Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: The Myths, The Mysteries, & The Magic

People often ask me for a simple definition of ADHD to which I say, “Unfortunately, it’s really not that simple!”  When pressed, I usually give this extremely basic “elevator-pitchish” definition: “Because of differences in the way our brains work, those of us with ADHD often struggle to focus on the right thing at the right time.  Some of us have trouble being able to stop and think before we take action, and others of us have trouble sitting still for very long. A number of us also have trouble remembering things, organizing things, managing our time, managing our tasks, and not procrastinating.  Despite (and I believe because of) these challenges, most of us have a number of strengths including creativity, curiosity, and determination.”

I’m quick to add, “It’s truly not that simple!” and then I refer them to this page of my website.

ADHD is one of the most researched and most misunderstood medical conditions.  Much of the confusion occurs because the terms “attention deficit” and “hyperactivity” describe only the surface features of this challenge: these are just one piece of the ADHD puzzle: the symptoms are much broader and deeper than this.

In this series of articles, I discuss how ADHD is often misunderstood and how symptoms are often different in boys and girls and men and women.  I address how this confusion is further exacerbated by language, learning, and executive functioning weaknesses commonly seen in children, teens, and adults with ADHD.  I close out this series by describing some of the strengths associated with ADHD.

To read an article, click on the blue header below.

The Top 10 Myths about ADHD

Despite 10,000 scientific journal articles, the myths about ADHD include it is caused by sugar, TV, poor parenting, lazy parents, our crazy-busy society, and big medication companies. Although published medical records describe symptoms as far back as 1775, some have even suggested it doesn’t exist. What myths do you believe?

ADHD in Children and Teens

Previously considered a “behavior disorder” we now know that ADHD is a brain-based developmental disorder that can be successfully treated using a multifaceted approach.

Adults with ADHD

Although they often no longer display symptoms of hyperactivity, many adults continue to struggle with impulsivity, distractibility, and related executive functioning difficulties.  The good news?  Symptoms can improve with treatment.

Girls and Women with ADHD

Girls and women with ADHD often have different symptoms than boys and men.  In this article, these differences are discussed and embraced.

ADHD and Executive Functioning

Executive functions – organization, time management, planning/prioritizing, task initiation, self-monitoring, cognitive flexibility, emotional control, and working memory – are the skills that help us start productive behaviors and stop unproductive behaviors in order to achieve our goals while staying connected to others.  These functional aspects often seen in individuals with attention disorders help explain why ADHD is so misunderstood.

ADHD and Language

Although it’s not considered a language disorder, ADHD can often hamper a child, teen, or adult’s pragmatic (social) language.  In this article, Dr. D outlines current research and recommendations.

ADHD and Learning

Although ADHD is not a specific learning disorder, it often hampers learning in very specific areas: math problem-solving, reading comprehension, and written expression.  If your child or teen struggles in these areas, you are urged to consider the research and recommendations outlined in this article.

ADHD Treatment Decisions

There are so many treatment choices out there, it’s often hard for adults and families to know what to do.  This article outlines what the research says works best while recognizing that treatment must be tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual child, teen, adult, and family.

The Magic of ADHD

Sometimes, we have to get creative and recognize the strengths behind our child’s apparent weaknesses.  For example, the “flip-side” of your teen’s distractibility is creativity, the strength associated with your child’s impulsivity is curiosity, and your tween’s stubbornness can easily be reframed as determination.

Do you Suspect You or a Loved One has ADHD?

Contact us at 817.421.8780 to schedule an assessment.  Dr. Davenport can help you identify or rule-out other possible problems and then suggest tailor-made recommendations to meet your unique needs.


(c) 2009-2014, Monte W. Davenport, Ph.D.