Causes of ADHD

The causes of ADHD are especially a concern for parents of children affected with the disorder. Hoping to find a cure, they understandably want to know the answers as to why their child has developed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are many factors that relate to the cause which means that each ADHD case is different. Determining the causes and subsequently completely curing the condition is not an exact science.

Like other brain disorders, it's not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of ADHD. Experts and medical researchers, however, have found strong links to a few possible reasons why a child develops ADHD.

Genetics and ADHD

Genetics and DNA

In many cases of ADHD, studies have shown that a child affected by the disorder is most likely to have a relative exhibiting the same conditions. If a parent or an older sibling has been diagnosed with attention deficit or hyperactivity, other children in the family are five times more likely to also have ADHD.

Studies also say that while it can be heredity, it may not always be permanent. Those with ADHD are said to carry genes with thinner tissues or lower levels of dopamine. As time passes and as children develop and grow, the affected gene can also develop. In some persons, when this happens, ADHD symptoms may diminish and in some even subside. It has been estimated that in children who experience ADHD, greater than 50% will show signs even into adult-hood.

Brain Injury and ADHD

For a small number of children, the causes of ADHD may develop as a result of brain injury or trauma affecting the frontal lobe. This is a part of the brain that controls the way a person makes decisions, sometimes called executive functioning. The brain operates by sending messages along nerves using neuro-transmitters (chemicals) that carry signals from one nerve ending to the next. Those with ADHD have been discovered with damaged frontal lobes, as a result of a physical injury or due to high toxin levels in the body. These injuries can damage the transmissions, and may result in chemical imbalances that inhibit their brain's normal function.

The damage or injury to the frontal lobe may have happened as early as the pregnancy stage, such as when the mother smoked, took alcohol or abused drugs while carrying their unborn child.

Nutrition and ADHD

Medical experts believe that a child's diet may also contribute to the acceleration of ADHD. Changing the diet, by eliminating additives or refined sugar, may help tone down disruptive and restless behavior typical of a child with ADHD. Taking fish oil supplements, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is also suggested as this helps alleviate the symptoms and boost the child's performance in school.

Environment and ADHD

  • Lead - Those living in old buildings or staying in schools where plumbing and paint jobs have not been replaced since the 70's are at a risk for lead exposure and other toxins. Some experts suggest that this could lead to the development of ADHD in some children.

  • Pesticide - Just like lead, exposure to pesticide poses a huge risk for children. A study conducted in 2010 have found pesticide residue in urine samples from children between the ages of 8 to 15 affected with ADHD.

  • Media - Exposure to television and computers at a very young age may also curb learning and development of small children, resulting in ADHD later in life.

All these factors suggest that neither poor parenting, nor lack of motivation or discipline is part of the causes of ADHD, as some people may believe. To get a full diagnosis a complete history and physical, plus ADHD screening must be undertaken so that proper treatment and management may be administered.


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