Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often.
Environmental factors: Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children.9,10 In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead, which can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, have a higher risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Food additives: There is currently no research showing that artificial food coloring causes ADHD. However, a small number of children with ADHD may be sensitive to food dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other food additives. They may experience fewer ADHD symptoms on a diet without additives, but such diets are often difficult to maintain
Brain injuries: Children who have suffered a brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. However, only a small percentage of children with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Babies with low birth weight may have an increased risk of ADHD. The same is true for children who have had head injuries, particularly an injury to the frontal lobe. Young children who are exposed to lead or other environmental toxins such as PCBs or pesticides early in life may also have a higher risk of ADHD.
ADHD always begins in childhood. For some people, though, ADHD is not diagnosed until adulthood. That means adults who are newly diagnosed have actually had ADHD for years, and have had to endure symptoms as they’ve matured. In addition, research shows that between 30% and 70% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms of the disorder when they become adults.
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.
Children who have symptoms of inattention may:
• Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
• Not seem to listen when spoken to
• Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
• Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
• Struggle to follow instructions.
• Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
• Have difficulty focusing on one thing
• Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
• Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:
• Be very impatient
• Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
• Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
• Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities
Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:
• Fidget and squirm in their seats
• Talk nonstop
• Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
• Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
• Be constantly in motion
• Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities