Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Adhd-Breaking Myths; What is True Success?

Imagine living in a home where all of the members have variations of ADHD; get's touchy to say the least!  I'm sure many out there know what I mean.

Counseling is a vital part of treatment for ADHD challenges.  It is so important that parents are participants of the counseling, and nurturing through these challenges.  Yes my husband is a wonderful counselor!!  One thing he learned, is that family cannot counsel family with certain issues.   It does not work.  A counselor needs to be a "non" anxious presence.   Sometimes a counselor needs counseling too!

I remember video games being mentioned as a help, and I've had people that I know kind of shoot that idea down.  Whatever works is what a parent needs to go with in my opinion.   It isn't just any video game that serves as "therapy" with ADHD, but seems to be certain monitored video games.  

I found this video interesting.  

Terry Matlen, ACSW

Terry Matlen, ACSW

Monday, March 23, 2009
View All of Terry Matlen, ACSW's Posts

In my 15 years working to support, educate and counsel those touched by ADHD, we in the field have made some ground in de-bunking ADHD myths. But we still have a long way to go.


Below are common ADHD myths that I and many others, work hard to debunk:


1. Myth: ADHD is not a real disorder.

Fact:  The American Psychiatric Society recognized AD/HD as a medical diagnosis in

1980. It is listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which is the official mental health "bible" used by psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric and other brain disorders.


2. Myth: Children outgrow their ADHD.

Fact: The great majority of children with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms of ADHD into adulthood. More than 70% continue to have symptoms of ADHD into adolescence and at least 50% will continue to have it as adults, though many clinicians feel this estimate is low.


3. Myth: All people with ADHD are hyperactive and/or impulsive.

Fact: There are three subtypes of ADHD: a) hyperactivity/impulsivity

b) inattentive c) combined.

 The inattentive subtype typically does not include hyperactivity/impulsivity.


4. Myth: Medications used for ADHD (stimulants) are highly addictive.

Fact: When used as directed, stimulants are very safe to use in both children and adults. In fact, studies are finding that those diagnosed with ADHD who are not being appropriately treated with medications, often self-medicate using substances that can be addicting.


5. Myth: ADHD is caused by poor or inconsistent parenting.

Fact:  ADHD is a neurobiological condition, often inherited. Parenting children with ADHD can be very challenging, causing much guilt for parents who are unsure how to best handle children who are hyperactive and impulsive. But parenting styles do not cause ADHD.


6. Myth: Sugar causes hyperactivity.

Fact: Earlier studies have debunked that myth, showing that children who seem to become more hyperactive while consuming a lot of sugar are often at parties and at other activities that stimulate them and their activity level. However, there is a small sub-set of children, approximately 1-3% that do seem to have food additive sensitivities.


7. Myth: Children and adults with ADHD have lower IQs.

Fact: People with ADHD do not have lower (or higher) IQs than the general public.


8. Myth: Children with ADHD are over-medicated.

Fact: Though more children are taking stimulants for ADHD than before, researchers believe this is due to clinicians identifying more children with ADHD who have been missed in previous years. In addition, it's only been in recent years that more girls have been identified as having ADHD and thus receiving treatment for it.


9. Myth: There are fewer girls with ADHD and they are less impaired than boys with ADHD.

Fact: It's believed that there are as many girls with ADHD as boys, but that they are less frequently identified and treated. Studies show that in some areas, girls with ADHD are more impaired than their male counterparts, in that in addition to their ADHD, they also more likely to struggle with substance abuse, anxiety and panic. Compared to non-ADHD girls, they have an increase in mood and conduct disorders and are more impaired in family, social and school functioning.

10. Myth: ADHD can be cured.

Fact: At this time, there is no cure for ADHD, but it can be well managed through a combination of medication and therapy.

taken from:

Some claim ADHD is mainly a spiritual condition of the heart.  The folks who say it is solely a spiritual condition (or dietary condition), have never had a child with ADHD, or an adult spouse with it...or even themselves had to deal with it.   

When someone begins to tell me what "they think they know" about ADHD (whether they are educated in the field or not...or have a child with it, or not) or tell me that ADHD is a made up condition or only a heart/spiritual condition, it falls on deaf ears as far as I am concerned.  They have never walked in the shoes of someone who deals with it daily.  If they are walking in it, and not admitting there is a problem, they are not doing themselves or their child any good.   Also, every case is different.  I cannot proceed to tell someone what they are doing right or wrong for their ADHD.  I can offer suggestions.  (which means... you suggest...not ram it down their throat or assume you have the right answer for their situation...or assume that person hasn't already tried this or that advise you offer)

It is important to find a psychologist or psychiatrist who is "real", and I believe it is important that they are a christian too.  Someone who has a healthy balance of reality and spirituality.  Someone who listens and aids with finding the right solutions for each individual case.  

I'm not into "labeling" children or adults.  Yet, admission to having ADHD or any condition is not "labeling".  To me, Labeling is the mindset toward the condition.  Eventually one's issues have to be dealt is always best to get the help sooner than later.   Staying in the land of denial only keeps one there, and hurts others around them in the process.  We all need help, counsel, and encouragement in different ways.  That is why God put us on this earth in the plural.  We need HIM and we need one another! 

When it comes down to it, we are all different and unique.  We all have strengths, and challenges that are unique to each individual.  We can't play the comparison game with one another, or with each other's children.  A straight A student may have serious issues in many other areas of their lives.  A student who struggles for B's or C's...may have great strengths in many other areas of their lives.  

A person does not have to be financially or academically successful to be a success in the eyes of God.  After all, it is HIM that we are to please.  Not man, and not the world's standards.  :)  

True success is doing the will of God for our lives.  What is that?  Well, I believe it is loving God with all of our hearts, and loving others as ourselves... as the Bible teaches.  Jesus said, these were the most important of the commandments.  Also, to be a witness; go and tell the world about Christ's love for them; not only in words, but in our actions.  Actions speak the loudest.  Work with our hands, and do everything as unto the Lord.  It doesn't mean we all have to be Doctors or Lawyers, or have big money making jobs to be a success.  It means, whatever we do, do it as unto the Lord.  Period!  

I believe the bottom line; to Serve.  I don't mean just in the church for all to see, beating ones head against the wall "doing" everything...bragging about all you do...or wearing oneself down so you are no good to you or your family.  I everything we put our hands to in our daily lives...throughout the day, in our homes, with our children, in our relationships with others...serve as unto God. 

My friend Michelle said it so well in a blog comment to me not long ago...this is not verbatim, but basically she said when we do laundry, thank God we have laundry to do because we have loved ones.  Everything we do, find a way to be thankful for our service (not only in the things others see, but especially in those places others do not see).  

I've not got all of this figured out or worked out within myself either.  Personally, it is a daily challenge for me. 

Being kind and compassionate toward others who seem different.  That is a good start too.

Ephesians 6
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.


Bundleboo MaMa said...

What a great post Jenn, I too expierence the same issues in my own life...I have mom and brother do as well and I believe that my oldest child may also have it. I am really pleased to hear that the gaming alternative is working for your family thats WONDERFUL! Its definatly a tough sitution to live in...I find that there are days that I of course LOVE my son, but have a difficult time liking him because the effects of ADHD are extremely trying and wearing on your mind, body and soul. You're absolutly right, you cannot expect anyone to really understand what it mean to live with an ADHD child or simply live with ADHD unless they are in your shoes.

Ellen said...

It's great to read the post and the comment, my husband has ADD (or something of the sort, he hasn't been re-diagnosed in MANY years - which is something I would like him to do since a lot more is known now, but I don't know how to go about it) and his biggest worry is that our kids will get it too (or inherit it I suppose). They are only 3 and 1.5 yrs. I know that we struggle with things in our marriage because of my husbands issues (he's had a lot happen in his life besides just dealing with ADD) and I often forget that his reasoning isn't the same as mine.. maybe I can learn some things here :)

Jenn said...

Thank you both for your comments. :)

Ellen, a good start is for your husband to speak with his family physician and share those concerns about wanting to go a little deeper with finding out the extent of his ADHD. He can refer you to a psychologist for testing.

My husband did not find his until college. He struggled all of his life with dyslexia and ADHD. All through school he was called dumb and lazy. He completed college (which was a big struggle for him) When he began his Master's, he went through more testings...the Psychologist who administered the tests told him, "People like you don't go to graduate school". However, He DID, and he graduated...actually did very well. Only by the hand of God, because it was so tough on him!!!

My son began showing symptoms in Kinder and 1st grade. But because he seemed "smart"...could read at a 3rd grade level, etc...his teachers would not listen to me when I shared concerns.

As he got into 2nd and 3rd grade he began to fall behind. He could not complete classwork because every little noise kept him distracted (even someone breathing normally in a quiet room). We were doing homework until 10 and 11 pm for 3rd grade! His self esteem suffered because he was called lazy...his teachers knew he was smart enough and just thought he was being lazy. When in reality, he was struggling with processing the world he was taking in...trying to take it all in at one time.

Also, concerning your with your pediatrician, and if your gut tells you something needs looking into with your children...don't give up until someone helps you find the truth. I just gave up. And now I wished I had followed my gut on it yrs ago!

There are some great books at the library on ADHD that have helped me learn so much about how to guide my children, and have helped my husband and I too. I can totally relate with what you husband and I have both been through hard/painful times too...that mixed with ADHD or ADD does later effect the marriage and other relationships around if we don't learn a better way to communicate. My husband and I went through 4 yrs of counseling to deal with a lot of our childhood issues. It helped to see how things effect our lives.

Our son has ADHD, and our daughter has ADD with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. It is a lot to take in. Our children were diagnosed just this past yr. (along with my daughter's severe scoliosis) I know I'm not going crazy!! LOL. It sooo comforted all of us to have answers, and some solutions of a better way! :) Slowly our son's self esteem is being lifted. He begins counseling, and this will help with his confidence as well.

Blessings to both of you gals (Ellen and Bundleboo Mama) in the journey! I don't have all the answers, but I will be glad to share our journey. :)

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

Great post. Never been here before, but I want to come back!

Jenn said...

Thank you for stopping by and commenting my bloggy Rachel. Welcome! :)