Some environmental causes, such as childhood strokes and brain injury, play a role in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In most cases, however, genetics is the most probable cause.
ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in children. It’s a disease that may last a lifetime, though symptoms can change as you get older. According to research, people with ADHD are more likely to be born with it than to acquire it on their own.
This article will look at which environmental factors might be to blame for ADHD and whether or not they can be avoided or overcome.
Some people believe that ADHD is caused by consuming too much sugar, watching too much television, or a person’s socioeconomic situation. This is untrue. None of these factors contribute to the development of ADHD.
Environmental factors, on the other hand, are being investigated as potential risk factors for ADHD in some individuals.
They may contain the following:
- consuming alcohol or tobacco while pregnant
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- exposure to lead (either during pregnancy or at a young age)
- brain injury
While the following causes may not cause ADHD, they can have an impact on the severity of symptoms.
Some psychosocial factors, such as anxiety or mood disorders, can contribute to the development of ADHD-related health conditions. Alternatively, they can exacerbate a person’s symptoms.
The following psychosocial factors can exacerbate the severity of ADHD:
- maternal depression
- a disordered household environment
- unsupportive parents or primary caregivers
The study of how psychosocial factors affect ADHD symptoms is still in progress.
It is important to remember, however, that these causes do not have a long-term impact on anyone with ADHD.
Other environmental factors
The amount of sleep a person gets and the activities they engage in during the day can also help relieve some of the symptoms of ADHD.
A 2017 prospective study discovered that children with ADHD had less symptoms when they slept for at least 10 hours per day and engaged in activities that stimulated their thinking.
Meanwhile, neither the amount of time they spent watching television nor the amount of physical activity they engaged in had any impact on their ADHD symptoms.
Some of these results, however, contradict research that shows that watching too much television and not doing enough worsens ADHD symptoms. As a result, more research is needed to back up these results.
Despite the fact that ADHD is a biological disorder, managing environmental stressors can help to lessen the severity of symptoms.
Even when their child’s symptoms make parenting difficult, parents of children with ADHD should take precautions to limit their children’s exposure to family conflict. Family conflict can lead to stress, which can lead to antisocial behaviour and ADHD symptoms in children.
Other tips for parents include.
- creating routines
- managing distractions, such as the television
- limiting choices to avoid overwhelming the child
- creating a positive environment
- promoting healthy food choices
- encouraging physical exercise
ADHD is difficult to diagnose and needs many tests.
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are identical to those of conditions that affect a person’s sleep or mood. As a result, some people may be diagnosed with these conditions first, rather than ADHD.
An individual must meet certain requirements from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition to be diagnosed with ADHD (DSM-5).
An individual must have six or more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity if they are 16 years old, or five or more if they are 17 years old or an adult, due to the existence of ADHD. They must also have experienced these symptoms for a period of at least six months.
Symptoms of inattention include:
- making careless mistakes
- not holding attention
- failing to complete homework or other duties
- avoiding tasks that require mental effort for a long period
- losing things
- becoming easily distracted
- being generally forgetful during daily activities
Hyperactivity symptoms include:
- fidgeting or tapping hands and feet
- getting up often when sitting down
- leaving situations unexpectedly
- not playing quietly
- always on the go
- talking excessively
- blurting out answers before a person has finished the question
- trouble waiting
If a person or a child suspects they or their child has ADHD, they should contact their doctor, who will arrange for testing.
While there is no cure for ADHD, people who suffer from it will benefit from clinical counselling and medication to help them control their symptoms.
Before a doctor prescribes medication, parents of children with ADHD who are 6 years old or younger may undergo training in behaviour management. Parents with older children can receive both training and medication at the same time.
When an adult is diagnosed with ADHD, a doctor can recommend therapy and medication.
Some people may react to ADHD treatment better than others at first, and it may take some time for someone to figure out what works best for them. They should not give up hope, and if their current treatment plan isn’t working, they should talk with their doctor.
If children or adults with ADHD are aware of their symptoms and know how to treat them, they will have a happy life.
Adult ADHD symptoms can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Hyperactivity, for example, may manifest as excessive restlessness. They can also note that their high levels of energy irritate others.
Brain injury and lead exposure are two examples of environmental factors that may cause some ADHD.
Lack of sleep, for example, exacerbates the seriousness of ADHD symptoms.
ADHD is a biological disorder, which means that structural or chemical changes in the brain are most likely to be the cause of the symptoms. A person’s symptoms can be managed using a combination of therapy and medication.
- About ADHD – Overview. (n.d.).
- Livingstone, L. T., et al. (2017). Does the environment have an enduring effect on ADHD? A longitudinal study of monozygotic twin differences in children.
- Peralta, G. B., et al. (2017). Sleeping, TV, cognitively stimulating activities, physical activity, and ADHD symptom incidence in children: A prospective study.
- What to know about environmental causes of ADHD https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/environmental-causes-of-adhd
- Symptoms and diagnosis of ADHD. (2020).
- Treatment of ADHD. (2020).
- Treatment of ADHD. (n.d.).
- What is ADHD? (2021).