Is ADHD a Myth?
by Carol Gignoux
I wonder about it.
It's difficult to understand how anyone with ADHD would choose to be labeled with it,
and better yet - to flaunt it. Most people, from teenagers to adults, would prefer to
hide their diagnosis. Often because of their diagnosis, they feel bad about
themselves. Admittedly, some "kids" may resort to playing the ADHD card with their
parents. But rarely have I encountered a child of any age who has used ADHD as an
excuse to get out of some responsibility at school and away from home. In reality,
they are so adverse to people finding out they have ADHD, they often make the
mistake of not getting the help and information they need. ADHD also has the added
unfortunate characteristic of making those affected appear clueless, incompetent,
rebellious and uncaring. When you add the common characteristic of being thought of
as "typically unreliable" to this constellation of undesirable behaviors, frustration and
anger are often the feelings that color the response they get from others. Who
would consciously choose to play this role?
I suspect this is at least some of the reasoning that created the myth. Someone with
ADHD can very much look like a badly behaved troublemaker who doesn't listen and
pay attention, yet demands special treatment. Even after the directions are
individually explained, extra attention given and special accommodations made, that
child or adult still may not be able to meet the task or communication expectation.
The same complaint echoes continually through-out schools, workplaces and homes
- "They won't change, they don't seem to care, nothing improves, and I've done
what I can". Is it any wonder why ADHD can get such a bad rap when there exists a
perception that they are just difficult people pretending to need extra attention?
Of course ADHD is indeed a neurological condition that affects the prefrontal cortex
of the brain. This condition adversely affects the executive functions that allow people
with ADHD to get started on a task or project, continue to focus their attention on a
subject uninterrupted, hold facts and figures in mind as they work, have a sense of
the passing of time, avoid distractions and extraneous information. It's difficult for
people with ADHD to take direction from others very well and deliver results on time.
Predictably, these challenges and difficulties are just the thing to irritate those around
them. It could explain why people don't believe and therefore don't wish to
accommodate the real life challenges of this brain condition.
The Myth of ADHD? If there can be a myth of ADHD, it would have to be that people
with ADHD can get better if they would just try harder; that with a good upbringing
and education, people are taught how to behave appropriately; that people with
ADHD are just the difficult people you find in life no matter where you go, and there
will always be free loaders, excuse makers and people that never grow up. THESE
are more likely the myths of ADHD.
The TRUTH of ADHD is that there are many well suited strategies and structures that
can help people with ADHD succeed and be more reliably cooperative and productive.
The truth of ADHD is that there is a wealth of information out there in the form of
books, lectures, workshops, and websites that better inform and educate about the
condition, how it affects people, and how to help. The truth of ADHD is that there are
proven methodologies in the form of ADHD Coaching and Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy that help people with ADHD organize and structure their lives and transform
their problem behaviors. And the most important truth of all is that most people with
ADHD are highly successful at what they do including many famous scientists,
inventors, CEOs, salespeople, artists, and doctors throughout our history. They
happen to be the gifts around us we are often blind to. They are the problem solvers
and some of the best hope we have for the future.
So next time you hear about the myth of ADHD - spread the word. Help educate
people so they can be supporters of those with ADHD and better understand how to
help children and adolescents in schools and adults at work. Don't be afraid to admit
you have ADHD. Be an ambassador for the condition so we can continue to change
the minds around us. Show others how they can help you with your challenges so
they can learn how to support all people with ADHD.
About The Author
Carol is a national speaker on ADHD topics and a motivational speaker on living
authentically. In addition to coaching her clients with ADHD, she trains and supervises
new ADHD coaches, and creates seminars and workshops that show people how to
achieve their full potential. You can reach Carol at or visit her
website at . As the founder and CEO of ADD Insights,
LLC, Carol Gignoux's passion is to provide services that transform the lives of people
with ADHD. Carol is well established as an expert within the ADHD coaching
profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years
Is ADHD really a legitimate brain
condition? Or is it a made-up
diagnosis used to explain aberrant
behavior? Is the ADHD label an
opportunity for some people to
slough off responsibilities and get a
pass on completing necessary tasks?
Does it give people an excuse for
their mistakes and their behavior?
These are examples of frequently
heard comments and questions from
people who question the validity of
ADHD. They are often heard to say:
"Oh, yeah, everyone now-a-days
seems to have ADD". I often hear
people call this ADD backlash, but still
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