4 Myths

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) encounter very real challenges and obstacles in their daily lives. Yet many people aren’t aware of this struggle. Here are four misconceptions about what it’s like to live with ADHD.

1. ADHD is a “made-up” disorder

ADHD is an “invisible” disorder because it has no physical symptoms that you can see on the body. Because of this, some people believe it isn’t a real condition. Others believe that the pharmaceutical industry invented it to generate more profit. The medical community first identified ADHD in 1980. They used the term to describe inattentive individuals. Many doctors believe the disorder has been around for much longer.

There’s growing research that connects ADHD to other physical, mental, and lifestyle problems. One study showed that people with ADHD are more likely to have poor academic performance. The study also found that adults with ADHD are more likely to be unemployed and have strained peer relationships. 

Doctors believe that people with ADHD are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. They’re also more likely to smoke and have more difficulty quitting smoking. People with untreated ADHD are more likely to abuse substances. They’re also more likely to have higher rates of arrest. In short, ADHD is a real disorder. If left untreated, it can have serious consequences that affect a person’s quality of life.

2. People with ADHD are less intelligent

Children and adults with ADHD are often forgetful, inattentive, or make careless mistakes. Some people mistake this behavior for a lack of intelligence. This simply isn’t true.

Studies show that most individuals with ADHD are of average intelligence. A study on adults with ADHD showed there’s little difference in the intelligence of people with ADHD compared to others. The study found that those with ADHD who scored lower on intelligence tests had other preexisting conditions. These conditions include a learning disability or other cognitive impairment.

People with ADHD often perform at a lower level than their peers at school. This is because they have trouble staying organized, paying attention to detail, and completing tasks. However, their academic performance isn’t due to a lack of intelligence. With proper management, individuals with ADHD achieve academic success.

3. People with ADHD are lazy and unmotivated

Often, people with ADHD might be perceived as lazy or unmotivated. They have trouble doing activities they don’t enjoy. This happens even if the tasks are necessary. For example, a child with ADHD may have trouble completing homework assignments in an uninteresting subject. However, they have no problem focusing on a favorite video game. Adults with ADHD may make careless errors at work or avoid unpleasant tasks. This can increase the workload for their co-workers. 

Leaving work unfinished isn’t intentional. Difficulty completing tasks correctly is a hallmark symptom of the condition. With redirection, positive reinforcement, and proper management, a person with ADHD can complete any task.

4. People with ADHD are irresponsible

A person with ADHD may often forget important items. They may lose their keys or forget appointments on a regular basis. A general lack of organization makes it seem as if the person doesn’t care or isn’t making an effort to be responsible. Again, it’s important to remember that an individual with ADHD has a neurological disorder that affects their ability to stay organized. Like all other ADHD symptoms, it needs proper management.

The takeaway

People with ADHD suffer from inattentiveness, hyperactivity, lack of organization, and difficulty completing tasks. These characteristics can make it seem like a person with ADHD is irresponsible. However, ADHD is a medical condition that affects people’s everyday functioning. People with ADHD are not choosing to misbehave at work or school.