Sep 28, 2016

21 Things You Didn’t Know About ADHD

10. ADHD Is Not Associated With Intellect

In fact, some of the smartest people in the world have had ADHD. However, contributing to the perception of intellectual slowness, there is often a 30 percent developmental lag in those with ADHD. Most commonly, those with the condition lag behind in maintaining their relationships with others, motor skills, the ability to correct their own behaviors, personal independence, being responsible, and memory recall.

While not a fault of their intelligence, these children can seem to have matured far less than other children their own age. Eventually, this lag can correct itself, but the interim is a long and painful journey.

11. ADHD Is Not an Excuse

One of the hardest parts of living with children with ADHD is living with the stigma that your child is simply using ADHD as an excuse for his behavior. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Children with ADHD must try very hard just to be as cognizant of their surroundings. No one would be able to keep up with everything around if their mind kept telling them to look at new, more interesting things.

Children have to learn to compensate for their energy and lack of attention, and parents are a key part of that.

12. Parents Need Treatment Too

If you are a parent to a child with ADHD, you must accept that while nothing you do can change a child’s mental disorder, parents can do a lot to help kids cope. To create lasting behavioral change, parents need to create a home atmosphere that encourages children to learn control over their behavior.

Most therapists work with parents to help foster such an environment. Without the encouragement and support of their parents, any treatment designed to help a child with ADHD is sure to fail.

Suzanne Tucker /

Suzanne Tucker /

13. ADHD Is Not the Only Problem

ADHD is often not the only mental condition a patient has to deal with. 20 percent of those with ADHD also have depression, and nearly as many can have bipolar disorder as well. 50 percent have some form of learning disability in addition to ADHD, like dyslexia or writing problems.

Various anxiety disorders are another set of conditions that often accompany ADHD. As many as 30 percent of children with ADHD have some form of anxiety disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder, characterized by stubbornness, angry outbursts, and defiant acts like rule breaking, affect as many as 40 percent of those with ADHD. As you can see, the disorder often comes with a lot more than just ADHD, and that is already a lot to deal with on its own.

14. ADHD Can Be Treated by Different Medications

Three major categories of medication are used to treat ADHD. Which one used depends on the child or adult being treated.

Stimulant medication is the most well-known of the three.

For more than half a century, they have been used to treat the condition. Dosage varies from every four hours to every 12 hours. No long term-term side effects have been established, but short-term side effects can include upset stomach, lack of appetite, insomnia, and irritability.

For those who dislike the side effects of stimulant medication, nonstimulant medication has been introduced relatively recently, approved for ADHD in 2003.

They can last up to 24 hours and cause fewer side effects. Sometimes they are prescribed alongside stimulant medication.

Antidepressants take up the last category and are infrequently used to treat ADHD in a case-by-case basis.

While the FDA recently announced that antidepressants can lead to an increased risk of suicide in children and teens, the drugs are still sometimes the best treatment option. They should be considered carefully.

15. ADHD Often Needs Behavioral Therapy

As easy as it would be to simply pop a pill and let the problem go away, research has found that medical treatment is far more effective if combined with behavioral therapy as well. As touched on before, this includes not just time with their therapist, but also time with parents and even school teachers.

Parents must remember that their child might be easily discouraged. Giving short, clear, and simple commands can help a child feel like they are making progress when they fully understand what they need to do. As well, remaining consistent on what is and isn’t allowed can do wonders for helping a child learn how to cope and act.

tomertu /

tomertu /

16. Alternative Treatments Aren’t Effective

Many people, afraid of the effects of stimulants or antidepressants and wary of behavioral therapy’s usefulness, turn to alternative treatments such as diet changes, vitamin supplements, unlicensed training in attention or visual skills, traditional psychotherapy, or even turning to allergies as a cause of the behavior. None of these have been found to be an effective treatment for ADHD in a scientific setting.

While some children can benefit from additional behavioral or mental training, not all children will benefit. Behavioral therapy and prescription drugs are the only methods proven to have an effect on ADHD and its symptoms.

17. Stimulants Continue to Be Useful After Puberty

Going back to myth popping, one common wisdom floating around says that stimulant medication will cease being useful after a child reaches puberty. Once again, this is a myth. Psychostimulants continue to be useful into the teen years and even into adulthood.

18. ADHD Isn’t Being Misdiagnosed

More and more children between two and five years old have been given treatment for ADHD as the years have gone by. It can be hard to believe, but ADHD affects an estimated 42 percent of all children in the United States. Many people spreading the rumor that ADHD is being misdiagnosed say that this is the reason why diagnoses are increasing.

Diagnosis percentages by year:

  • 2003: 7.8%
  • 2007: 9.5%
  • 2011: 11 %

Research has actually shown that ADHD has remained constant for several decades, but ADHD is being diagnosed more often in recent years because psychologists have a better understanding of it now than in the past. Doctors are now better educated and better able to help their patients with a correct diagnosis. In fact, 80 percent of adults with ADHD have gone undiagnosed due to the lack of knowledge at the time they were displaying the strongest symptoms.

Syda Productions /

Syda Productions /

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