Myth #1: Students with ADHD always get bad grades.

It’s true that many people with ADHD struggle in school. Because students may have a hard time managing their symptoms, it can be tough for them to perform well academically. However, blanket statements about ADHD and grades are almost always off the mark. In addition, they fuel underlying biases about individuals with ADHD not being as smart as neurotypical folks. The reality is that ADHD is not an indicator of intelligence. It just affects the executive functioning skills needed to do well in school.

Because there are different types of ADHD, some ADHDers struggle more in an academic environment than others. For example, people with ADHD who have inattention and hyperactivity issues might struggle in quiet classrooms and lecture halls. But that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of getting the work done or studying for a test. There are plenty of examples of ADHD students who get straight As, even if they have to put in extra time in order to keep up with their classes. This phenomenon has actually been noticed in girls and women with ADHD, who often develop masking skills to cover up their symptoms to the point where they aren’t diagnosed with ADHD until they’re well into adulthood.

Myth #2: ADHD medications are too risky to be worth it.

Because many of the most common medications for ADHD are stimulants, people are sometimes wary of including them in their treatment plans. There are myths regarding ADHD meds which claim that they may increase the likelihood of someone abusing drugs or alcohol later in life. However, these myths are unfounded. Research has shown that taking stimulant medication as directed to treat ADHD does not increase the risk of substance abuse involving alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or marijuana.

A misunderstanding related to this myth may stem from the fact that adolescents and young adults are two to three times more likely to develop serious alcohol or drug abuse issues compared to those who do not have the disorder. This increased risk is due to ADHD itself, not the treatment for it. So while it’s very important for those with ADHD to be aware of the possible risks of substance abuse, it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid medication. These meds have been widely studied with hundreds of controlled studies, and they’ve been found again and again to be the most effective way to treat ADHD.

Myth #3: Poor parenting causes ADHD.

This is one of the most unfortunate myths about ADHD that some people still believe despite evidence to the contrary. ADHD is not a result of bad parenting, lack of discipline, watching too much TV, eating too much sugar, or social factors like poverty.

The truth about raising a child with ADHD is that, while bad parenting doesn’t cause ADHD, good parenting can make it much more manageable. There are a number of parenting techniques that can ultimately help kids deal with ADHD symptoms more effectively.

Sharing Your Truth About ADHD

Dispelling myths about ADHD is a great place to start when it comes to reducing the stigma associated with the disorder. If you want to go one step further, think about how sharing your own story could contribute to greater awareness, especially when it comes to the realities of living with ADHD.

For some people, just reading about ADHD facts isn’t enough to really change their minds. But when they know someone with the disorder and hear what they have to say, it has the potential to make a big difference. There’s no requirement to share your experiences when you’re living with ADHD. If you’re up to it, however, being open and honest about how ADHD affects you can be a great way to help others understand you and your condition in a deeper way.

Consider discussing your ADHD with the people in your life. You could share on social media to reach a wider audience, or even just talk to a few loved ones who you trust. Either way, your honesty can help to break down persistent ADHD myths and create an open dialogue about the ADHD experience.