6 Mistakes to Avoid With ADHD

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Chris Illiades, MD on September 4, 2020
  • young woman smiling at desk
    Overcoming Common Mistakes With ADHD
    Living with ADHD is a challenge. Parenting a child or teen with ADHD is also a challenge. It’s easy to make mistakes. ADHD symptoms like carelessness, daydreaming, and impulsive behavior increase the likelihood of misunderstandings and confusion. However, being aware of some of the more common mistakes can help you avoid them. 
  • woman and girl at computer
    Mistake 1: Assuming ADHD is always to blame
    If you or your child has a diagnosis of ADHD, make sure it's the result of a complete evaluation from a team of healthcare professionals. There's no single or simple test for ADHD. Many other mental health conditions look and behave like ADHD. Also, many conditions can occur along with ADHD. You or your child might need special treatment for these conditions. That would be in addition to ADHD treatment. These include learning disorders, depression, anxiety, and conduct disorders. 
  • older male shopping for medication
    Mistake 2: Stopping treatment on your own
    It's a myth that most people outgrow ADHD. So, don't stop treating it. Many people make the mistake of stopping their medication. This mistake is most common in teens. Medication works, and it does not become less effective over time. Other treatments also work, including educational therapy and behavioral therapy. Treatments also sometimes need to change over time. Work with your treatment team to find what works best for you. 
  • woman giving man antacid
    Mistake 3: Sharing your ADHD meds
    ADHD medications are safe and effective for someone with ADHD. They can be dangerous and addictive for people who don't have ADHD. Sometimes, people without ADHD want the medications to help them perform at a higher level. Or, maybe they just want to get high. Don’t share your medication with anyone. It’s not just dangerous — it’s illegal. As far as the law is concerned, giving or selling your medication is called diversion. It can get you into serious legal trouble. 
  • male holding cigarette and shot glass
    Mistake 4: Experimenting with drugs, alcohol or tobacco
    Having ADHD makes people more likely to become addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Don't start using these substances. Your chances of abusing them and having bad consequences are high. Substance abuse makes ADHD symptoms and ADHD problems worse. That can require special treatment. But, if you are struggling with substance abuse, let your doctor know. There are effective treatment strategies for conquering substance abuse.
  • eating burger while driving
    Mistake 5: Driving while distracted
    Young drivers with ADHD are at greater risk for problems than are other drivers. They're more likely than others to drive recklessly. Driving-related accidents and legal problems also are more common among young people. Do not make the mistake of driving with untreated ADHD symptoms. Do not drive while texting or eating. If you are a parent of a new driver, consider enrolling your teen with ADHD in a safe-driving program. 
  • Smiling elementary student in classroom
    Mistake 6: Expecting a cure
    You can live a full and normal life with ADHD, even though there is no cure. Many people with ADHD make the mistake of falling for an alternative treatment that promises a cure. Don’t buy into special diets, nutritional supplements, or unproven therapies. Education, behavioral therapy, and medication work. Learn as much as you can about ADHD. And, work with your healthcare providers to find the best treatment for you. 
6 Mistakes to Avoid With ADHD

About The Author

  1. Facts About ADHD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html
  2. Other Concerns & Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/conditions.html
  3. ADHD Information for Teens. Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/For-Parents-Caregivers/Teens/ADHD-Information-for-Teens.aspx
  4. Substance Abuse and ADHD. Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/For-Parents-Caregivers/Coexisting-Conditions-in-Children/Sub...
  5. Medication Abuse and Diversion. Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/For-Parents-Caregivers/Teens/Medication-Abuse-and-Diversion....
  6. Teens With ADHD and Driving. Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/For-Parents-Caregivers/Teens/Teens-with-ADHD-and-Driving.asp...

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 4
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.