What Causes ADHD?
After much research, the answer is…
We’ve all heard that ADHD is caused by chemical imbalance. That’s really just a theory. ADHD may be related to a neurotransmitter called dopamine. After much research, it’s still impossible to determine if ADHD is caused by a malfunctioning or slow dopamine system.
How about genetics? Likely, but there’s no absolute certainty about a genetic link either because in some cases, no genetic link has been found.
Other research has indicated that smoking, the use of acetaminophen, or drinking during pregnancy, might be linked to ADHD in children.
The National Institute of Mental Health says:
“Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.”
Some studies have indicated that children with ADHD have reduced brain mass or delayed maturation of certain areas of the brain. Recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that delayed brain maturation may be related to the underdevelopment of brain connections related to attention in ADHD children.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter. There is no certain cause of ADHD. It is likely to be caused by a variety of factors.
What do we do as parents, educators, and other concerned people if we don’t know the cause? One of the greatest conundrums in life is thinking that knowing the cause affects the outcome. As far as ADHD is concerned, knowing the cause won’t likely affect your outcomes; knowing that you smoked, used acetaminophen, were exposed to lead, or used alcohol during pregnancy will not change the fact that your child has ADHD.
You’ve got a variety of weapons against it in your arsenal ranging from medicine, to cognitive training, parental training, dietary change, behavioral training for your child, to exercise, and more.
No matter the cause, we know the brain can change and be changed through proper training. There is hope.