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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Currently across the globe, children of all ages are prone to disorders of all sorts. As such, ADHD is a popular disorder of the behavior, and medical experts deduct that between 8% and 10% of school going children are victims of the mentioned disorder. Notably, boys stand a high chance of contracting the disorder while compared to girls, although reasons are not yet known. Children suffering from ADHD exhibit a confusing tendency and are hyperactive. Although they are likely to comprehend the way they should behave, they have a problem making a follow up, because their attention is inconsistent.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay Although such tendencies are common among kids, ADHD signs seem to stay longer, and they appear in diverse settings. Also\, known as, hyper kinetic disorder, ADHD shows other difficulties among victims apart from the aforementioned, which include temper tantrums, clumsiness, and sleep disorders among others may be signs of ADHD (Wender, 2010). In its context, a wide range of factors such as environmental and biological factors causes ADHD. Environmental factors include stress within the family, and academic difficulties among others. The biological factors are evident through the child’s temper, considering it determines the personality, and attitude. Genetically, individuals can inherit the disorder from relatives, particularly males. On the other hand, identical twins show a genetic link, in the sense that, if one has, so is the other. Moreover, another biological factor that may cause ADHD is a failure of enough oxygen to reach brain parts during the childbirth (Wender, 2010). In order to diagnose that a certain child has ADHD, different professionals such as health visitors, teachers, speech therapists, and psychologists should bring their observations on the table. In other words, no single test can be conducted to show whether a child has ADHD or not. In most cases, medical experts rely on past psychiatric cases, medical history, and symptoms history among other details.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

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What is ADHD or ADD?

It’s normal for children to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, act without thinking, or get fidgety at the dinner table. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes known as attention deficit disorder or ADD.

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that typically appears in early childhood, usually before the age of seven. ADHD makes it difficult for children to inhibit their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness. We all know kids who can’t sit still, who never seem to listen, who don’t follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, or who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Sometimes these children are labeled as troublemakers, or criticized for being lazy and undisciplined. However, they may have ADHD.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Is it normal kid behavior or is it ADHD?

It can be difficult to distinguish between ADHD and normal “kid behavior.” If you spot just a few signs, or the symptoms appear only in some situations, it’s probably not ADHD. On the other hand, if your child shows a number of ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all situations—at home, at school, and at play—it’s time to take a closer look.

Life with a child with ADHD can be frustrating and overwhelming, but as a parent there is a lot you can do to help control symptoms, overcome daily challenges, and bring greater calm to your family.

Myths & Facts about Attention Deficit Disorder
Myth: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.Fact: Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.
Myth: Kids with ADHD can never pay attention.Fact: Children with ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.
Myth: Kids with ADHD could behave better if they wanted to.Fact: Children with ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.
Myth: Kids will eventually grow out of ADHD.Fact: ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.
Myth: Medication is the best treatment option for ADHD.Fact: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child. Effective treatment for ADHD also includes education, behavior therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay
What does ADHD look like?

When many people think of attention deficit disorder, they picture an out-of-control kid in constant motion, bouncing off the walls and disrupting everyone around. But the reality is much more complex. Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, while others sit quietly—with their attention miles away. Some put too much focus on a task and have trouble shifting it to something else. Others are only mildly inattentive, but overly impulsive.

Which one of these children may have ADHD?
The hyperactive boy who talks nonstop and can’t sit still.
The quiet dreamer who sits at her desk and stares off into space.
Both.

The correct answer is “C.”

The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depend on which characteristics predominate.

Children with ADHD may be:
Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive.
Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention.
Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADHD).

Children who only have inattentive symptoms of ADHD are often overlooked, since they’re not disruptive. However, the symptoms of inattention have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; underperforming in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules.

Spotting ADHD at different ages

Because we expect very young children to be easily distractible and hyperactive, it’s the impulsive behaviors—the dangerous climb, the blurted insult—that often stand out in preschoolers with ADHD. By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Inattentiveness signs and symptoms of ADHD

It isn’t that children with ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out.Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children. Kids with ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused.

Symptoms of inattention in children:
Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted or gets bored with a task before it’s completed
Appears not to listen when spoken to
Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions; doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes
Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
Hyperactivity signs and symptoms of ADHD

The most obvious sign of ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving. They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still, which can be very difficult for them, their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Symptoms of hyperactivity in children:
Constantly fidgets and squirms
Has difficulty sitting still, playing quietly, or relaxing
Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
Talks excessively
May have a quick temper or “short fuse”
Impulsive signs and symptoms of ADHD

The impulsivity of children with ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they’ll interrupt conversations, invade other people’s space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions. Instructions like, “Be patient” and “Just wait a little while” are twice as hard for children with ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters.

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Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.

Symptoms of impulsivity in children:
Acts without thinking
Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem or blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
Often interrupts others; says the wrong thing at the wrong time
Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
Positive effects of ADHD in children
ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. What’s more, kids with attention deficit disorder often demonstrate the following positive traits:Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder EssayCreativity – Children who have ADHD can be marvelously creative and imaginative. The child who daydreams and has ten different thoughts at once can become a master problem-solver, a fountain of ideas, or an inventive artist. Children with ADHD may be easily distracted, but sometimes they notice what others don’t see.

Flexibility – Because children with ADHD consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative early on and are more open to different ideas.

Enthusiasm and spontaneity – Children with ADHD are rarely boring! They’re interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. In short, if they’re not exasperating you (and sometimes even when they are), they’re a lot of fun to be with.

Energy and drive – When kids with ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard and strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them from a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on.

Is it really ADHD?

Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity does not mean that he or she has ADHD. Certain medical conditions, psychological disorders, and stressful life events can cause symptoms that look like ADHD. Before an accurate diagnosis of ADHD can be made, it is important that you see a mental health professional to explore and rule out the following possibilities:

Learning disabilities or problems with reading, writing, motor skills, or language.

Major life events or traumatic experiences (e.g. a recent move, death of a loved one, bullying, divorce).

Psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Behavioral disorders such as conduct disorder, reactive attachment disorder, and op positional defiant disorder.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Medical conditions, including thyroid problems, neurological conditions, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.

Helping a child with ADHD

Whether or not your child’s symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are due to ADHD, they can cause many problems if left untreated. Children who can’t focus and control themselves may struggle in school, get into frequent trouble, and find it hard to get along with others or make friends. These frustrations and difficulties can lead to low self-esteem as well as friction and stress for the whole family.

But treatment can make a dramatic difference in your child’s symptoms. With the right support, your child can get on track for success in all areas of life. If your child struggles with symptoms that look like ADHD, don’t wait to seek professional help. You can treat your child’s symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity without having a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. Options to start with include getting your child into therapy, implementing a better diet and exercise plan, and modifying the home environment to minimize distractions.

If you do receive a diagnosis of ADHD, you can then work with your child’s doctor, therapist, and school to make a personalized treatment plan that meets his or her specific needs. Effective treatment for childhood ADHD involves behavioral therapy, parent education and training, social support, and assistance at school. Medication may also be used; however, it should never be the sole attention deficit disorder treatment.

Parenting tips for children with ADHD

If your child is hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive, it may take a lot of energy to get him or her to listen, finish a task, or sit still. The constant monitoring can be frustrating and exhausting. Sometimes you may feel like your child is running the show. But there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, while simultaneously helping your child make the most of his or her abilities.While attention deficit disorder is not caused by bad parenting, there are effective parenting strategies that can go a long way to correct problem behaviors. Children with ADHD need structure, consistency, clear communication, and rewards and consequences for their behavior. They also need lots of love, support, and encouragement.

There are many things parents can do to reduce the signs and symptoms of ADHD without sacrificing the natural energy, playfulness, and sense of wonder unique in every child.

Take care of yourself so you’re better able to care for your child. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, find ways to reduce stress, and seek face-to-face support from family and friends as well as your child’s doctor and teachers.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Establish structure and stick to it. Help your child stay focused and organized by following daily routines, simplifying your child’s schedule, and keeping your child busy with healthy activities.

Set clear expectations. Make the rules of behavior simple and explain what will happen when they are obeyed or broken—and follow through each time with a reward or a consequence.

Encourage exercise and sleep. Physical activity improves concentration and promotes brain growth. Importantly for children with ADHD, it also leads to better sleep, which in turn can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Help your child eat right. To manage symptoms of ADHD, schedule regular healthy meals or snacks every three hours and cut back on junk and sugary food.

Teach your child how to make friends. Help him or her become a better listener, learn to read people’s faces and body language, and interact more smoothly with others.

School tips for children with ADHD

ADHD, obviously, gets in the way of learning. You can’t absorb information or get your work done if you’re running around the classroom or zoning out on what you’re supposed to be reading or listening to. Think of what the school setting requires children to do: Sit still. Listen quietly. Pay attention. Follow instructions. Concentrate. These are the very things kids with ADHD have a hard time doing—not because they aren’t willing, but because their brains won’t let them.

But that doesn’t mean kids with ADHD can’t succeed at school. There are many things both parents and teachers can do to help children with ADHD thrive in the classroom. It starts with evaluating each child’s individual weaknesses and strengths, then coming up with creative strategies for helping the child focus, stay on task, and learn to his or her full capability.

Treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) isn’t just about taking medication. There are many other effective treatments that can help kids with ADHD improve their ability to pay attention, control impulsive behavior, and curb hyperactivity.

Nutritious meals, play and exercise, learning new coping skills, and improving social skills are all part of a balanced treatment plan that can improve your child’s performance at school, bolster their relationships with others, and decrease stress and frustration—for them and for your whole family.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

ADHD medication

Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are often prescribed for ADHD, but they might not be the best option for your child—and they’re certainly not the only treatment.

Medications for ADHD may help your child concentrate better or sit still, at least in the short term. But to date, there is little evidence that they improve school achievement, relationships, or behavioral issues over the long term. And even in the short term, medication won’t solve all problems or completely eliminate the symptoms of ADHD.

Furthermore, there are concerns about the effects these powerful drugs may have on a child’s developing brain. And the side effects—such as irritability, loss of appetite, and insomnia—can also be problematic.

The bottom line: medication is a tool, not a cure.

Everyone responds differently to ADHD medication. Some children experience dramatic improvement while others experience little to no relief. The side effects also differ from child to child and, for some, they far outweigh the benefits. Because everyone responds differently, finding the right medication and dose takes time.

Medication for ADHD is more effective when combined with other treatments. Your child will get much more out of your medication if they are also taking advantage of other treatments that teach new coping skills.

ADHD medication should always be closely monitored. Medication treatment for ADHD involves more than just taking a pill and forgetting about it. Your child’s doctor will need to monitor side effects, keep tabs on how your child is feeling, and adjust the dosage accordingly. When medication for ADHD is not carefully monitored, it is less effective and more risky.

If you choose to put your child on medication, that doesn’t mean they have to stay on it forever. Although it isn’t safe to bounce off and on any drug repeatedly, you can safely decide to stop treating your child’s ADHD with medication if things aren’t going well. If you want your child to stop taking medication, be sure to let your doctor know your plans and work with them to taper off the drugs slowly.

ADHD treatment starts at home

As a parent, you have a huge influence over your child’s treatment. Evidence shows that eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making other smart daily choices can help your child manage the symptoms of ADHD. That means your child can begin treatment for ADHD today—at home.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

The power of exercise in the treatment of ADHD
The benefits of “green time”

Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children. Encourage your child to play outside for at least 30 minutes each day, if possible.

Exercising is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. In this way, exercise and medications for ADHD such as Ritalin and Adderall work similarly. But unlike ADHD medication, exercise doesn’t require a prescription and it’s free of side effects.

Activities that require close attention to body movements, such as dance, gymnastics, martial arts, and skateboarding, are particularly good for kids with ADHD. Team sports are also a good choice. The social element keeps them interesting.

The importance of sleep in ADHD treatment

Regular quality sleep can lead to vast improvement in the symptoms of ADHD. However, many kids with ADHD have problems getting to sleep at night. Sometimes, these sleep difficulties are due to stimulant medications, and decreasing the dose or stopping the medication entirely will solve the problem.

However, a large percentage of children with ADHD who are not taking stimulants also have sleep difficulties. If your child is one of them, the following tips can help.

Set a regular bedtime (and enforce it).
If background noise keeps your child up, try a sound machine or a fan.
Turn off all electronics (TV, computer, video games, iPhone) at least an hour before bed.
Limit physical activity in the evening.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay
Good nutrition can help reduce ADHD symptoms

Studies show that what, and when, you eat makes a difference when it comes to managing ADHD.

Schedule regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart. This will help keep your child’s blood sugar steady, minimizing irritability and supporting concentration and focus.

Try to include a little protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal or snack. These foods will help your child feel more alert while decreasing hyperactivity.

Check your child’s zinc, iron, and magnesium levels. Many children with ADHD are low in these important minerals. Boosting their levels may help control ADHD symptoms. Increasing iron may be particularly helpful. One study found that an iron supplement improved symptoms almost as much as taking stimulant medication.

Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your child’s diet. Studies show that omega-3s reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and enhance concentration in kids (and adults) with ADHD. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and some fortified eggs and milk products. However, the easiest way to boost your child’s intake is through fish oil supplements.

Professional treatment for ADHD

Although there are many ways you can help a child with ADHD at home, you may want to seek professional help along the way. ADHD specialists can help you develop an effective treatment plan for your child. Since ADHD responds best to a combination of treatments and strategies, consulting several specialists is advisable.

To find ADHD treatment providers, you may want to contact your primary care physician, your child’s pediatrician, local hospitals, or clinics. Other sources for provider references include your insurance company, officials at your child’s school, or a local parent support group.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Child and adolescent psychiatrists:

Diagnose ADHD and prescribe medications

Psychologists:

Diagnose ADHD and provide talk therapy
Help people with ADHD explore their feelings

Cognitive-behavioral therapists:

Set up behavioral modification programs at school, work, and home
Establish concrete goals for behavior and achievement
Help families and teachers maintain rewards and consequences

Educational specialists:

Teach techniques for succeeding in school
Help children obtain accomodations from school
Advise families about assistive technology
Behavioral therapy for ADHD

Behavioral therapy, also known as behavior modification, has been shown to be a very successful treatment for children with ADHD. It is especially beneficial as a co-treatment for children who take stimulant medications and may even allow you to reduce the dosage of the medication.

Behavior therapy involves reinforcing desired behaviors through rewards and praise and decreasing problem behaviors by setting limits and consequences. For example, one intervention might be that a teacher rewards a child who has ADHD for taking small steps toward raising a hand before talking in class, even if the child still blurts out a comment. The theory is that rewarding the struggle toward change encourages the full new behavior.

Behavior Therapy for ADHD in Children

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three basic principles to any behavior therapy approach:

Set specific goals. Set clear goals for your child such as staying focused on homework for a certain time or sharing toys with friends.
Provide rewards and consequences. Give your child a specified reward (positive reinforcement) when he or she shows the desired behavior. Give your child a consequence (unwanted result or punishment) when he or she fails to meet a goal.
Keep using the rewards and consequences. Using the rewards and consequences consistently for a long time will shape your child’s behavior in a positive way.

As parents, you can set up a customized behavioral modification program for your child who has ADHD with the help of a behavioral specialist such as a cognitive-behavioral therapist. A cognitive-behavioral therapist focuses on practical solutions to everyday issues. This kind of therapist can set up a behavioral modification program of rewards and consequences for your child at home and at school and support you in shaping your child’s behavior.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Patience is key with behavioral therapy, since people with ADHD are notoriously variable in their symptoms. One day, your child may behave beautifully, and the next, fall back into old patterns. Sometimes it may seem as if the training is not working. However, over time, behavioral treatment does improve the symptoms of ADHD.

Social skills training

Because kids with attention deficit disorder often have difficulty with simple social interactions and struggle with low self-esteem, another type of treatment that can help is social skills training. Normally conducted in a group setting, social skills training is led by a therapist who demonstrates appropriate behaviors and then has the children practice repeating them. A social skills group teaches children how to “read” others’ reactions and how to behave more acceptably. The social skills group should also work on transferring these new skills to the real world.

For a social skills group near you, ask for a referral from your school psychologist or a local mental health clinic.

Tips for supporting your child’s ADHD treatment

Children with ADHD often have trouble translating what they’ve learned from one setting to another. For instance, they may have learned how to control impulsive outbursts at school, but impatiently interrupt others at home.

In order to encourage positive change in all settings, children with ADHD need consistency. It is important that parents of children with ADHD learn how to apply behavioral therapy techniques at home. Children with ADHD are more likely to succeed in completing tasks when the tasks occur in predictable patterns and in predictable places, so that they know what to expect and what they are supposed to do.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Follow a routine. It is important to set a time and a place for everything to help a child with ADHD understand and meet expectations. Establish simple and predictable rituals for meals, homework, play, and bed.

Use clocks and timers. Consider placing clocks throughout the house, with a big one in your child’s bedroom. Allow plenty of time for what your child needs to do, such as homework or getting ready in the morning.

Simplify your child’s schedule. Avoiding idle time is a good idea, but a child with ADHD may become even more distracted and “wound up” if there are too many after-school activities.

Create a quiet place. Make sure your child has a quiet, private space of his or her own. A porch or bedroom can work well—as long as it’s not the same place as the child goes for a time-out.

Set an example for good organization. Set up your home in an organized way. Make sure your child knows that everything has its place. Role-model neatness and organization as much as possible.

Brain Functioning in ADHD

ADHD is not the result of laziness, poor motivation, low intelligence, disobedience, poor upbringing or selfishness—to name just a few. Although having ADHD doesn’t exclude you from having some of these difficulties, these problems do not cause chronic inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness—the core symptoms of ADHD. ADHD is a medical disorder, and it can be caused by a number of factors that affect how the brain develops and functions.

Current research indicates the frontal lobe, basal ganglia, caudate nucleus, cerebellum, as well as other areas of the brain, play a significant role in ADHD because they are involved in complex processes that regulate behavior (Teeter, 1998). These higher order processes are referred to as executive functions. Executive functions include such processes as inhibition, working memory, planning, self-monitoring, verbal regulation, motor control, maintaining and changing mental set and emotional regulation. According to a current model of ADHD developed by Dr. Russell Barkley, problems in response inhibition is the core deficit in ADHD. This has a cascading effect on the other executive functions listed above (Barkley, 1997).Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

What factors could account for neurological differences in brain development and functioning that could contribute to ADHD? The main factors studied to date have been: fetal exposure to toxic substances (e.g., alcohol and tobacco) during pregnancy, exposure to lead, trauma to the brain from head injury or illness and differences that could be attributed to heredity. These causes are discussed below.

Heredity as a Cause of ADHD

Heredity is the most common cause of ADHD. Most of our information about the heritability of ADHD comes from family studies, adoption studies, twin studies and molecular genetic research.

Family Studies: If a trait has a genetic basis we would expect the rate of occurrence to be higher with the biological family members (e.g., brown-eyed people tend to have family members with brown eyes). Dr. Joseph Biederman (1990) and his colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital have studied families of children with ADHD. They have learned that ADHD runs in families. They found that over 25% of the first-degree relatives of the families of ADHD children also had ADHD, whereas this rate was only about 5% in each of the control groups. Therefore, if a child has ADHD there is a five-fold increase in the risk to other family members.

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Adoption Studies: If a trait is genetic, adopted children should resemble their biological relatives more closely than they do their adoptive relatives. Studies conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Dennis Cantwell compared adoptive children with hyperactivity to their adoptive and biological parents. Hyperactive children resembled their biological parents more than they did their adoptive parents with respect to hyperactivity.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Twin Studies: Another way to determine if there is a genetic basis for a disorder is by studying large groups of identical and non-identical twins. Identical twins have the exact same genetic information while non-identical twins do not. Therefore, if a disorder is transmitted genetically, both identical twins should be affected in the same way and the concordance rate—the probability of them both being affected—should be higher than that found in non-identical twins. There have been several major twin studies in the past few years that provide strong evidence that ADHD is highly heritable. They have had remarkably consistent results in spite of the fact that they were done by different researchers in different parts of the world. In one such study, Dr. Florence Levy and her colleagues studied 1,938 families with twins and siblings in Australia. They found that ADHD has an exceptionally high heritability as compared to other behavioral disorders. They reported an 82 percent concordance rate for ADHD in identical twins as compared to a 38 percent concordance rate for ADHD in non-identical twins.

Molecular Genetic Research: Twins studies support the hypothesis of the important contribution that genes play in causing ADHD, but these studies do not identify specific genes linked to the disorder. Genetic research in ADHD has taken off in the past five years. This research has focused on specific genes that may be involved in the transmission of ADHD. Dopamine genes have been the starting point for investigation. Two dopamine genes, DAT1 and DRD4 have been reported to be associated with ADHD by a number of scientists. Genetic studies revealed promising results, and we should look for more information about this soon.

Exposure to Toxic Substances as a Cause of ADHD

Researchers have found an association between mothers who smoked tobacco products or used alcohol during their pregnancy and the development of behavior and learning problems in their children. A similar association between lead exposure and hyperactivity has been found, especially when the lead exposure occurs in the first three years. Nicotine, alcohol, and lead can be toxic to developing brain tissue and may have sustained effects on the behavior of the children exposed to these substances at early ages. However, it is unlikely that such exposure accounts for differences in brain development in the vast majority of children and adolescents with ADHD.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Injury to the Brain from Trauma, Brain Tumors, Strokes or Disease

Injury to the brain can be the result of trauma (serious blow to the head), brain tumor, stroke or disease. These factors can cause problems with inattention and poor regulation of motor activity and impulses. While such circumstances can result in a diagnosis of ADHD, the occurrence of such is atypical.

What Does Not Cause ADHD

Diet: In the 1970’s it became popular to view ADHD as resulting from allergies or sensitivities to certain food substances. However, much of the research done over the past two decades was unable to support the claim that diet played a significant role in causing ADHD. Despite this, the popular media continues to discuss the role of food in ADHD, particularly that sugar may cause children to become hyperactive and impulsive. There is no research to back up this claim. In fact, Dr. Mark Wolraich and his colleagues found no significant effects of sugar on either behavior or learning in children.

Hormones: No studies have found any significant connection between problems with hormone functioning and hyperactivity or ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

The vestibular system: . For a number of years some clinicians have proposed the theory that ADHD and some learning and emotional problems could be the result of problems within the vestibular system of the brain which affects balance. They contend that treatment with anti-motion sickness medicine could correct these problems. This theory is unsupported by scientific research and is inconsistent with what is known about ADHD and the vestibular system.

Poor parenting or problems in family life: No studies support the idea that ADHD is the result of poor parenting practices or other family environment variables. While parents of children with ADHD are likely to give more negative commands to their ADHD child and less positive attention, this may be due to the fact that ADHD children are often non-compliant and, therefore, parents are more likely to be more negative in their interaction with them. Furthermore, the interactions of parents of ADHD children whose behavior was not oppositional were no different than they were from non-ADHD children. It is important to note, however, that symptoms of ADHD and the degree to which such symptoms can impact the child’s functioning, can be reduced by parents who provide appropriate accommodations and interventions.

Television: No studies have found any connection between television viewing and ADHD. Nor have any studies indicated that children with ADHD watch more television than do those without ADHD.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

Summary

There is no single cause for ADHD. Scientists agree that ADHD is a medical disorder affecting the several areas of the brain with the frontal area likely having the greatest involvement. Those areas involved are responsible for certain executive functions that control the regulation of behavior, working memory, thinking, planning and organizing. Heredity is the most common cause of ADHD. This has been confirmed in studies looking at the rates of occurrence of ADHD within families, studies of adopted ADHD children and twin studies. Molecular genetic research has focused on the specific genes that may be responsible for characteristics of ADHD. Other risk factors for ADHD have to do with factors that can influence brain development and functioning such as exposure to toxic substances in the developing fetus and acquired brain injury due to trauma or disease. Factors such as diet, vestibular dysfunction, television viewing and parenting have not been proven to be causes of ADHD.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

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