An estimated 17 million people in the United States have attention deficit disorder (ADD), which was later renamed as attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD). I prefer the name ADD, as ADHD highlights the hyperactive component of the disorder (H) and discards half the people who have it, particularly girls, who are typically not hyperactive.
According to the CDC:
- 13.2% of boys, and
- 5.6% of girls have at one time been diagnosed with ADD.
ADD is the most common learning and behavior problem in children. But the issue doesn’t end there: It is also one of the most common problems in adults, and has been associated with job failures, relationship breakups, loneliness, a tremendous sense of under-achievement, drug abuse, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
Despite the prevalence of ADD, there are many myths and misconceptions abound in our society. I will dispel a few of the myths today in this article. If you wish to learn more, be sure to pre-order a copy of my newly revised book, Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD, scheduled to release this December.
1. ADD is a flavor-of-the-month illness, a fad diagnosis. It’s just an excuse for bad behavior.
- ADD is real – and devastates many people lives. There are hundreds of brain imaging studies showing differences in the brains of people with ADD.
- ADD has been described in the medical literature for about 100 years.
2. ADD is over diagnosed. Every child who acts up a bit, or adult who is lazy, gets placed on Ritalin or Adderall.
- Less than ½ of those with ADD are being treated.
- Many people with ADD are never hyperactive. The non-hyperactive or “inattentive” ADD folks are often ignored because they do not bring enough negative attention to themselves. Many of these children, teenagers, and adults earn the unjust labels “willful”, “lazy”, “unmotivated”, or “not that smart”.
3. ADD is only a disorder of hyperactive boys.
Fact: Females have ADD in high numbers, but they usually have the inattentive type, so if often goes unnoticed.
4. ADD is only a minor problem. People make too much of a fuss over it.
Fact: Left untreated or ineffectively treated, ADD is a very serious societal problem!
- 33% never finish high school – compared to the national average of 8.7%
- 52% of untreated teens and adults abuse drugs and/or alcohol.
- 46% of untreated hyperactive boys will be arrested for a felony by age 16, compared to 11% for non-ADD controls.
- 21-25% of inmates (in a number of studies) have been found to have ADD
5. ADD is an American invention, made up by a society seeking simple solutions to complex social problems.
Fact: ADD is found in every country where it has been studied.
6. Bad parents or bad teachers cause ADD. If only our society had old-fashioned values, there wouldn’t be these problems.
Fact: Ineffective parents or teachers can certainly make ADD symptoms worse, but they are generally not the sole cause. ADD behaviors often make even the most skilled parents and teachers stressed and inept.
7. People with ADD should just try harder. Everybody gives them excuses and coddles them.
Fact: The harder many people with ADD try, the worse things get for them. Brain-imaging studies show that when people with ADD try to concentrate, the parts of their brains involved with concentration, focus, and follow-through (prefrontal cortex and cerebellum) actually shut down – just when they need them to turn on!
8. Everyone outgrows ADD by the age of 12 or 13.
Fact: Many people never outgrow ADD and have symptoms that interfere with their whole lives. 30-65% of children diagnosed with ADD will have disabling symptoms into adulthood.
9. Medication alone is the best treatment for ADD, and has few side effects for most people.
Fact: Treatment can be very effective when properly targeted, especially when using a comprehensive approach, including education, support, exercise, nutrition, and personalized supplements or medications. Unfortunately, when children or adults do get treatment for ADD, shotgun medications are usually the only treatment given.
Effective treatment does not make ADD sufferers different people; it removes the barriers hindering them from being the people they already are. I think of effective treatment for ADD like glasses for people who have trouble seeing. The glasses do not change people, they just makes their vision more effective.
There Are 7 Types of ADD/ADHD
Shortly after beginning brain SPECT imaging work in 1991, I realized that ADD was not a single or simple disorder; it’s important to understand this to truly know ADD and properly treat it. Just as there are many different causes of chest pain, I noticed there were different brain SPECT patterns in my ADD patients. Over the next several years, I discovered 7 different types of ADD that responded differently to specific treatments.
Click here to learn more about the 7 different types of ADD/ADHD.
How Amen Clinics Can Help
At the Amen Clinics, we deeply understand the pain that ADD/ADHD can cause a family or individual. At each of our 6 clinics, we use the “Four Circles” diagnostic approach before beginning treatment with SPECT imaging or any other recommendations.
We see the condition of every patient as a result of many influencing factors, all of which can have a meaningful impact on mental health. We have designed our diagnostics to account for every circle, using several in-depth diagnostic tools.
- Biology (physical)
- Psychology (mind)
- Social Life (connections)
- Spiritual Life (unique spirit)
We want to help you improve your quality of life. Call us today at 1.888.564.2700 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.
Click HERE to pre-order Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD.