4 Myths Everyone Still Believes About ADHD

January 13, 2015 by Dr. Yannick Pauli

Despite increased awareness about ADHD, there’s still a lot of misinformation about what causes the condition and who’s at risk. Afflicted children are often blamed for their inability to sit still or pay attention, as though they behave this way on purpose. Here are some things that we should all know about ADHD so we can have a better understanding of why our children act the way they do.

Myth: ADHD isn’t a real medical condition

Critics use a lot of arguments to point out that ADHD isn’t a real medical problem, that it was invented by pharmaceutical companies to profit from parents who can’t discipline their children. Others blame students for seeking an “unfair” advantage in the classroom, or the “new culture with a growing intolerance for childhood playfulness.” The fact of the matter is that ADHD is very real disorder, experienced by thousands of children around the world, and validated by various medical institutions and professionals. Affected children and their families desperately need interventions so they can lead normal, happy lives.

Myth: Eating sugar causes ADHD

Very little evidence supports the link between consuming sugar and hyperactive behavior. There’s also little proof that sugar worsens the symptoms of ADHD. However, there are some studies whose findings demonstrate a relationship between ADHD symptoms and artificial food coloring and flavoring found in candy. As these additives contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals, they are more likely to trigger ADHD-like behavior than sugar itself.

Myth: ADHD is a children’s disorder

Most children get evaluated for ADHD by age 7, but many of them will continue to experience symptoms well into adulthood if the condition isn’t managed properly. This is why it’s important to identify and treat the condition as soon as it is detected in children. If left untreated, ADHD can increase the risk of academic failure and risky behaviors in adolescents, or greatly interfere with a child’s ability to reach his or her fullest potential.

Myth: ADHD affects boys more than girls

The National Institute of Mental Health might be to blame for this; they’ve said that “boys are four times at risk for ADHD than girls”. While boys display more “external” symptoms and make it easier to detect, girls are equally at risk for the disorder – except they tend to experience more “internal” symptoms like lower IQs, mood disorders, and inability to focus.

While there’s a point to be made for young children being over-medicated for ADHD, don’t let this stop you from seeking professional help if you suspect something is wrong with your child. Whether it’s ADHD or something else, what matters is that your child receives appropriate treatment for any behavioral and developmental issues that might be troubling her.