11. What ADHD isn't
It is important to dispel some common misconceptions about ADHD. Contary to opinions expressed in the press and general public, ADHD is a real disorder. Research evidence has shown that ADHD ISN’T caused by:
- Bad parenting: The cause of ADHD is hypothesised to be genetic differences in an individual’s neural activity, these can cause differences in the areas of the brain associated with concentration, impulse control and motor movement. It should not be assumed that the child's behaviour is a result of parenting difficulties.
- Poor diet: Sugar and food additives do not cause ADHD. Dietary influence on ADHD symptoms only exists for a minority of children with specific food sensitivities.
- Social background: Children with ADHD exist in all socio economic groups and not just in low-income families. Some environments may aggravate the symptoms, but they do not cause them.
ADHD is a label for individuals with a very specific set of symptoms and problems and is not a term used to describe general behavioural problems (for instance anger or violence). ADHD is a complex disorder and individuals present in lots of different ways.
Symptoms and behaviour are often influenced by contextual and situational factors. Decisions about ADHD should not be based on the individual’s behaviour in any one clinical meeting.
People sometimes suspect that an ADHD diagnosis is sought to gain additional welfare benefits. However, the truth is that very few benefits are available and those that are, may be extremely difficult to obtain under current social welfare regulations.
Now try testing your awareness on ADHD again.