What is Attention-Deficit Disorder(ADD)?

Sunday, December 25th 2016. | Disease

There are no known causes of ADD but there are many different theories concerning the possible causes.

Brain The first theory is that ADD is caused from organic brain damage. Tredgold as far back 1908 stated that there was a link between hyperactivity and organic brain damage. He believed this was caused by an injury, prenatal complications, infection during birth, or oxygen deprivation. Research by Stewart and Olds in 1973 showed that the majority of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder had no signs of brain damage.

Attention-Deficit Disorder

Metabolism defect

The next theory is that children with ADD may have a deficit in metabolism of neurotransmitters. Due to this assumption, drugs such as Ritalin and Dexedrine have been given to children with ADD. These drugs have proven to be affective thus suggesting the cause to be a lack of or the access of a certain chemical in the brain. These medications only work short term and do have side effects.



Next in line of theories is that children with ADD have signs of a defective inhibitory system in the limbic areas of their brain. This is the part of the brain that works with arousal and reward. A defect in this portion of the brain may manifest itself as over-activity. Other fact is that most children with ADD are not as sensitive to their environment as other children, the effects seen with reinforcement and rewards. This may be the reason they do not learn as quickly as other children.


Genetic link

Genetics may play a role as well as the cause of ADD. Parents with ADD have a better chance of having a child with ADD.

The environment or other things in the children’s environment may be the trigger. Such things as artificial colors, lead levels in the atmosphere, pollution, and fluorescent lights, have all been linked to ADD. Some children, once artificial flavors are avoided in their diet, seem to be do much better. Sugar is another food item that can amplify hyperactivity.

Parents or specifically mothers may be at fault more than some believe as published in the study in 1972 by Battle and Lacey. Children with ADD had mothers that were disapproving, critical, some used extreme punishments, and the mothers were not affectionate. Some today believe that the behavior of the mother is more than likely a reaction to the child instead of the other way around. A study by Jacobvitz and Sroufe in 1987 showed that during early infancy that the mother of children were pushy and did not allow their little one the opportunity to explore on their own. By the age of 24 months, the mothers were more affection to an inappropriate stage. At the age of 42 months, the mothers were shown to be over stimulating their children. These children were diagnosed with ADD at school age.

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