Comments on
People’s Misconceptions & the Frustrations of Adult ADHD

Having 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?

13 Comments to
People’s Misconceptions & the Frustrations of Adult ADHD

The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. (If there's more than one page, click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.) Jump to reply form.

  1. My most frustrating experience is when people tell me that I probably don’t have ADHD. They say it is over-diagnosed, so I should get another opinion. They assume all psychiatrists will give anyone a prescription for Adderall if they ask. This is very frustrating.

  2. My most frustrating part of ADHD is not being able to get a prescription for stimulants because I self medicated with meth for 8 years. I have been free of that for three years and have totally changed my life, but I can’t get ahead educationally without stimulants. The worst part about the last three years is living in a world of distraction when I know that I don’t have to do so.

  3. I get tired of people blaming their infidelity on ADHD, especially when they were loyal to their partners for years. AND think that this is a valid excuse for cheating, and all should be forgiven. I believe that ADHD should not be used as a crutch for bad behavior, and the people I work with do not believe their disabilities are an excuse to treat any partner that way.

  4. For me as a neurofeedback practitioner, the frustration lies primarily in the notion that stimulants are the only option to improve focus. We use the combination of Neuro-Gen neurofeedback and NanoBeam 940 infrared to improve both focus and mood with great success. Results typically begin to be noticed immediately, and become permanent after about 20-30 sessions (at 2 per week). Unlike stimulants, there are no lasting undesired side effects. Also, people frequently don’t recognize that brain injury can produce symptoms that mimic AD/HD. Neuro-Gen addresses these symptoms quickly and effectively.

  5. “Really? You don’t look like you have ADD”

    “I think I used to have ADD but I worked hard and got over it.”

  6. You’re too old to have ADHD…

    I know, it surprised me,too!

    I can’t blame people for being suspicious. There are a lot of boys especially who are prescribed meds for ADHD who I do think are at pretty normal activity level, but who have no outlet for their physical energy. Some of them are just too immature for school at their level – immature developmentally that is. And some need a lot more than a pill (whose home lives are completely unstructured messes). A lot of internists and other untrained MDs write prescriptions without sufficient screening or observation. These are real problems. And the meds do have unpleasant effects.

    Actually, one reaction I got as an newly diagnosed adult, from someone I used to work with was: “You mean YOU didn’t KNOW?! “

  7. Most Frustrating:
    “It’s not a disorder, it’s natural/different way of thinking/means you aren’t doing the ‘right’ kind of work/you’re bored”

    While I do like showing the positive aspects of ADHD as well as respecting “psychological diversity,” I don’t like when those without the disease romanticize it. When I was a kid and couldn’t sit in the grass because I was sensitive to stimulation or got teased for rhythmic motions, it sure felt like a disorder.

    Also, I watched my GPA drop and had work problems because I tried to “handle it on my own” because it’s not a “real thing” that adults have. My life got so much better when I went back to professional treatment.

  8. Most frustrating is from my mother since my husband was diagnosed: “Well, don’t talk about it like that, it’ll make him feel bad.” Like it helps either him or me to act like it’s not there.

  9. Your “symptoms” are without doubt, very real, to you. But I refuse to believe that you have a psychological-biological-neurocognitive disorder, until I see the gene assays, and the exact neural pathways responsible for these deficits. Show me the pathology, otherwise, it’s bio-psych pseudoscience.

    • Jane, you realize that the genetic markers for schizophrenia were only found this year, right? Before that discovery, did you believe schizophrenia to be fake as well? What about dystonia? Many types or dystonia have no known cause. Let me guess, a man with a neck so cramped that it’s almost turned around is just faking it. All because no genetic cause has been discovered. Give me a break.

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

    Too many people including professionals still think of ADHD as a learning disability rather than a symptom. This leads to another common misconception
    ” ADHD means you cannot have a successful career or keep it for an extended period of time.”

    Too many brilliant and successful creative minds are still too reluctant to admit they have adhd and or taking ritalin to control their symptoms.

    Lastly, I hope the mental health community will highlight the personality disorders most often observed with ADHD individuals. I find this to be particularly true with adults who have adhd but do not know it.

    Cheers :)

  11. I hate it the most when people say I’m selfish because I have a hard time waiting for things, or when I cut someone off in a conversation… Or I’m selfish because I can’t listen to them vent or complain about things… Or the see when I can hyper focus on something I love but not on something they need from me… I just hate when people mistake an adhd symptom for indifference. It breaks my heart…

  12. My fave misconception is “it’s all in your head, just get on with it & deal with it” I copped this for years off family & friends. I struggled with planning, forgetfulness, organisation, impatience, concentration, completing tasks, getting bills paid. All of this was constantly put down to me just being a scatterbrain & being lazy & dumb.

    People failed to realise that I was not dumb or lazy. When I had the right motivation & teachers & people that showed me how to organise myself & focused on my strengths rather than my weaknesses – I did brilliantly. I was fantastic at art & playing the piano because I could not only be myself but I could lose myself in a world that was only limited by my imagination. To make my family happy I did a secretarial course & went through a series of secretarial jobs which I hated because I struggled at.

    I struggled throughout life with nearly everything I did & suffered anxiety & depression. It wasn’t until a friend of mine & another work colleague pointed out that all of these things are typical of a person with a subtype ADHD & I should get tested. At first I thought there’s no way I could have this but I decided it was worth being assessed. I was assessed by a psychiatrist & diagnosed with ADHD at age 45. With a combination of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Occupational Therapy the quality of my has changed for the better & knowing that all of this was not in my head & there are people out there that get me is liberating.

    When you meet a person with ADHD you’ve met one person with ADHD. Rather than judge, talk to us to understand why we are like this. Contrary to what people think most people with ADHD are quite intelligent & get where you are coming from .

    To people newly diagnosed with ADHD – don’t rely on medication alone to help you. To function well you also need to look after yourself by engaging in Cognitive Behaviour therapy, occupational therapy, excercise & a healthy diet all of which not only help your physical well being, but your mental wellbeing.

    The one thing I will stress is not to use ADHD as a crutch whenever something goes wrong in your life -if you’ve done the wrong thing or made a mistake don’t blame your ADHD – take responsibility & own up to your mistake & use the strategies you’ve been taught to not just rectify the mistake but to learn from it.



Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Post a Comment: