Despite an increase in diagnoses, plenty of stigma still surrounds attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Adults with ADHD (or parents of children with the disorder) are often somehow blamed for the condition — as if they’re not trying hard enough to control a wide range of symptoms, which can include difficulty focusing, difficulty processing information quickly, fidgeting, impatience and more.
Every year, ADHD affects more than 4 percent of Americans over the age of 18 — adults who are learning, working and living fulfilling, successful lives alongside people who assume those with ADHD are somehow less than. Here are a few things we should all know about ADHD.
Myth: ADHD isn’t a real medical disorder.
Fact: Critics use a lot of different arguments in the service of discrediting ADHD. They blame bad parenting for “unruly” kids, pharmaceutical companies for “fabricating” the illness in search of a profit or students looking for an unfair “advantage” in the classroom. There’s even one theory that ADHD is the result of a culture with “a growing intolerance of childhood playfulness.” But ADHD is a valid condition, recognized by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Surgeon General and countless other medical professionals. What’s more, there’s even evidence to support a genetic predisposition for the condition in studies in twins — a hallmark of legitimacy.\