There are a number of common beliefs about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some of them are true - and some aren't.
ADHD is caused by my child's diet and environment.
Myth. Although the exact cause of ADHD is unclear, the symptoms of ADHD appear to be genetically based and related to an imbalance in brain chemicals.
ADHD affects boys more often than girls.
Fact. Boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls. There may be an underdiagnosis in girls, which may be attributed to their quieter demeanour and less frequent display of impulsive and hyperactive behaviour.
All children with ADHD eventually "grow out of it."
Myth. It is a common myth that children will outgrow ADHD. In fact, about 80% of children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adolescence and about 50% will experience ADHD symptoms as adults.
ADHD is considered to be a medical disorder.
Fact. ADHD is a medical disorder recognized by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the US National Institute of Mental Health, the US Centers for Disease Control, and the US Surgeon General.
Children with ADHD should only take their medication while in school.
Myth. ADHD is a chronic disorder. Giving medication continuously through weekends and holidays may enable the child to better control behaviour and improve socialization and self-esteem. However, the decision to continuously give ADHD medication to children should be individualized and discussed with the child's doctor.
Medications are important for treating ADHD.
Fact. Medications are important for treating ADHD, but they are not the only treatment strategy. Treatment for ADHD must also include psychological, educational, and social measures to improve symptoms. People who suffer from ADHD benefit from changes in the classroom, behaviour management strategies, and medications.
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