10 Myths About ADHD

Children have a lot of energy and tend to be naturally rambunctious. But should you be concerned if your child is easily distracted, has extreme difficulty waiting his or her turn, cannot follow instructions or pay attention for any length of time?

Probably, because those are some of the signs of a chronic behavior disorder called Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). What are the symptoms of ADHD, and what is the treatment for this disorder? Find out by taking the following true or false quiz (with answers provided). Then check your answers to see how much you know about ADHD.

  1. True or False. ADHD is more commonly seen in boys than in girls.True. ADHD affects two to three times more boys than girls, although the number of girls diagnosed with this disorder is increasing.
  2. True or False. ADHD is rare and affects only a small percentage of children.False. Three percent to 5 percent of all children exhibit significant ADHD symptoms, and at least one child in every classroom in the United States needs help in treating this disorder.
  3. True or False. The classic symptoms seen in a person with ADHD are inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity.True. In order to make the diagnosis of ADHD, a person must manifest at least one of the above symptoms. Symptoms must be severe enough to cause a disruption to normal development and not be attributed to a temporary stress reaction.
  4. True or False. Most children will outgrow ADHD by the time they reach adolescence.False. Until recently, it was believed that most children outgrow ADHD. However, newer research shows more than 70 percent of those diagnosed with ADHD continue to have problems during adolescence and possibly into adulthood.
  5. True or False. In addition to behavioral interventions and educational modifications, stimulants have long been used to treat ADHD.True. Stimulants have been used to treat ADHD since the 1930s. The most popular stimulants include Ritalin®, Dexedrine® and Adderall®. The medications appear to work by causing an increased production of dopamine and norepinephrine.
  6. True or False. The most common side effects seen in people taking stimulant medications for ADHD include reduced appetite and insomnia.True. In addition to these two side effects, some children experience stomachache and headache when they first start the drug. Adjusting the dose of medicine can often control these side effects. In rare instances, stimulant medications may interfere with a child’s growth. Growth resumes when the medicine is discontinued.
  7. True or False. Refined sugar and food additives make children hyperactive and inattentive.False. In 1982, the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency responsible for biomedical research, discussed the issue as at a special scientific conference. After the data was analyzed, it was concluded that restrictive diets only seemed to help about 5 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD, mostly very young children or those with food allergies.
  8. True or False. The majority of children diagnosed with ADHD are able to remain in a regular classroom.True. Some children will require special accommodations to help them to learn. Special seating, allowing more time to complete tests and reinforcing oral instructions with written and visual aids are examples of techniques that may be needed. Most children with ADHD qualify for free services within public schools. Parents should inquire about modifications that can help a child’s performance in the classroom. Under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, public schools receiving federal money are required to make certain accommodations for ADHD students.
  9. True or False. Children in families where there is a history of ADHD may be more at risk for developing this disorder.True. Studies show children in families where there is a history of ADHD, anxiety or mood disorders, substance abuse disorders or learning disabilities are more likely to develop the disorder.
  10. True or False. The diagnosis of ADHD is often difficult to make because other diseases and disorders, such as sleep apnea, share many of the same symptoms.True. Many children who suffer from other conditions such as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, and even some types of seizures are erroneously labeled ADHD. Likewise, during certain developmental stages, children will often display behaviors that, although normal, may be mistaken for problematic behaviors. Examples include temporary increases in distractibility, forgetfulness, exuberance and difficulty with impulse control. For this reason, symptoms must be observed for at least six months before an ADHD diagnosis is made.