People's Misconceptions & the Frustations of Adult ADHDHaving adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be frustrating.

Merely struggling with compensating for the challenges so they don’t interfere with daily functioning and learning new ways to do things can be taxing. There is a constant internal battle of symptom and strategy waging inside yourself when you are coping with ADHD.

In fact, a lot about ADHD is exhausting; however, putting up with or hearing from people who misunderstand or have misconceptions about ADHD has to top the list.

Recently I was on a social chat forum online when the question was asked: What is the most frustrating misconception about ADHD that you have heard?

Definitely for me, the top most frustrating comment I hear is when people say “I don’t believe in ADHD.”

It takes almost everything I have not to reach out and try to shake some sense into people who say this. I just want to start quoting the studies and statistics that support the reality of ADHD. Or simply let out a big dramatic sigh, remind them that not believing in something doesn’t make it not exist and walk away. To be honest, when I hear this statement, it takes everything in me not to do all these things.

But I have learned to channel my desire to shake or lecture or badger the facts into people who don’t understand what ADHD is — how it is real and different for everyone diagnosed with it. And how it can truly interfere with life, but also enhance it.

Instead, at least most of the time, I try to remain curious and ask questions to understand where this belief comes from. Because it’s possible they have never realized they know someone with ADHD or truly aren’t aware of all the aspects of ADHD. And the moment is a great opportunity to increase awareness of ADHD — my all-time passion!

Here are some other exasperating, erroneous beliefs you have probably heard at least once in your ADHD life that have tested your patience:

“Everyone is a little AD/HD.”

“That kid just needs some strong discipline.”

“You should never give medication to kids. They will just end up all drugged up or will abuse it.”

“You can’t have ADHD, you’re an adult.”

“No, she can’t have ADHD, she’s a girl.”

“Your child has ADHD? Oh, that must be so frustrating.”

“It seems like the whole world has been diagnosed with ADHD.”

“How do you have ADHD? You’re not bouncing off the walls.”

“He doesn’t have ADHD; he can sit and focus in front of that video game all day.”

What is the most frustrating misconception you have heard about ADHD?



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Jun 2013
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Dupar, L. (2013). People’s Misconceptions & the Frustrations of Adult ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 28, 2014, from


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