Adult ADD/ADHD is gaining recognition amongst professionals and society at large. It is perceived by many to be a new disorder, discovered or made up by psychiatrists in the last decade. Like most things we perceive of as being new, adult ADD and ADHD are subject to skepticism and myths. There is suspicion on many fronts that adult ADD/ADHD and even childhood ADD/ADHD is a made up disorder created by psychiatrists in association with pharmaceutical companies to sell a new type of drug. While skepticism and awareness are healthy ideals, in the case of adult ADD/ADHD this skepticism does not seem warranted. The symptoms are very real and wreak havoc in the lives of those with the disorder.
Adult ADD/ADHD has been present with us for much longer than many people aware. It is not a new disorder, but one that has only recently gained recognition amongst and been labeled by professionals. Most adults who have been diagnosed with the disorder are those who should have been diagnosed in childhood but were not. And while the symptoms and signs of adult ADD/ADHD are real to its sufferers and treatment has been proven to alleviate these symptoms the myths continue. So what are some of the most common myths surrounding the diagnosis do adult ADD and ADHD?
1. ADD/ADHD is a disorder of children. Adults can not have ADD/ADHD.
While it is more likely to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, adults can and do suffer from the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. Most people who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as adults already had the disorder as children, but were either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.
2. Adults with ADD/ADHD simply need to lead more disciplined organized lives.
Adults with ADD/ADHD have tried to lead more disciplined and organized lives, but have failed. The medical disorder makes it difficult to impossible for adult sufferers to maintain the focus required to stay organized and on track.
3. ADHD symptoms can be overcome without intervention.
Some adults with ADD/ADHD find enough self help treatments to live an organized disciplined life. They create to do lists, take advantage of calendars and timers,and find other ways to organize their live. For many adults with ADD/ADHD these methods do not help and they need to seek help from physicians, personal organizers and counsellors.
4. ADHD is a made up disorder.
With the large number of children currently diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, parents and others are beginning to question whether ADD is even a real disorder. The symptoms that those diagnosed with the disorder endure and the effect these symptoms have on the lives of those with the disorder are very real.
5. People who seek medication for ADHD are really just drug seekers.
Ritalin has been and continues to be abused by adults who use the drug for a quick high. Some have compared its effect as almost cocaine like in adults who do not need the stimulant medication. Ritalin, though, is not usually prescribed to adults with ADD/ADHD. Longer lasting medications with a slower build up such as Concerta and Adderall are prescribed to adults. The effect of these medications are less intense than those of Ritalin so are not attractive to abusers.
6. Medication can cure ADHD.
Medications can help with the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD but are not a cure for the disorder.
7. You’re not hyperactive so you don’t have ADD.
Only adults diagnosed with ADHD deal with the hyperactivity component of the disorder. This symptom shows itself in signs such as restlessness and risk taking. Adults without hyperactivity are diagnosed with ADD rather than ADHD. These adults share almost all the same symptoms as those with ADHD, but are not as likely to be hyperactive and restless.
8. Children with ADD/ADHD always outgrow the disorder.
While many children do outgrow their ADD/ADHD symptoms a large number carry the disorder with them into adulthood. SOme who seem to have outgrown the disorder may simply have found useful coping methods that help them live their lives without professional intervention.
9. You can not lead a normal life with ADD
Most adults with ADD/ADHD function very well. Medical and other professional interventions have helped some, while many work with their ADD/ADHD personalities to create lives that are very compatible with the disorder.
10. Medications help all cases of adult ADHD
Medication is helpful in approximately 58% of cases. Some adults find a combination of medication along with ongoing support from a counsellor or other professional to be more helpful. Others find the side effects of medications to be intolerable and function better with the with the help of professional cognitive treatment, or self help methods.