As with most health conditions, there are a number of misconceptions surrounding ADHD, making the lives of those who live with the condition infinitely harder.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aka ADHD, is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. However, as with most health conditions, there are a number of misconceptions surrounding ADHD, making the lives of those who live with the condition infinitely harder. While it is usually first diagnosed in childhood, in some cases, the signs and symptoms of the disorder— which include trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors, inability to stay seated, constant fidgeting, etc — are misunderstood as voluntary actions. Left undiagnosed and untreated, the individual then faces a lifetime of feeling misunderstood and helpless.
It, therefore, goes without saying that the world needs to have a better understanding of ADHD and the true complexity of it. A Twitter user recently took it upon herself to call out this issue in a now-viral rant that explained why the disorder is far more serious than hyperactivity and short attention spans. "Start normalizing recognizing ADHD as a serious learning disability that includes sensitivities to light & sound, depression, maladaptive daydreaming, not reading social cues, fidgeting & restlessness, not being able to do anything for no apparent reason, having a hard time with mental math & math in general, hyperfixations," tweeted @leah_666666.
"Getting attached to objects in the store easily like a teddy bear and literally NEEDING to take it home, only eating foods you like, easy anxiety & nervousness, opposition to most authority, needing to do your own thing or else you'll be severely unhappy, etc," the Twitter user continued. "I AM TIRED of people thinking of it as being 'distracted by a bird... oh look a butterfly! Omg, my leg is bouncing so fast! wow!' People who have ADHD have complex problems that come with this disorder." Dr. Vania Manipod, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Western University of Health Sciences, supports many of the points laid out in this tweet in her article for Healthline, which debunked five common myths about ADHD.
my doctor was like ur attention deficient here’s some meds tell me if they work. and i had no idea what to look for ?? i didn’t know this was the reason behind the way i act i literally figured it was just my inability to sit still— beaux ミ☆ (@adhdeef) September 29, 2020
"These misunderstandings about the condition are harmful to the folks within the community. They can result in problems such as delays in diagnosis and accessing treatment, not to mention leaving people feeling misunderstood," she wrote. "Take my patient Vanessa. She spent years struggling at school, both in high school and college. During those years, she was unable to retain information she had spent hours learning and constantly felt anxious at the thought of the things she had to do. It wasn’t until she sought the help of a psychiatrist while at college and was diagnosed with ADHD that she understood why this was happening to her. Had Vanessa been diagnosed at an earlier age, she may have been given the appropriate tools to help her through school."
THIS!!! My mom doesn’t accept that I was diagnosed w ADHD years ago and I rock back and forth to be able to eat or focus a lot, and when she tells me to stop my brain literally like, jolts and I’m unable to do anything. It’s like being suddenly frozen and filled w anxiety— Cotton is a cute boy 🇭🇷🏳️🌈 (@DadMacadamia) September 29, 2020
Among the myths dispelled by Dr. Manipod were the dangerous misconception that girls do not get ADHD and that the condition is caused by poor parenting. "In general, young girls aren’t as likely to be as hyperactive as young boys or display as many behavioral issues compared to boys, so people often don’t recognize ADHD in girls. The problem with this myth is that, because girls with ADHD often go untreated, their condition can progress, increasing issues with mood, anxiety, antisocial personality, and other comorbid disorders in adulthood," she explained.
Dr. Manipod also pointed out that it is wrong to accuse a person with ADHD of being lazy as they "tend to need more structure and reminders to get things done — especially activities that require sustained mental effort." She stressed that "while ADHD isn't life-threatening, it can have serious implications on a person’s overall quality of life." She explained that due to such misconceptions and lack of awareness about the disorder, individuals with ADHD are often judged and unfairly labeled.