What Causes ADD/ADHD?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There have been many theories over the years about what causes ADHD. There has been much research done and even though great progress has been made, the exact cause of ADHD remains unknown.

The following theories have been proven to be false. The cause of ADHD is NOT caused by:

• Bad parenting
• Food Additives – dietary restrictions helped only 5% of those with ADHD, mostly young children with food allergies
• Sugar – many studies have proven that sugar does not cause ADHD nor were there any significant effects on behavior or learning
• Poor home life or poor schools

Possible risks for causing ADHD:

• Use of alcohol, cigarettes or drug use during pregnancy can increase the risk for unborn baby – these substances may be dangerous to fetus’ developing brain and nerve cells.
• High levels of lead in the body of preschool children
• Brain or head injuries
• Infant malnutrition is a strong risk indicator
• Deficiencies in zinc and fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids – zinc aids in the breakdown of fatty acids which affects dopamine
• Too much TV by toddlers – most research shows that watching too much TV does NOT cause ADHD. However a recent study showed that children under 3 who watched a lot of TV were 10% more likely to have attention problems.

So what DOES cause ADHD?

• Genetics – ADHD tends to run in families
• Brain Chemistry – low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, the chemical messengers that affect both mental and emotional functioning
• Differences in brain structure (less activity and blood flow & certain brain structures are slightly smaller) – prefrontal cortex, caudate nucleus, basal ganglia, globus pallidus, & cerebellum

No single cause applies to everyone with ADHD. Everyone with ADHD is unique in the cause, symptoms, severity of disability and treatment that is helpful. Although there have been numerous studies trying to pinpoint exact causes and treatments for everyone, it has yet to be found. Treatment is a made by trial and error between the individual patient and doctor.

So the next time someone tries to tell you there is no such thing as ADHD, you can either ignore them knowing that you know better or you can direct them to do their homework before they make untrue statements.

By :Guest Author - Megan Dlugokinski


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