Since the early 1900’s, every mother that ever lived has, at some point, wondered if their child has ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of those things that absolutely terrifies people. Particularly if you have another family member with the condition.
But is the concern justified? Do biological factors have any influence on whether your child develops ADHD or not?
What Are the Main Causes of ADHD?
To be able to answer the question “Is ADHD hereditary?”, we need to look a little closer at the causes and symptoms.
As with many neurobiological disorders, the answer to the above question seems to depend on which study you choose to believe. However, there are a few causes that almost everybody agrees with:
- Child’s brain develops at a slower rate than usual
- Child’s brain is Dopamine Deficient
- Having another family member with ADHD
Along with biological factors there are also environmental factors to take into consideration.
- Mother’s exposure to toxins while pregnant
- Complications with pregnancy
- Birth Complications
- Complications as a newborn
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?
The average age of children diagnosed with ADHD is 7 years old. Often, it’s not until they start school that symptoms become more obvious. Many symptoms can be passed off as hereditary, for example, “He’s just like I was at that age.” But when a child starts school, other people from outside the family can judge their behavior in relation to how other children their age are acting.
Whatever biological factors are present in your family only a Doctor can properly diagnose ADHD. They have criteria that have to be met, according to the DSM 5, which is the standard diagnostic tool for mental health and Psychiatric disorders. Having said that, here are some signs that may cause concern:
- A consistent need to interrupt other’s conversations or activities
- Difficulty in controlling their own emotions and rapid mood swings
- Constant fidgeting, an inability to keep still
- Difficulty following instructions
- Increased instances of day-dreaming
It’s important to remember that some of the above symptoms can be caused by other biological or environmental factors, which is why it is important to seek professional advice.
What Causes ADHD in Adults?
Recent figures suggest that around half of the 5% of children that are diagnosed with ADHD, will grow out of it before reaching adulthood. But ADHD in adults is not always diagnosed. The symptoms and causes in adulthood are the same as children, but with a few added behaviors.
- Hyperfocus – attention being consumed with something to the point that all other environmental factors and people are ignored
- Time Management – total focus on now and is often late
- Impulsivity – will act without thinking, often overspending or indulging in risky behavior
- Relationship difficulties – adults with ADHD are often unable to control their emotions which leads to misunderstandings and over-reaction
- Lack of motivation and fatigue
- Poor self-image and self-esteem
- Alcohol and drug abuse
An adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity can also show symptoms of other disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder. A correct diagnosis is imperative in receiving the correct treatment.
What Is the Treatment for ADHD?
Whether your child’s ADHD is caused by biological factors or not, makes little difference to the treatment that is recommended. There are medications that can effectively subdue symptoms and therefore help your child to regulate their behavior at school, or in unfamiliar situations.
Medication isn’t the only option though. Ensuring that your child gets enough sleep is vital to their everyday functioning, as is exercise. Children with ADHD often have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep, so makings sure that they’ve run around as much as they can will help them to settle easier at night.
Your child’s diet is also a factor in treating their symptoms, and as some medications for ADHD reduce appetite, this must be monitored carefully. Ensure that your child is receiving plenty of iron, magnesium, and zinc, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids.
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist can provide you and your child with techniques for managing challenging behavior. The can also help you develop a schedule for your child as routine is important for children, and adults, with ADHD.
Although it seems likely that biological factors play a role in causing ADHD, environmental factors do also. Further research must be done to determine which factors are the most prevalent in children, and adults, with ADHD which will hopefully lead to a cure one day.