What Causes ADD?
Medical professionals have been documenting kids showing inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity for over 100 years. Since that time, ADD has been given many various names, like minimal brain dysfunction and hyperkinetic reaction of childhood, among the stranger-sounding. With the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV), it’s been officially renamed attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. This reflects the importance of inattention in the disorder in addition to the other characteristics, hyperactivity and impulsivity. See more at ADD vs ADHD.
But back to the question of what causes ADD. And fact is, it still remains a question – at least in terms of precise causes. In general terms, however, there’s little doubt that heredity plays a very significant role. Most authorities on the subject agree that heredity/genetics makes the single largest contribution to whether an individual will experience the disorder – that genetic factors account for some eighty percent of the observed behavioral traits. And specific genes associated with the disorder have been identified.
But other factors are also supported by research, such as exposure to alcohol and cigarette smoke in the womb, low birth weight, excessive lead exposure, and head injury.
You may have heard about it being caused by excessive sugar or food additive intake, too much television, or ‘bad parenting’. But these and others are not supported by research – although some of these might be counter-productive in dealing with one’s adult ADD symptoms.
Bottom Line: Exploring the causes of your own or a family member’s adult ADD is a worthy pursuit – because greater understanding of one’s condition has a direct correlation with one’s ability to crush it. Just beware myths and other non-factual BS that may seem more interesting than what the scientific community has agreed to.