What Causes Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hypersensivity Disorder or ADHD is a neurological disorder that begins at childhood, usually to children below the age of seven. Impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity are the three characteristic symptoms and indication of ADHD. People with ADHD find it hard to focus in a single activity and usually gets bored a lot. In the US, 3-5% of American children are diagnosed with ADHD. But what causes Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?

There is no one single cause of the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Scientists and experts are not really sure what causes attention deficit hyperactive disorder but there are several studies pointing to genes as the primary culprit. Genetics play an important role in children having ADHD, just like in any other disorders. But, also like other disorders and illnesses, ADHD are be caused by several different factors aside from genetics, such as environmental factors, diet and nutrition, medical condition and social factors. All of these factors can greatly contribute to the development of ADHD among children.

Genetics is the reason why people are like what they are, the "blueprints" of their parents. Twin studies conducted regarding cases of ADHD show that the disorder runs in families. According to other studies, 30% of children with ADHD are reported to be having a parent with ADHD as well. The researchers are currently searching for the genes related to the ADHD development in order to finally create and develop more treatment methods to prevent the disorder before the symptoms even occur. According to the gene studies related to ADHD, children having this disorder present thinner tissues in the brain and these tissues are the ones associated with focus and attention. Also according to the study, the thin tissues thicken and develop into tissues with the normal thickness as the child grows up and the symptoms of ADHD also decrease as the child grows up.

Environmental factors are always present when it comes to what causes attention deficit hyperactive disorder, just like in any other disorders and diseases. There are studies suggesting that cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol while pregnant are potential causes of the development of ADHD among children. Furthermore, frequent exposure to high levels of lead may also contribute to the development of ADHD. High levels of lead can be found in wall paints from old buildings, plumbing fixtures and in some toys and products that children puts in their mouths.

Other health related conditions are also considered factors in the development of ADHD and the particular condition associated with ADHD is brain injury. Children who experienced brain injury will most likely show behaviors and actions not different with a child with ADHD. Premature babies, however, are reported to be more apt to develop disorders in the future, ADHD included. Infants born before 34 weeks of gestation are three times more likely to develop ADHD later in childhood. Aside from prematurity, babies born with low birth weight are also at risk to develop ADHD in the future.

While many believe ingesting sugar can cause ADHD, studies have shown this belief a myth. Experiments and studies have been conducted and they discount the theory of sugar causing neither ADHD nor hyperactive behaviors. Food additives, however, are known to worsen the condition of a child with ADHD, and that means consumption of food with lots of additives can make the child be more hyperactive or worse, display destructive behavior.

People should know that ADHD is a neurological disorder and by that, it means that bad parenting is not one of the causes of ADHD development. It is not the parents fault and definitely not the childs' fault fo their tendencies. The nature versus nuture question is simply answered in favor of nature. Current research seems to support that there is not one single cause of ADHD.

More Information

  1. ADD: Diagnosis, Treatment and Ethical Issues
  2. ADD/ADHD: Facts, Prevention and Treatment Strategies