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What Causes ADHD?

ADHD Causes? Enviroment, genes, chemical, ??? Find out what causes child ADHD in this article.

Parents often beat themselves up inside when their child is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. According to the Mayo Clinic, scientists are now finding that parenting is not necessarily to blame. Scientists believe that there are structural changes in the brain that can often cause ADHD. While parenting isn't primarily to blame, certain environmental factors can make a child's condition worse.

Some of the factors that scientists are looking at as to the cause of ADHD are:

  • Mother's use of drugs, alcohol, smoking and intake of other toxins while pregnant. Use of any of these or exposure to certain toxins results in an increased number of children with ADHD.
  • ADHD does tend to be hereditary in a lot of cases. According to the Mayo Clinic about one in four children with ADHD has a family member that also has the disorder.
  • Altered brain function: Scientists have discovered distinct differences in the brain functions of those with ADHD and those without ADHD. One of these differences is in the brains neurotransmitters. A person's brain with ADHD does not use these neurotransmitters properly. The Mayo Clinic also states that children with ADHD have 4% smaller brains than children without ADHD.
  • Childhood exposure to certain environmental toxins can play a role in a child developing ADHD.

There will always be a case for those parents that have done all they can to avoid the risk factors and they may still have a child that is diagnosed with ADHD. It is important for parents to understand that this is not their fault and that scientists are trying to identify what causes ADHD to develop in children.

The National Institute of Mental Health wrote an article in March 2008 that states that "There is little compelling evidence at this time that ADHD can arise purely from social factors or child-rearing methods. Most substantiated causes appear to fall in the realm of neurobiology and genetics. This is not to say that environmental factors may not influence the severity of the disorder, and especially the degree of impairment and suffering the child may experience, but that such factors do not seem to give rise to the condition by themselves."

This same article points out that the newest research available suggests that environmental agents, brain injury, and genetics are believed to play large roles in the cause of ADHD.

Above we discussed briefly the environmental agents such as smoking and alcohol. The NIMH states that another cause can be high levels of lead in in the bodies of preschool age children. While in modern times the use of lead in children's toys has dissipated, children that live in older buildings and homes can be exposed.

As for brain injury: while a few cases of ADHD are reported in children with brain injuries, the numbers are quite small.

While sugar has been blamed for hyperactive activity a study in 1982 by the NIMH found that there is really no substantial evidence to prove that sugar has anything to do with behavior or learning.

Sources: Mayo Clinic and the NIMH.

Related Article: Child ADHD Warning Signs >>

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