10 Surprising Facts About ADHD
4. If You Want an ADHDer to Focus, You Better Involve These 4 Elements
- Urgency (deadlines, due dates, now or never circumstances, rare chances)
- Interest (video games, books, passions, sports, etc.)
- Challenge (an actual challenge, or anything difficult)
- Curiosity (discovering a new interest, learning more about what they already like)
Without those 4 elements, all hope is lost when it comes to getting an ADHDer to sustain attention. All an ADHDer has to do is discover what area in life they feel those 4 elements and they will be able to thrive in it.
5. An ADHD Diagnosis Is Often a Misdiagnosis, Especially for Men
There is a common myth about ADHD being a “boy” problem. I can say to you, with 100 percent certainty (in part thanks to several studies) that this is nothing more than a myth.
Yet in the 21st century, males are still three times more likely to receive a diagnosis for ADHD than females. This is despite the fact that studies, cited at the bottom of this guide, show ADHD occurs equally in males and females.
The reason why ADHD is so often misdiagnosed is because there is still not much agreement in the medical community on how to diagnose it. And yes, even people with medical degrees can believe in common myths and stereotypes.
Always ask for a second opinion instead of “accepting” an ADHD diagnosis.
6. Between 5-11 Percent of the U.S. Population has ADHD
The CDC says that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have ADHD as of 2011. Other sources say 5 percent.
If you take the average of those two percentages, which is, 8 percent, about 20 million Americans have ADHD.
7. ADD and ADHD are the Same Condition
If you didn’t know, now you know.
The cause of ADHD is usually genetic. Most people inherit ADHD from their parents or grandparents. If you as a parent have ADHD, your child has a 35 percent chance of having it. If your child has it, there’s a 50 percent chance you have it.
This doesn’t mean there’s such thing as an ADHD gene. In theory, a certain set of genes combined with a certain type of environment can cause ADHD symptoms to develop.
8. Children Can Have a Different Type of ADHD from Their Parents
Don’t assume you or your children will have the same type of ADHD.
9. ADHD Affects Short-term Memory, but Not Intelligence
You can find ADHDers in every profession and level of government. Being smart or more educated helps too. But the condition itself doesn’t make you any more dumber than the next person.
However, ADHD does affect short-term memory. Studies (all done with children of course) show children with ADHD have more problems with short-term memory than non-ADHD children.
As an adult ADHDer, I often notice my short-term memory. It’s only noticeable when I’m fatigued.
10. You Have to Learn ADHD Coping Skills as a Child or Else
Disclaimer: I learned all my coping skills as an adult.
Learning coping skills as a child is essential to success as an adult ADHDer. Children with ADHD need to learn unique coping skills because they have a unique condition.
Many adult ADHDers can’t hold a job or maintain relationships for long. They come in to work late CHRONICALLY and get fired. They make impulsive remarks by accident and lose their friends.
Please make sure your child learns the necessary coping skills to thrive with ADHD before they enter adulthood. The skills they need depend on the ADHD and type of person they are.
Regardless of their ADHD type, most ADHDers will benefit from learning how to manage their emotions and use to-do list.
What to Do If You Think You Have ADHD
First things first, the average doctor won’t be of much use. And you certainly can’t go to a walk in clinic for a diagnosis.
You need to get a referral to a medical professional who specializes in treating ADHD. The most qualified people to teach ADHD are more than medical school graduates. They are the people who went out of their way to learn how to treat ADHD.
When you go to see a specialist, you will almost always start off with a clinical review. Then you might tell them you are impulsive or inattentive to the point where it’s negatively affecting your life. This clinical review can take between 2 to 4 hours.
They will ask you “how” and “why” and analyze your past medical history. From there, diagnosing ADHD is different for children and adults. It’s easier to diagnose ADHD in children because teachers and parents can both weigh in.
Getting a diagnosis as an adult is much harder because parents and teachers probably won’t be able to weigh in. In that case, an adult would need to bring their spouse or a friend to help answer clinical questions.
As I said, not everyone can treat ADHD. I don’t want you to waste your time or money. So here’s a few red flags you should watch out for:
- Brain imaging: There’s no data showing this is effective in diagnosing ADHD. Definitely a waste of money.
- Neuro-psychological tests (as in brain tests): Studying a person’s brain for a couple of hours in an office setting can’t give a clear picture of who they really are.
And fair warning, if the specialist you visit offers to write you a prescription right away, that’s a bad sign. If they don’t include how you functioned at school in their evaluation, that’s also a bad sign.
Don’t let someone give you or your child a diagnosis without a thorough evaluation.