What Causes ADHD?

What Causes ADHD?
After much research, the answer is…

Read More: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

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.

ADHD and Driving

Is it really more dangerous?
Meta-analysis by: the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

For more information: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/adhd_booklet.pdf

Many studies have attempted to correlate ADHD and driving habits. While outcomes have been varied, a trend clearly emerges: ADHD drivers are at greater risk for accidents. This seems especially true for young ADHD drivers.

According to a meta-analysis by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “In high income countries [such as the United States and many European countries], MVCs [motor vehicle collisions] are the leading cause of death among children, adolescents and young adults (ages 4–29) (WHO, 2002b) and therefore, are considered a major cause of premature death and long-term disability. In the United States in 2004, there were close to 6.2 million MVCs that resulted in 42,636 deaths and close to three million injuries (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2004). The economic burden of MVCs is extremely high and in the year 2004, traffic collisions alone cost the United States 230.6 billion dollars (NHTSA, 2004).”

Is it more than just distraction? Yes. According to available research, ADHD drivers also experience negative driving outcomes for a variety of reasons:

*Poor risk perception; they don’t perceive risky situations as being risky.

* Impaired judgment or failure to make good decisions and use reasoning while driving.

* Inattention and impulsivity were found to be higher in ADHD drivers.

* Longer reaction times and a reduced capacity for flexible response to changing road conditions.

* Decreased neural motor control over the vehicle — motor skills are brain functions that allow us to control the response of our bodies.

* Increased aggressiveness and anger were identified in some ADHD drivers.

* Deficits in cognitive abilities were associated with inattentiveness, particularly visual inattentiveness and impulsiveness correlating with problem driving outcomes.

All of these findings indicate that a variety of factors make ADHD drivers less safe. It’s important to start a program where cognitive performance, behavioral shaping, and motor skills performance are increased.

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