Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children


Almost all children have times when their attention or behavior veers out of control. However, for some children, these types of behaviors are more than an occasional problem. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have behavior problems that are so frequent and severe that they interfere with their ability to function adequately on a daily basis.

However, for some children, these kinds of behaviors are more than an occasional problem. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have behavior problems that are so frequent and severe that they interfere with their ability to live normal lives.

As with all mental disorders, the exact cause of attention deficit disorder (ADHD) is unknown. Possible causes of ADHD include:

(1) Genes: ADHD has a strong genetic basis in the majority of cases, as a child with ADHD is four times as likely to have had a relative who was also diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Children with ADHD who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention.

(2) Nutrition and Food: Certain components of the diet, including food additives and sugar, can have clear effects on behavior. Some experts believe that food additives may exacerbate ADHD. And a popular belief is that refined sugar may be to blame for a range of abnormal behaviors.

(3) The Environment: There may be a link between ADHD and maternal smoking. However, women who suffer from ADHD themselves are more likely to smoke, so a genetic explanation cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, nicotine can cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in utero.

(4) Brain Injury: Brain injury may also be a cause of attention deficit disorder in some very small minority of children. This can come about following exposure to toxins or physical injury, either before or after birth.

(5) Other Possible Causes: ADHD researchers are currently investigating the frontal lobes of the brain — the areas controlling problem-solving, planning, understanding other people’s behavior, and restraining our impulses....

While no single definitive cause has yet been identified for ADHD, researchers around the world have come a long way in identifying environmental and biochemical links to the disorder, and in tracking just how it affects the brains metabolism and function. Although leading investigators currently differ on the best treatment for ADHD, all agree that a multi modal approach—one that incorporates dietary measures, counseling, special academic strategies and possibly medication—is best.

There is increasing recognition among physicians, nutritionists and parents who are trying to cope with hyperactive and learning disabled children that nutritional status plays an important role. The relationship between the childs biochemical life and his functional performance is very important. Blood tests reveal that 75 percent of hyperactive-learning-disabled children have low blood sugar and/or allergies.

In a study conducted at the Institute of Child Health in London, using an elimination diet resulted in significantly improving the behavior of a group of hyperactive children. Their behavior worsened when they were challenged with allergy-provoking foods. Similarly, in the prestigious medical journal Lancet, investigators reporting on a study conducted with 185 hyperactive children on an elimination diet supported the concept that food allergies are associated with hyperactivity....