ADHD Is A Real Medical Condition

Published: 24th February 2008
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ADHD is, in fact, a medical condition. It is really important to remember this, because even very educated people who know a lot about ADD, often still, underneath it all, think that maybe it is not a true medical condition. They believe the person should just try harder. They think deep down that that the person watches too much TV, or listens to too much music, or plays too many video games, or the teachers don't know what they're doing. There are many misconceptions embedded in the mentality of our culture.

ADHD is not a social problem.

ADHD is a medical condition and it is in the brain.

ADHD is caused by chemical imbalance. Research is showing that there is a lower amount of the brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline. When medication is taken, it balances these brain chemicals and thus ADHD improves.

ADHD is also genetic. It is as genetic as how tall or short you are. If you are a tall parent, the chance of having a tall child is about 80% to 85%. And the numbers are the same for ADHD. So, if you have a child with ADHD, the chance that one of the parents has ADHD is about 25% to 30%. A sibling has about a 20% to 25% chance of having ADHD. ADD and ADHD run in families.

The ideal treatment for ADD/ADHD is a combination of medication, and non-medication therapies. This is similar to the treatment of other medical conditions such as diabetes. To be healthy as a diabetic, you have to watch what you eat, track your blood sugars, exercise, monitor your carbohydrates, etc. In other words, there has to be a combination of lifestyle approaches and biological approaches. (When I say "biological" I mean medicine, because it works on the biology of the body).

The same holds with ADD/ADHD. It is a medical condition, which requires medicine to help to fix the 'chemical imbalance', but it also requires other treatments - such as parenting support, academic strategies, behavioral therapy, and even coaching. You need to find the right balance, and get the help you need from different professionals. Just always remember, modern science is proving it beyond a doubt - ADD/ADHD is a real medication condition, and it is not caused by any of the 'social causes' (i.e. TV, video games, music, bad teachers, bad parents, etc.) It is my hope that we can get past these misconceptions to help to de-stigmatize ADD/ADHD so that it will be easier to get the right help for people when it's needed.


Dr. Kenny Handelman is a Board Certified Psychiatrist in Canada and the USA. He is an expert in ADD & ADHD and helps kids, teens and adults to improve their lives, and build up their strengths. For a free special report on medication for ADD/ADHD, please visit: Medication for ADD and ADHD.

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