I recently attended some excellent training, provided by the ADHD Foundation, on understanding and managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, there remain a great deal of misunderstandings surrounding ADHD.
Here are some of the most prevalent and potentially damaging myths:
1. ADHD does not exist
This has to be the most potentially dangerous of all the misunderstandings. It certainly does exist. It is a spectrum neurodevelopmental condition, usually lifelong. The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but the condition has been shown to run in families. It is also worth mentioning that ADHD is a co-morbid condition and there is a significant likelihood of a young person with ADHD also having a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia), autism or oppositional defiance disorder. Schools need to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with ADHD.
2. ADHD is a mental health issue
It is not. However, there is a very high risk of someone with ADHD developing mental health issues at some point in their lives. The ADHD Foundation revealed that over 40 per cent experience anxiety and depression. There is also a greater incidence of self-harm and eating disorders.
3. People with ADHD are aggressive
ADHD is a challenging condition that can be managed with the correct support. It is not only about violence or aggression. People with ADHD experience a level of developmental delay within the frontal cortex of their brain. This means that the emotional responses of young people with a diagnosis may be less mature than their same-aged peers.