Your child can’t focus, has emotional outbursts, and won’t stop fidgeting. Is it Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or just a case of poor discipline? That’s a tricky call, made trickier still by the fact that parents and physicians alike have been slow to accept ADHD as a legitimate psychological condition. Kids with ADHD have been fighting an uphill battle for proper recognition and treatment in the face of wild misconceptions—and parents are often the victims of these misconceptions. But when kids with ADHD have parents who know the facts, all involved have a better chance to thrive.
Here are the some of the most common myths surrounding ADHD, and how to debunk them:
Myth #1: ADHD Is Not Real
One of the more common tropes among ADHD naysayers is that the condition is simply the pathologization of modern childhood. And, yes, ADHD feels like a very modern condition. But the diagnosis was first proposed in 1902 by Sir George Frederick Still, a pediatrician who recognized patterns of hyperactivity and inattention in a small population of children. As science became more sophisticated, the diagnostic rubric for ADHD morphed into its present form. To be fair, it wasn’t until 2013 that the condition made it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But to be even more fair, study after study confirmed its legitimacy as a mental health disorder long before that.
Myth #2: Only American Kids Get ADHD
“If ADHD is real, then why is it that only American children are diagnosed with it?” Solid argument—but false.
While it is true that American children technically have higher rates of ADHD diagnosis, that’s because American pediatricians use the term “ADHD”, in line with the DSM, and pediatricians abroad use other terms to describe the condition. Hot dogs aren’t strictly an American phenomenon just because Germans call the same thing wienerwurst. In fact, a paper in the journal World Psychiatry looked into some 50 studies worldwide linked to diagnoses…