ADHD – Busting the Myths

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with the initial letters highlighted in different colours

People with ADHD have a lot to offer employers who know how to use their talents However, there are many myths about the condition which hold us back. 

MYTH: ADHD means you can never concentrate  

ADHD is not a difficulty with paying attention. It is a difficulty regulating attention which can make it difficult to pay attention to the right thing at the right time or switch our attention when we need to. People with ADHD are often able to concentrate exceptionally hard on something interesting, an ability known as hyperfocus, which helps us excel at work and be creative.  

MYTH: Children grow out of ADHD 

Many people aren’t diagnosed until adulthood when they reach a point where the challenges of ADHD outweigh the benefits and make it difficult to juggle the demands of adult life. Adults are often diagnosed in higher education, or during their thirties, when there’s a lot of social pressure to be successful and reach milestones. It’s common for parents to be diagnosed when their child is diagnosed. Many people with dyslexia, dyspraxia or autism also have ADHD, which may not have been recognised or supported.

MYTH: ADHD is a male thing

More men and boys are diagnosed with ADHD, but women and girls are thought to be underdiagnosed because they often present differently and are less hyperactive, or their hyperactivity may look different.  

MYTH: ADHD means you’re loud, can’t sit still and bounce off walls

Adults with ADHD tend to be less hyperactive than children with hyperactivity. Whereas a child might run around and be disruptive, an adult is more likely to seem intense and full of energy. People with the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD, which is more common in women and girls, are more likely to be seen as quiet or dreamy. Some appear quiet and calm because they are consumed by thoughts or find it difficult to organise their thoughts, and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. The same feelings can also lead to anxiety. 

MYTH: ADHD is being lazy or badly behaved 

Many people with ADHD are people pleasers who have worked hard and put a lot of effort into appearing capable. Others may have underachieved because less was expected of them, and can do much more in the right environment with the right encouragement. 

MYTH: Taking medication takes away your personality

Medication helps with concentration and hyperactivity. For many it also helps with short-term memory and managing emotions. It doesn’t work for everyone and there can be some physical side effects, such as loss of appetite, especially at first. But it doesn’t make you less creative, or turn you into a robot. Many adults who are diagnosed with ADHD have had their personalities shaped by their challenges, and being able to remove some of these with treatment comes as a great relief, not a loss. 

MYTH: Being diagnosed with ADHD is a trend 

With the right support, people with ADHD can thrive. Without this support it can be debilitating and far from trendy. ADHD isn’t new; our understanding of it is. 

MYTH: ADHD is caused by smartphones and technology 

While modern technology can increase distractions for people with ADHD, it doesn’t cause ADHD and can also make life much easier for us by helping us remember things, create things, or communicate with others who are like us. We may rely on apps to helps us live the lives we want to, and lots of us thrive in technical jobs. 

by Maxine Roper, Genuine Copy

If you are interested in employing talented people with ADHD, or other neuro-diverse conditions, you can find plenty here

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