“Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #48 ~ October 31, 2022


What is truly scary is that the falsehoods and myths about ADHD persist even though there have been over 100 years of study, medical research, and more recent neurological findings regarding ADHD. People continue to maintain many inaccurate assumptions and nurture some blatant myths about ADHD, which only advances more misunderstanding, stigma, and shame.

SCARY MYTH #1 ~ ADHD is not a real medical disorder

ADHD is recognized as a real medical disorder by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education and the American Psychiatric Association recognizes ADHD as a real medical disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (formerly known as just attention deficit disorder) is biologically based. Research shows that it’s a result of an imbalance of chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, within the brain. Its primary symptoms are inattention, impulsiveness, and, hyperactivity internal or external. 

SCARY MYTH #2 ~ ADHD only affects boys

ADHD does not discriminate. Girls are just as likely to have ADHD; however, because of this myth boys are more likely to get diagnosed than girls. Girls’ symptoms are commonly overlooked or misdiagnosed. Many girls stare dreamily out the window. And later in life continue to daydream. The majority of girls and women diagnosed fall into the inattentive type of ADHD.

SCARY MYTH #3 ~ ADHD medications lead to substance abuse

Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Living with untreated ADHD increases the risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Getting the right treatment will reduce the risk of substance abuse. ADHD medications have been proven safe and effective for over 50 years. What causes the risk of substance abuse is ADHD and not the medication. 

SCARY MYTH #4 ~ People with ADHD are lazy or stupid

Surprisingly to some, a large number of people with ADHD have above-average intelligence. Many people believe that several well-known, high-achieving individuals from the past had ADHD, including Mozart, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Bernard Shaw, and Salvador Dali. There are also several high-achieving people with ADHD in business today which includes top executives such as Richard Branson of Virgin, David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, and Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s.

SCARY MYTH #5 ~ ADHD is just bad parenting

When a child with ADHD blurts out in class, it’s not because no one taught them it’s wrong. It’s because they can’t control their impulses. It’s all about brain chemistry, not discipline. In fact, overly strict parenting, which may involve punishing a child for things he can’t control, can actually make ADHD symptoms worse. Professional interventions, such as drug therapy, psychotherapy, and behavior modification therapy, are usually required and have been proven to be very effective. 

SCARY MYTH #6 ~ If a child or adult can play video games or hyper-focus for hours, they can’t possibly have ADHD 

It is quite typical for a child and adult with ADHD to be very distracting in one setting, but highly concentrated in other settings. This is because ADHD does not mean no attention. ADHD means dysregulated attention. Settings or activities that are highly stimulating can lead to hyperfocus. It’s in the more mundane and less exciting settings where you see the distractibility.

This is just a short list of SCARY MYTHS about ADHD and I hope that you reach out or learn more so you can help spread ADHD Awareness and the truth about ADHD! 

What is scary is:

Not knowing if you or someone you love have ADHD. What we don’t know and understand is what can scare us. 

Get the facts! Relying on hearsay or what your cousin’s neighbor’s mother said is pretty scary. Hopefully, you get my point on this.

Not bothering to learn about your brain and executive function and how it works for you is scary. You can learn how to maximize your brain to it’s fullest potential.

If you suspect you or someone you know has ADHD, what do you have to lose to find out one way or another? Wouldn’t you want to know if you do have it so you can get the right treatment? The diagnosis can be made by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, or by a primary care provider.

ADHD doesn’t have to be scary but if you believe the myths about ADHD, that’s definitely a SCARY spot to be in! 

For more information on this subject and/or if you would like to work with a Life Coach to work through some struggles or have someone beside you as you navigate this life, contact Karen at

Thank you for reading “Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #48 ~ October 31, 2022


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