- Written by Dave Pughe-Parry
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In this article we will list some of the things that ADHD is not. This hopefully will start to dispel some of the myths and legends.
It is not:
- Psychological: ADHD is not a psychological problem. That may confuse or astound you, but it's true. The effects of untreated ADHD may well be psychological, but ADHD is not a psychological condition.
- Contagious: You can't catch ADHD from being in the same room as them, or kissing them, or any other intimate activity.
- Naughtiness or Laziness: Before you think I've been smoking my socks or some other obnoxious weed, understand this. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, ADHD is not naughtiness or laziness. No ADHD child or adult ever gets up in the morning and debates how to make your life a misery. And we don't try and avoid doing things, because we usually don't have any idea what we have to that day anyway!
- A State of Mind: My teachers were very fond of telling me to ""snap out of it!"" I used to sit there and wonder what I had to snap out of. My mind mind was busy, maybe it wasn't busy thinking about what i should have focusing on, but I was not in any state of mind.
- Caused by Poor Parenting: ADHD may be - and usually is - aggravated by poor parenting, but it is never caused by ADHD. I have consoled many parents over the years who are wracked with misguided guilt. One poor mother even suggested that if she hadn't waggled her unborn child's head in the uterus, the child would have been normal! Simply not possible! Besides, you won't see or hear anyone refer to ""normal people."" the only time we may do that is to explain that there is no such as normal. If you know of anyone who has accurately defined what normal is, I and the rest of the sane world would like to hear it.
- An Excuse to Obtain Drugs: I have left this terrible myth till last to deal with.Â Unfortunately, the controversy around ADHD is somehow inextricably linked with that word - Ritalin. How tragic, that such a complex condition can be reduced to one word, that the whole debate is framed by one word. How tragic that so many vested interests, including the well meaning ones, use this word to advance their arguments and thereby swell their wallets.
- Myth One: Methylphenidate (the active ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta) is addictive. This is totally devoid of any truth. One of the prime reasons for bringing out the Long Acting versions was because ADDers forgot to take their medication. Go figure, can you imagine any addict forgetting to take his or her fix?
- Myth Two: Ritalin is the drug of choice on American playgrounds. In the 70's, 80's and even the 90's this may well have been true. But we need to understand what actually happened on those playgrounds. This was not a case where all the ADDers huddled together to pop some pills in a corner of the playground. It was ADHD kids trading the Ritalin to non-ADHD kids in return for help with their homework, or something else. Now reread Myth One above.
- Myth Three: It's easy to overdose on methylphenidate. No! It's impossible to overdose on methylphenidate. The active ingredients works in the brain, not in the body. I am in no way advocating or suggesting that you try to see how many you can take. All medications are dangerous, even the humble aspirin. Treat all medications with respect and use them in prescribed dose.