8 Misconceptions and Myths about ADHD symptoms and ADD

There are quite a lot of myths about ADD and myths about ADHD symptoms. Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are closely linked. On the whole ADD could be considered a slightly older name for ADHD, as both encompass, but do not have to be limited to trouble focusing, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some psychologists would say that inattentive ADHD is the type of ADHD that used to be called ADD. In this article about misconceptions around ADD/ADHD will refer to the condition by both names for the sake of clarity. What do you think about these 8 misconceptions and myths about adhd and add?

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1. It’s a lack of willpower, they’re just not trying hard enough

black and white photograph of a girl leaning her torso against a bed. her back is aimed at the camera
You often hear people say things like “Well, yesterday you focused on [Hobby X], so why can’t you focus on your tasks today?” However, it’s not as simple as that, both ADD and ADHD are complex psychological disorders likely resulting from a chemical imbalance.

2. ADD/ADHD is just a label for children with behavioural problems.

Many with ADD and ADHD symptoms do not have behavioural problems in the sense that they are difficult children. They have problems with focus, organization, motivation, memory and other functions of the brain’s management system; this does not necessarily have to result in behavioural problems.

3. Brains of people with ADD/ADHD are overactive

Actually, the inhibition areas of the brain that help us focus aren’t active enough. It’s more likely to be the opposite, but it often results in the person with ADD/ADHD being too active.

4. Unless you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, you cannot have it as an adult – or – ADD/ADHD only occurs in children.

This is not true either, many people with ADD or ADHD symptoms have struggled with it for a long time before getting an accurate diagnosis. Whether this diagnosis happens when the person in question is still a child or already an adult does not change anything about the fact that they have ADD or ADHD symptoms.


5. You cannot have ADD or ADHD and another psychological disorder like depression, anxiety etc.

Actually, people with ADD or ADHD symptoms are more likely to also have depression or anxiety. Disorders can overlap. It makes sense when you think about it, if you’ve got anxiety and you are anxious and scared most of the time to the point it impairs your normal functioning in daily life, that it not a nice situation. It seems reasonable that if that is the case you’re more likely than average to get depression.

6. Hyperactivity affects all adults with ADD/ADHD.

The levels of hyperactivity can differ depending on the individual, and this is still the case for adults. Hyperactivity is ADHD’s most visible symptom, but not it’s only one.


7. If you have ADD or ADHD, you’re lazy and not intelligent.

“Lazy” implies that the person has the ability to do something but consciously chooses not to do it. This is not the case for people with ADD or ADHD, they want to focus but they can’t. Furthermore, just because they have trouble focusing doesn’t mean they have a lower intelligence. They work differently, and it can be immensely frustrating if you have the intelligence to do the task, but your brain just won’t focus.

8. Meds will ‘solve’ ADD/ADHD

While meds can go a long way in helping towards decreasing the hinderance from symptoms, they do not necessarily ‘solve’ the underlying condition. Also, they are more effective in combination with behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapy.

So these were 8 myths about ADD and myths about ADHD, have you ever experienced any others?

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