Attention Deficit Disorder: Myths and Misconceptions.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a mental disorder that involves an inability to concentrate for long periods of time. Starting in 1996, ADD was officially re-classified as a sub-type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that may also involve hyperactivity. However, the older terms, attention deficit disorder and ADD, are often still used to refer to all types of ADHD.
ADD is often misunderstood and there are many common myths about attention deficit disorder that need to be dispelled. Below you will find a discussion of several of the more common myths associated with ADD as defined by those who have taken education programs in attention deficit disorder.
Myth #1: ADD Is Not a Real Medical Disorder
When many people observe children with ADD, they interpret what they see as a child with a behavior problem. They may think that the child just needs to be disciplined more so they won’t act out as much. They may even blame it on the parents or the teachers. However, while a child can be taught skills that will help manage their ADD symptoms, their behavior is definitely not just a matter of willful misbehavior. ADD is a very real medical disorder that is clearly defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that essentially serves as the bible for psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and others who work with those with ADD. in fact, there are well-defined parameters that must be met to receive a diagnosis of ADD.
Myth #2: ADD Is Only Found In Children
While it is true that attention deficit disorders are most often first diagnosed in children, ADD is found in four to six percent of all adults. However, these adults often remain undiagnosed. In fact, many adults are first diagnosed with ADD when their children are diagnosed with it and they recognized that they have many of the same symptoms as their children. ADD does tend to run in families. The reason ADD is more commonly diagnosed in children than adults is because teachers and other school professionals such as school counselors and nurses are trained to look for ADD symptoms in children. Also, if a child is suspected to have ADD, they can be quickly and easily evaluated with the help of school resources.
Myth #3: You Can Grow Out Of ADD
People who have ADD do not actually grow out it, although in about half of them the symptoms are no longer recognizable into adulthood. This is because many children and teens learn how to manage their symptoms very effectively.
Myth #4: All Rambunctious Children Have ADD
This is not at all true. Just because a child happens to be rambunctious, the underlying reasons for this may not be ADD. It could be they are having a problem at home. They may have another emotional issue that is causing them to act out. They may be eating too much sugar. Only a professional can distinguish between ADD and other reasons for rambunctious behavior.
Myth #5: People With Attention Deficit Disorder Have Learning Disabilities
People with ADD may have trouble focusing on assignments or tasks at work but this does not mean they have any difficulty actually taking in new information and assimilating it. In fact, some of the brightest and most creative individuals in the world have ADD. Some studies have even suggested a correlation with ADD and above average intelligence. There is some evidence that giving medications for ADD can quash creativity and imaginative thinking. There are many famous artists, musicians, writers, politicians, and businesspersons who are thought to have had ADD. These include Mozart, Dali, George Bernard Shaw, and Abraham Lincoln.
Myth #6: Only Boys Get ADD
Girls struggle with ADD too. However, it is true that more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADD. In fact, boys are diagnosed with ADD on average about three to four more often than girls. However, some studies suggest that this may be due to a observational bias because teachers, parents, and other adults are expecting to see ADD in boys more than in girls. At any rate, you should not discount the possibility of girls having ADD, especially if it runs in the family. Also, keep in mind that the symptoms for ADD in girls may be more subtle than they are in boys.
We hope that this article helps to dispel some of the more common myths about attention deficit disorder. If you are unsure whether your loved one has ADD, it is always best to consult a doctor or a certified attention deficit consultant.
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