Attention Tension: 10 Misconceptions about ADD in Children to Dispel Right Now

We tend to hear misconstrued information about what ADD actually is and how to best treat it. Here are 10 misconceptions about ADD in children.

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No one loves to talk about ADD in children. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are often called hyper-troublemakers, and when their condition is undiagnosed, they’re often labeled dumb or lazy in adulthood. There is no blood test or X-ray that gives solid proof of ADD’s existence, and because of this, some people may have a hard time believing it’s a real disorder. Those who are misinformed about ADD may think, ‘Oh, everyone is unfocused sometimes, you just have to concentrate harder!’ But in reality, it’s not that easy for ADD patients.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. The average age of onset is 7 years old.” Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are two conditions that while slightly different, are now both being referred to in the medical community as ADHD. Here are 10 common misconceptions that surround this disorder and the scientific truths behind them.

1. All kids with ADD are hyperactive

A boy with ADD on a bored couch

When it comes to ADD in children, most imagine a child running up walls with energy. Not true for all. Though some children are hyperactive, many others with attention problems are not. There’s the child with ADD who is inattentive, but not overly active, and he or she may appear unmotivated and spacey.

2. Kids will outgrow it

Though some believe those with ADD as kids will outgrow it as they enter their teens, the truth is that often ADD impairments are not very noticeable until the teen years. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.

3. They lack willpower

A little boy with ADD at a desk

No matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive. ADD comes down to a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain so that children with ADD are often only able to concentrate on activities they enjoy.

4. They need medication to calm themselves

In reality, those with ADD suffer from under-activity of the brain’s management networks. The types of medications they are given increase their alertness and improve communication.

5. Medication is best treatment


On the contrary, medication might not be the best option. Other effective treatments include behavior therapy, education, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition.

6. ADD isn’t associated with any other conditions

The majority of children who have been diagnosed with ADD have at least one coexisting condition. Most common are: conduct disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, and learning disabilities.

7. ADD meds in childhood lead to drug use


Yes, though people with ADD are naturally impulsive, those patients taking stimulants for this disorder are actually at lower risk of using other drugs. But teenagers who have ADD and also have a coexisting condition may be at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, regardless of the medication used.

8. Medication cures ADD

The psychostimulant medication is one of the most common forms of ADD treatment and has been shown to help children focus and be less hyperactive. It’s most effective as a larger treatment plan that includes behavior modification treatment and academic assistance for the child.

9. Ritalin stunts growth

A child with ADD near a window

Though Ritalin may have an effect on some children’s growth, recent studies have shown that any effect on height is only temporary. Even children who are still taking the medicine throughout adolescence ultimately do achieve their normal height.

10. ADD can be treated through homeopathic treatments

Homeopathy is an appealing option for parents who worry about the long-term effect of giving their kids stimulants. The research on whether homeopathic medications are effective for treating ADD in children is inconclusive and this is something you should discuss with your pediatrician.

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