ADHD Facts – Dispelling the Myths

  • ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that has been clinically observed for more than 200 years
  • ADHD is the most prevalent childhood psychiatric disorder in Canada
  • ADHD remains under-recognized and underdiagnosed even though it is the most treatable psychiatric disorder in Canada
  • Overwhelming scientific evidence has lead all major medical associations and government health agencies to recognize ADHD as a “real” medical disorder
  • Children with ADHD are frequently labeled as problem children rather than children with a medical problem
  • ADHD conservatively occurs in 4% of adults and 5% of children worldwide
  • Scientific studies have shown that ADHD is highly heritable and is a chronic disorder that persists throughout the lifespan
  • Eighty percent of children maintain their diagnosis into adolescence and at least 60% remain impaired by symptoms in adulthood
  • There are three presentations of ADHD depending on which of the three core symptoms (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) present:
    • Predominately inattentive (previously referred to as ADD)
    • Predominately hyperactive (very rare)
    • Combined (most prevalent)
  • All regulation of attention is impaired in ADHD. Over-focusing can be as much of an issue as inattention. Prioritizing attention and breaking and shifting attention can all be impaired.
  • Executive functioning impairment and mood dysregulation also impact many children and adults with ADHD
  • Parenting does not cause ADHD, although specialized parents can assist with symptom impairment
  • Diets and limiting food additives and sugar will not cure ADHD
  • Treatment for ADHD should always be multi-modal
  • Children, adolescents and adults with untreated ADHD are at a greater risk for:
    • Learning difficulties, less academic success, school dropout, and fewer years of schooling
    • Additional mental health disorders and problems with self esteem
    • Substance abuse and a greater chance of becoming involved in the justice system
    • More accidents and sustaining injuries, more automobile accidents and earlier death
  • Current lack of knowledge, skills, and integrated services in health and education sectors post major challenges for accessing effective treatments

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