6 Misconceptions About ADHD – And How You Can Scientifically Disprove Them

“You’re just too lazy to study. If you really want it, you can understand that. You just have to focus and just do it.”

Statements like that have always confused me. Especially when I was told them directly. And that was often the case. Such statements make me sigh in annoyance and roll my eyes – there are so many of them. This fills a bullshit bingo of prejudice about ADHD in no time.

Many of these prejudices have a kernel of truth but are so undifferentiated that it almost hurts to hear them. They stigmatize, hinder, prevent, build hurdles, burdens. They label and divide. None of us want to be pigeonholed with these prejudices and left there.

Like me, other ADHDers hear certain prejudices over and over again. I will present some of them to you in this article – and at the same time provide scientific arguments so that you can refute them.

Common Misconceptions About ADHD – And How You Can Disprove Them Scientifically

It is frustrating when you have arguments in a conversation but “only” have to justify them with your own experience. So that you no longer have to face this problem in the future, I will show you suitable and scientifically researched answers to the 6 most common ADHD prejudices.

In this article, I will show you suitable and scientifically researched answers to the 6 most common ADHD misconceptions.

6 Misconceptions About ADHD – And How You Can Scientifically Disprove Them

Myth #1: ADHD is a Fad!

ADHD has been diagnosed more and more in recent years since the 1990s to be precise. In 2007, however, a study was carried out that could not find any evidence of overdiagnosis. In fact, there seems to have been underdiagnosis for a very long time.

Teachers and employees in day-care centers and kindergartens are increasingly being trained in studies and training for all kinds of disorders. In my teacher training course, we had several courses that dealt with the emotional and social development of children in different stages of life, and ADD, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders were also part of them. So if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Say: young, fidgety, short attention span – ADHD. Girl, daydreaming, not paying attention, distracted – ADD.

So, one possible answer is: This diagnosis may be correct. But it can also be the case that the children and later also the adults are simply struggling with thoughts and problems, are tired, over-or under-challenged, or frustrated. Here, caregivers often hear the fleas coughing, and instead of a correct, detailed diagnosis, ADHD is written down and treated.

Myth #2: You just play too much on your phone!

In fact, a University of Virginia study of 200 students showed that increased smartphone uses or even smartphone addiction can cause ADHD symptoms. BUT: only symptoms. ADHD is not developed as a result; it can only be intensified.

What counts in this context for ADHD symptoms? According to the study, these include increased levels of inattention and lack of focus, along with hyperactivity, fidgeting, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.

Withdrawal and behavioral corrections help with ADHD symptoms caused by smartphone use. This is not the case with a diagnosed ADHD.

You need scientific arguments? ADHD is a brain disorder. How exactly it arises and what affects it is only partially clear. Genetics, complications in pregnancy and the birth process, environmental factors, psychosocial risk factors – all of these can trigger or exacerbate ADHD. In certain brain regions, there is an oversupply or undersupply of messenger substances such as dopamine and noradrenaline. This imbalance leads to an attention-regulation disorder – a brain with ADHD has only a limited ability to focus its attention and to regulate itself and its actions.

So, one possible answer is that ADHD is and will remain a neurological abnormality that cannot simply be “switched off.”

Myth #3: Only children have ADHD!

This statement is partially correct. Or limited wrong. Because ADHD is by far the most common in children and there is a difference between boys and girls, but many take ADHD with them into adulthood. Recognizing this is then made more difficult by so-called comorbid diseases – because adult ADHD is often accompanied by anxiety and depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, sleep, and relaxation problems increased addiction, and conflicts at work or in relationships.

Amid all these problems, ADHD is a difficult realization that can only be achieved with a lot of perseverance and good diagnostics. You don’t often hear about adults with ADHD either, because the comorbid disorders are often treated. According to a study by the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, the percentage of adult ADHD is between 1.2 and 7.3 percent worldwide. In a country with a higher income and industrial standard like Germany, the average is around 4.2 percent.

So, one possible answer is that ADHD is also present in adults but is rarely recognized. By the way, if someone should ask you about well-known people with ADHD: There would be, for example, national handball player Andreas Wolff, actors like Channing Tatum, Jackie Chan and Will Smith or actresses like the Olsen sisters.


You have now read six stereotypes about ADHD that many ADHDers hear over and over again. For some of them, I didn’t know any scientifically supported arguments myself and only answered out of feeling. Now, if you need to have a residency letter of recommendation written, then you can reasonably well argue your situation.

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One Comment

  1. We work a lot with ADHD in the professional organizing and productivity professions. Many, many adults have ADHD!! One positive truth we’ve come to realize is that people with ADHD are often better at dealing with the “unexpected.” They think better on their feet, so something to celebrate! As with all things, knowledge is power. There are so many resources today to provide structure and systems that really help.

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