can certainly lead to impulsive or hyperactive behavior, but it is not an excuse for consistently poor behavior. those with ADHD may need additional support and techniques to deal with their symptoms effectively. they are still responsible for their actions, but having an understanding of how those symptoms affect them and how it’s not their fault is very powerful.

thank you to these sources for providing information used in this article:

nothing in our articles are medical or professional advice. the writers at NTC are not professionals and should not be treated as ones. our blog was created only for educational purposes and raising awareness.

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