Just What Causes ADD and ADHD?

There is much speculation on the cause of ADD/ADHD. Here is research that may shed some light on the common disorder.

Environmental Causes of ADD

There has been some evidence that some chemicals in the environment may cause ADD and/or ADHD, even though the exact cause is still unknown.

Although heredity plays a large role in the onset of this disorder, there is mounting evidence recently that environmental toxins are to blame. Smoking during pregnancy is one possible cause of this disorder, as is exposure to lead and other toxins. The common use of artificial food additives (food colorings and preservatives especially) in recent decades lends credence to the possibility that there is a link, since many people are allergic to some of the chemicals used. A very high incidence of food allergies is a common factor with most people dealing with ADD. Another contributing factor to the cause of this disorder is prenatal trauma. Scientists have found that the upsurge of ADD cases diagnosed in the last few decades correlates with the more common usage of many of these toxins and chemicals.

Dietary Causes of ADD

As mentioned above, food allergies are a common occurrence with this disorder. Certain foods and additives can cause excitability and nervousness in some affected children. A low-protein diet is another contributing factor. A severe deficiency in the body’s essential fatty acids (EFA) and hyperactivity have been linked. Some symptoms of this include excessive thirst and urination, dry skin and hair, a lack of concentration and other behavioral problems. Many people take EFA capsules (found in health food stores) to battle these symptoms.

Physical Causes of ADD

An over-active thyroid gland is often associated with ADD and/or ADHD. A very high percentage of ADD children also have a high level of thyroid hormones. This causes poor concentration, moodiness, insomnia, difficulties controlling emotion and depression. The thyroid is what controls appetite and energy changes, so this is also a factor in many people with attention deficit disorder. In 1993, a study by David Hauser and Alan Zametkin (published in the New England Medical Journal) added evidence that there is a biological basis for ADD. They found a strong correlation between a rare form of thyroid dysfunction (called generalized resistance to thyroid hormone or GRTH) and ADD. Seventy percent of people studied had both GRTH and ADD.

Other possible physical culprits are as follows: poor eyesight, impaired hearing, diabetes and migraines. A simple test for these various medical problems can, and should, be done to detect this, before any diagnosis of ADD can be reached.

Prenatal Causes of ADD and/or ADHD:

Poor nutrition
Chemical toxins
Lead poisoning
Alcohol consumption
Drug use
Prenatal trauma or injury

Postnatal Causes of ADD and/or ADHD:

Neurological (brain) injury
Iron deficiency anemia
Chemical poisons