ADHD Epidemic? How and Why This Disorder Occurs
ADHD, the commonly used acronym for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is commonly thought of as being a childhood problem. However, it can also occur in adults to a different degree. Those who are unfamiliar with ADHD, often believe it is simply a discipline problem with children simply being hyper and misbehaving. Understanding how and why ADHD occurs can clear up these misconceptions.
Risk Factors and Causes
ADHD is equally common in children of all backgrounds, nationalities, and lifestyles, and seems to be caused mainly by genetics combined with several non-genetic factors. It tends to run in families, with parents who have ADHD having a 50 percent chance of having a child with ADHD. However, researchers have not determined a genetic test for ADHD as of yet.
Other causes are mainly non-genetic, and many of them stem from the mother’s pregnancy. Children born prematurely, or who were part of a high-risk pregnancy are more at risk of developing ADHD than other kids. Other risk factors include exposure to lead, such as in older pipes or paint, pesticides, and maternal smoking or drinking during pregnancy.
Children who have ADHD have a difference in neurotransmitter levels and nerve pathways in the brain when compared with children who do not have this problem, so ADHD may also be tied to dopamine levels.
Symptoms of ADHD often mimic normal childhood behaviors, but occur on a much greater scale. To have an ADHD diagnosis, a child must demonstrate at least six behaviors associated with the disorder, such as incessant talking, inability to focus, problems following directions, impatience, daydreaming, fidgeting, and making inappropriate comments.
While there is no treatment yet for curing ADHD, several treatments can help control the symptoms. The two most common are medications and therapy, such as talk therapy with someone who has a degree in behavior analysis. Some children may respond best to a combination of these treatments, while others only require a stimulant medication, which can help improve concentration and increase calmness in children.
While no one positively knows the root cause of this behavior, research has shown several compelling reasons why some children and adults end up having ADHD, and many others do not. Research has disproved the common misconceptions of too much sugar and television viewing being roots of the problem, and instead, it seems to stem more from genetics, running in families. With treatment, symptoms can lessen and those with the disorder can lead productive and fulfilling lives.