What Causes ADHD? Facts vs. Fiction

What Causes ADHD? Facts vs. Fiction

Feelings of restlessness and inability to focus at school or on the job may be more than boredom or a longing for that much-needed vacation… These are some of the traits that are associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, aka, ADHD.

If you or a loved one have ADHD, you are far from alone.

According to data from the CDC, 11% of children ages 4-17 (or about 6.4 million) had an ADHD diagnosis as of 2011. Notably, many carry this condition into adulthood. ADHD affects approximately 4.1% of the U.S. adult population (over 13 million people!); 41.3 % of those cases are considered “severe.” Do keep in mind that many cases do not receive a formal diagnosis. Therefore, it’s pretty clear that there is a substantial population of people out there with ADHD.

Despite the much research, there doesn’t seem to be any one population more at risk than the others, and what exactly causes ADHD is still somewhat a mystery. This is not only because there are a lot of myths around the subject, but also because the true answer is a complex one.

So what causes ADHD? Let’s discuss.

Getting to the Source (… and a Few Myths)

what causes ADHDTo clear the air, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is generally diagnosed in childhood but can progress into adulthood.

Part of the reason why we often focus on children is that the hyperactivity that we associate with ADHD is most prominent at that stage. Even if it improves as a child becomes a teenager (and it often does), other symptoms can affect you right through adulthood.

These include:

  • Inattention

  • Disorganization

  • Poor impulse control

What’s interesting about ADHD is that scientific evidence supports four potential causes in the genetic and environmental columns.

These include:

  • Heredity:

    Studies of twins with ADHD have provided some of the strongest evidence for a genetic component to ADHD. In one study, an 82% concordance rate for ADHD in identical twins was recorded compared to a 38 % concordance rate for ADHD in non-identical twins.

  • Brain injury:

    This particular cause is interesting because researchers are still determining how much is causation and how much correlated. Children with brain injuries or with epilepsy and no ADHD have shown ADHD-like symptoms.

  • Exposure:

    Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and drug use during pregnancy, as well as, exposure to environmental toxins such as lead, have all been associated with higher instances of ADHD in children.

  • Issues at birth:

    Circumstances such as low birth weight and premature birth both can lead to a higher risk of ADHD. Note that the exact reason why, has yet to be discovered.

You may notice that there are a few things not on this list that you may have expected. There’s a reason for that. The spike in ADHD cases means that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

As of right now, there is no evidence to suggest that any of the following causes ADHD:

  • Immunizations
  • Food additives
  • Too much sugar
  • Parenting techniques
  • Allergies
  • Too much television

Sometimes, however, there may be a shred of truth to these falsehoods. For example, excessive sugar can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, but it is not a root cause.

Working Through Your Symptoms

Traditional drugs and medications are often a major part of ADHD treatment. However more and more, families are looking to minimize their dependency on meds and avoid major side effects.

Used sometimes as a compliment and sometimes as a replacement, the options below reflect on of what causes of ADHD and how to manage it.

Getting a proper behavioral therapist is a vital asset for working with ADHD at any age.

boy with ADHDThese professionals can help you work through the ways the condition affects your life.They can also provide some helpful tips and behaviors to help you minimize them.

Diet can be a very valuable tool in managing ADHD symptoms.

We have covered this before in a previous post. As a rule of thumb, it’s not about cutting out vast swaths of food. It’s more about cycling in healthier options.  Avoid foods overly-processed or sugary.

Exercise has been proven to be helpful.

Even a small amount of exercise being proven to help alleviate symptoms. This isn’t so strange when we discover that there is more and more of a link between regular exercise and brain health on the whole.

Along with traditional medication and lifestyle changes, dietary supplements are a rising option for relieving ADHD symptoms.

The majority of supplements we see in this area focus on brain health and providing nutrients to support its functions. A good example of this is Tranquility Labs’ own: Focusene.

Focusene uses herbal sources like dandelion, grape seed, and ginkgo biloba to provide a full set of precursors (building blocks) for the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine. Those neurotransmitters play a vital role in short-term memory, focus, and brain signal processing. In addition, Focusene is all natural, non-GMO, and proven effective!

What Causes ADHD: Breaking the Myths

Here’s what to keep in mind while talking or thinking about causes of ADHD:

  • Researchers have yet to determine a formal, exact origin for ADHD. However, there are several known factors that can play a role in its development. These can be both biological and environmental.
  • Lower levels of activity in certain parts of the brain, head injuries, prenatal exposure to alcohol or smoking, or even toxins in the environment can cause ADHD. It can also frequently run in families.
  • There are several factors, like parenting techniques or allergies, that people say can cause ADHD – but they have no scientific basis.
  • As is fitting for a condition with so many possible causes, there is no one-size-fits-all ADHD treatment. What is becoming more and more common is a multifaceted approach. This combines medication and/or supplements with behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes.

Do you want to share your stories about working through ADHD? Do you have your own opinions about what are some of the potential causes?

Join the conversation by entering your comments in the field below!