7 myths about behavioural disorders

Most people have heard of behavioural disorders at some point, most commonly of ADHD. There is, however, lots of stuff that people don’t know about when it comes to understanding these disorders.

1. You'll grow out if it

"Growing out" of a behavioural disorder may be true for some people. As a person goes through treatment for their disorder, it's possible for them to gain control of their symptoms. But this isn't true for everyone. Some people may never lose all of their symptoms. Starting treatment from an early age, however, is often thought to have the best possible outcome.

2. Those who have behavioural disorders are just bad people

Reducing behavioural disorders to being "bad" isn't an accurate understanding of the issue. The truth is, behavioural disorders are not a choice. They are caused by different factors including genes, and environmental conditions. 

If a person with a behavioural disorder exhibits "bad", disruptive or disobedient behevaiour, this is often a symptom, of the disorder not the cause of their behaviours.

It's important to remember that behavioural disorders can often be managed with the correct therapy, medication and education. The disorder and the behaviours they cause are no comment on the worth or value of the person.

3. It's the parents' fault

It's not really fair to blame behavioural disorders on bad parenting, when we know that there are many other possible causes of the disorders. Learning difficulties, issues during pregnancy, a difficult home life (including things like living in poverty), or a family history of behavioural problems are all risk factors (meaning that these are all things that increase the risk of developing a behavioural disorder). 

Other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can also contribute to the development of a behavioural disorder. So to say that behavioural disorder comes from bad parenting isn't actually, fair. There could be many different reasons by a person may develop a disorder.

4. Behavioural disorders only affect guys

Not true! While most people with behavioural disorders are male, being female doesn't prevent a person from developing a behavioural disorder. The truth is, there are many girls born with different types of behavioural disorders, it's not just a 'guy thing.' 

5. People with behavioural disorders aren’t clever

Nope. Having a behavioural disorder won't necessarily make you less intelligent or smart. Actually, on the flip side, there have been a whole lot of incredibly successful and talented people with behavioural disorders. Justin Timberlake and Jim Carrey both have some kind of behavioural disorder. Even Einstein himself had a behavioural disorder!

6. Everyone who has a behavioural disorder is hyperactive

In the same way that someone who is hyperactive may not have a behavioural disorder, someone who has a behavioural disorder may not be hyperactive. There are lots of different symptoms of  behavioural disorders, and everyone experiences symptoms differently.

7. Someone with a behavioural disorder just acts that way to get what they want

No, they act that way because of their disorder.  Often this comes from damaged relationships and instability in their lives and it’s usually not what they want at all. People with behavioural disorders don’t choose to act that way, they act that way because of circumstances that are out of their control.

Last reviewed: 12 August, 2015
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