What ADHD Research Can Tell Us
Dispelling the Myths: The Latest ADHD Research
ADHD research from the Mayo Clinic and Boston Children’s hospital recently confirmed some important news that can help clear up a lot of commonly held myths and misconceptions about Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Here are the top four myths people with the disorder hear on a regular basis – and what ADHD research has to say about them:
- ADHD only affects children. While it’s true that the prevalence of ADHD is higher in children than in adults (8-10% of children have ADHD) about 30% of those children grow up to be adults with ADHD – and that can have disastrous consequences in a world with a poor understanding of the disorder’s effect on a person’s ability to maintain personal and professional relationships.
- ADHD isn’t even real. This is a very common – and hurtful – charge that is levied at many people with the disorder. ADHD research has confirmed that it is not only very real, but that having ADHD places adults at a greater risk of anxiety, depression, antisocial personality disorder, drug or alcohol problems and even suicide. This is likely because of a history of troubles they have in school and work environments that don’t understand their affliction and label them as “bad,” “lazy” or “troublemakers.” People with ADHD internalize these criticisms, and their lack of self-esteem and (in some cases) self-loathing develops into a serious psychiatric disorder.
- People with ADHD just lack self-discipline. Actually, scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes it, but the ADHD research bears out that it isn’t a lack of anything – except the ability to sit still and focus for a long period of time. The most likely culprit for ADHD is that it is genetic – a mutation in our genes that was once advantageous to prehistoric, nomadic humans but is now ill-suited for our sedentary modern life.
- ADHD is just a phase that kids go through – and they grow out of it. It is true that many children do “grow out” of ADHD, but almost half of kids who moved into adulthood without ADHD still wind up with a second psychiatric diagnosis later in life. And out of those adults who never “grew out of it,” a staggering 80% have a second mental health affliction. ADHD research shows that this is a chronic health problem, not just normal child’s play.
It is long past time the world stopped treating ADHD as a joke or a children’s disorder and started realizing that 1 in 13 Americans – the number that suffers from ADHD – are at serious risk for psychiatric health issues like depression, anxiety and suicide. ADHD needs to be detected and treated early – before it metastasizes into a second or even third chronic psychiatric disorder with major financial and human costs – and people need to be educated about the strengths and weaknesses of their friends, peers, spouses and coworkers living with ADHD.