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October 21, 2011

Dispelling myths surrounding ADHD

Pella — There is still much that doctors, parents and caregivers can learn about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While answers are constantly being investigated, it should come as no surprise that certain myths remain about ADHD.

There are many scientific facts to dispel the myths out there; individuals need only look in the right spots for valid information.

MYTH: ADHD isn't real.

ADHD is very real, and researchers have known about it for decades. It is not a hoax perpetrated by the psychiatric community as a means to financial gains. Those with ADHD may be inattentive, hyperactive or engage in impulsive behaviors. In general, medication and therapy is successful in reducing these inclinations.

MYTH: ADHD can be outgrown.

Actually, if left unchecked, ADHD can continue into adulthood. There are a number of adults struggling with ADHD because they were not properly diagnosed as children. By learning how to structure their environments and taking medication when needed, children with ADHD can, and often do, become successful adults.

MYTH: Prescriptions to treat ADHD are gateway drugs.

Individuals with ADHD are naturally prone to impulsive behaviors. As such, they may be at a higher risk for drug and alcohol addiction on their own. Those who take prescribed medications for the disorder are at a lower risk for developing addictions because they are making efforts to keep symptoms in check.

MYTH: Ritalin is a cure for ADHD.

This often prescribed medication is a psychostimulant and is very effective at mitigating symptoms of ADHD. But it is not a cure, and other therapies are often part of a successful treatment plan.

MYTH: ADHD is just bad parenting.

ADHD is not a byproduct of shoddy or indifferent parenting. It is a condition of improperly functioning brain chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. There also may be inherited factors that come into play.

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