The 9 Biggest Myths About ADD That You Need to Know

The 9 Biggest Myths About ADD That You Need to Know

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).

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
• Type 2 diabetes

9 Common Misconceptions about ADD

1. “ADD is a flavor-of-the-month illness, a fad diagnosis. It’s just an excuse for bad behavior.”

Fact: 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 medical literature for over 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.”

Fact: 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%

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) 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.

How Amen Clinics Can Help

At Amen Clinics, we deeply understand the pain that ADD/ADHD can cause a family or individual. At each of our clinics, we use The Amen Clinics Method diagnostic approach before beginning treatment with brain 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.

We want to help you improve your quality of life. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.


  1. My seven (almost 8 year old) has severe ADD. It’s causing lots of issues at school and at home. Impulsivity is the biggest struggle she has. Where are you located that we can schedule an appointment? We live in Colorado.

    Thanks for your help!

    Comment by Stacey Cruz — May 18, 2018 @ 3:03 AM

  2. Excellent information , thx amen clinic
    Appreciate your emails…tim cyr

    Comment by Tim — May 18, 2018 @ 5:01 AM

  3. Thank you for this info. I am a 53 year old male who believes has had ADD my entire life without doing anything about out. I have procrastinated my entire life on so many issues. I am from Pennsylvania and just do not have the money to do anything about it. I also have a 23 year old son who also was never diagnosed, but I consider my situation much worse. It really has caused many problems in my life. I really do believe I have ADD. It really is a horrible thing to deal with. Thank you for listening.

    Comment by Bill — May 18, 2018 @ 7:02 AM

  4. In response to the previous comment by Stacey Cruz – I work in a treatment center and in group therapies, many people have voiced there struggle with Impulse Control before abusing drugs. I am not afraid to echo there struggle by sharing my own past experience with Impulse Control.
    At 54 years old, the intensity and frequency have subsided; probably due to regular exercise, meditation and diet. For myself, medication is helpful in some situations in life.
    Impulse Control is important, maybe more now than ever before since the birth of social media.
    Dr. Amen is a pioneer in brain scanning and we have learned sooooo much because of his research; and may he continue to open doors that we didn’t think were possible a short time ago.

    Comment by Israel — May 18, 2018 @ 11:58 AM

  5. Hello Stacey, thank you for reaching out. Our clinic locations are listed here: For more information about our treatment options for ADD, please feel free to call our Care Coordinators at 888-288-9834 or submit this form online to receive a response: Thank you for reaching out.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — May 18, 2018 @ 1:06 PM

  6. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2008. I tried Many mess. The most effective is Concerta. I stopped using it because I developed facial dysconesia (?). My doctor said that this was an unusual side effect. Perhaps the combination of it and another med caused it.The bottom part of my face and mouth went around in a circle. Praise the Lord this side effect was not permanent as my doctor said it could have been. Currently, I am able to control some of the effects by my trying mind\thinking control. This is only possible with the help of Jesus! At times I am successful , sometimes not. My husband of 18 months does Not Even Try to understand and give me grace. I take Lamictial with Cymbalata for MDD. Any help is appreciate

    Comment by Christee Coleman — May 18, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

  7. Thank you for your articles, but infortently
    Your diagnostics and treatment so expensive
    I don’t know how to afforde. ?
    And you don’t exsept the Insuranse
    Thank you

    Comment by Alina — May 18, 2018 @ 5:41 PM

  8. It has occurred to me that perhaps some of the ADD behaviors could possibly stem from diets high in sugar and wheat potentially creating anxiety from a disordered microbiota and that a child in particular does not recognize anxiety or know how to deal with it and presents as ADD. Is this a possible scenario?

    Comment by Gayle Gambino — May 18, 2018 @ 6:14 PM

  9. Thanks for this article. I have a blended family, with two step daughters with ADHD and a biological son with ADHD Combined Type. I know in my heart that they didn’t get the disorders from bad parenting, but it is difficult to believe it some days. Every report I read that supports the fact that I’m not giving my kids these disorders due to my parenting keeps me trying to find the right routine, or the right approach, that just clicks with my kids. I hope society believes one day that executive functioning disorders have existed all along; that no child learns by being isolated in a corner of some classroom so as not to distract their classmates; that ADHD medications are not the answer for every situation; and that older teens and adults need just as much, if not more, help coping with their ADHD than our children. You don’t have to disprove these myths to me or probably any one else reading this article, it’s the people who aren’t reading these articles that really need to see them!

    Comment by Robin Harlow — May 19, 2018 @ 2:21 AM

  10. ADD/ADHD is indeed a diagnosable brain abnormality. The problem is because of a politically correct failed education system, broken family structure, decline of a cultural and moral foundation, we turn to medical charlatans, on-line earned phony- degree-laden fake professionals and day-care drop off centers to raise our children…

    Comment by Dr. Henry Sinopoli — May 19, 2018 @ 4:14 AM

  11. I am now 67 years old and winding down, just a bit, from a career as an Occupational Therapist. Through the years i’ve tried it all and been through most types of treatments in an attempt to address my ADD symptoms; easily distracted, procrastination with difficulty finishing projects. I continually struggle with low self esteem and difficulty recognizing my abilities and skills, many of which stem from the ADD, very artistic and creative problem solving, a good read of people, and are very PERSISTENT. WE DO NOT GIVE UP EASILY. After all the naysayers that I was not college material I completed work for my Masters in OT and have been practicing for years in spite of being kicked out of the program after the second semester for .1 below required GPA to stay in the program. I began an intense study of my and others symptoms and how to address them. In my study I discovered lack of broad spectrum teaching to address all types of learning not just linear. I petitioned to get readdmitted progam, completed course of study and finished. Though the struggles continue I now understand my learning style and how to use it to my greatest advantage.. I continuallly work on diet, exercise and meditation daily…..hard for an ADDer to keep on a schedule. I continue no matter how many slip ups. As times goes by I learn to consider my so called “disability” as a gift. I prefer to refer to it as “differently abled”. My heart. my compassion, my love of people, creativity, mounds of energy, and a the all important sense of humor are my daily skills set. I was terrified about writing and presenting a graduate Thesis. My topic (“College students with learning style differences” gave me ample background in the subject.. After a life of stresses and strains of I am now employed in a profession (OT Occupational Therapy)that is just right for my learning style. I have been through many of the experiences so assisting others with learning style differences is my skill. I love my work, continue to learn to appreciate and love myself and who I am in the world. My message of hope……never give up, don’t let others say you can’t do something. Keep you eyes on the prize whatever that prize my be. All us ADDers have a lot to give the world. Sincerely, William R. Kerry, MT/OTR/L

    Comment by William R. Kerry — May 19, 2018 @ 10:16 AM

  12. I am based in South Africa, where can I go for the SPECT scan for my family? I have read Dr Amen’s book where he writes in detail about this scans. I would like to have then taken and a diagnose made on my family including me, but in particular on my two sons aged 17 and 22 years. Please help.

    Comment by Ezekiel Segole — May 24, 2018 @ 5:40 AM

  13. My 2 1/2. Year old granddaughter
    Flipped out of costco shopping cart
    Onto head on cement floor

    She vomited , was observed in emergency hospital
    Now home

    Is there anything to watch for
    In the near future

    Comment by Joan Datt — June 9, 2018 @ 8:51 PM

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