Attention Disorder Facts
If your child is diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, you may be tempted to blame yourself. Don’t. While no one knows the precise cause of ADHD, experts believe it is far more likely to be the result of inherited biological traits than parenting choices.
While a lot about ADHD is still shrouded in mystery, including its causes and risk factors, several factors may well play a role:
Brain structure and function: Brain studies indicate that people with ADHD may have brains that are differ in structure and activity from those who do not. Specific differences have been detected in the areas of the brain that control attention and activity levels.
Genetics: ADHD appears to be hereditary – it runs in families. Studies examining genes that may be associated with ADHD are currently underway.
Exposure to smoking, drug use and toxins in utero: Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy may be at greater risk of having ADHD, as are children whose mothers were exposed to environmental toxins while pregnant. Furthermore, a mother’s alcohol or drug use during pregnancy may adversely affect the activity of neurotransmitter-producing nerve cells, possibly increasing the chance of a child with ADHD.
Exposure to toxins in early childhood: If a child has been exposed to environmental toxins such as the lead found in paint and pipes in older buildings, they may be at increased risk for developmental and behavioral problems such as inattentiveness, disruptiveness and even a tendency to act out violently.
Additives in foods: Artificial coloring, food preservatives and other chemical food additives are thought to be a possible factor contributing to ADHD. However, sugar, which is often believed to promote hyperactive behavior in children, has not been definitely proven to do so.