What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder, with genetic causes, that appears in childhood and often follows the individual throughout their life. It is characterized by symptoms of inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity. It is sometimes called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

Does Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Really Exist?

It has been officially recognized by many countries and by the World Health Organization (WHO). In some countries, such as the United States, people with ADHD are protected by law from receiving differential treatment at school.

Isn’t there an argument about having ADHD?

no one. There is even an international consensus published by the most famous doctors and psychologists around the world in this regard. Consensus is a scholarly publication made after extensive discussions among researchers from around the world, including those who are not part of the same group or institution and do not necessarily share the same ideas about all aspects of the disorder.

Why do some people insist they don’t have ADHD?

For various reasons from innocence and lack of scientific training to bad faith. Some even claim that “ADHD does not exist”, it is a medical or pharmacological “invention” in order to benefit from treatment.

The first case includes all professionals who have never published any research definitively stating what they assert and are not part of any scientific group. When questioned, they talk about “personal experience” or report cases that no one else knows about because they have never been published in specialized journals. Many write books or have websites, but never present their “results” at conferences or publish in scientific journals, so that others can judge the correctness of what they say.

The second are those who intend to “sell” a form of therapy different from what is currently being advocated, claiming that only they can properly handle it.

Both the former and the latter claim that treating ADHD with medication has serious consequences. When the scientific literature is searched, there is nothing to claim in any research in any country in the world. This is the main feature of these individuals: despite the “look” of scientists or researchers, they never publish anything that proves what they say.

Watch a text on this and the answer of Professors Luis Rode and Paulo Matos:

Why do I think attention deficit disorder is a myth

Because misinformation, lack of scientific thinking and naivety are a dangerous combination

Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Common?

It is the most common disorder in children and adolescents referred to specialist services. It occurs in 3 to 5% of children in many different regions of the world where it has been researched. In more than half of cases, the disorder follows the individual into adulthood, although insomnia symptoms are milder.

What are the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

ADHD is characterized by a combination of two types of symptoms:

1) inattention

2) Hyper

Movement and impulsivity ADHD in childhood is generally associated with difficulties in school and relationships with other children, parents, and teachers Children are said to “fly” and “live in the world of the moon” and generally to “stumble” and “carpenter” or “motorized” (that is, they do not sit still for a while) long). Boys tend to have more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity than girls, but not all of them pay attention. Children and teens with ADHD may have more behavioral problems, such as difficulties with rules and boundaries.

In adults, there are problems with inattention to everyday things and work, as well as with memory (often forgotten).

 They are restless (they only seem to relax while they sleep), constantly change from one thing to another and are also impulsive (“putting the carts before the horse”). They find it difficult to assess their own behavior and how it affects others around them. They are often considered “selfish”. They have a high frequency of other associated problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, and depression.

What are the causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Scientific studies show that people with ADHD have changes in the frontal region and its connections to the rest of the brain. The anterior orbital region is one of the most highly developed regions in humans compared to other animal species and is responsible for behavioral inhibition (i.e. controlling or inhibiting inappropriate behavior), the ability to pay attention, memory, self-control, organization, and planning.

What appears to have changed in this brain area is the action of a system of chemicals called neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine and norepinephrine), which pass information between nerve cells (neurons).

There are reasons that have been investigated for these changes in neurotransmitters in the frontal region and its connections.

a) Heredity:

Genes appear to be responsible not for the disorder itself, but for a predisposition to developing ADHD. Gene sharing was initially suspected based on observations that the presence of relatives with ADHD in families of ADHD patients was more frequent.

A family without children with ADHD.

The prevalence of the disease among relatives of affected children is about 2 to 10 times higher than in the general population (this is called familial frequency).

However, as with any behavioral disorder, the biggest cause of it occurring within the family may be environmental influences, as if the child had learned to act in an “inattentive” or “hyperactive” manner just by seeing their parents behaving in this way, which would That exclude the role of genes. It was then necessary to establish that the familial frequency was in fact due to genetic predisposition, not just environment. Other types of genetic studies were necessary to make sure genes were involved: twin and dependent studies. In studies with adoptees, biological and adoptive parents of affected children are compared, to check whether there is a difference in the presence of ADHD between the two parent groups. They showed that parents have 3 times more ADHD than adoptive parents.

Twin studies compare identical and fraternal (visiting twins) twins in terms of different aspects of ADHD (presence or not, type, severity, etc…) with identical twins possessing 100% genetic similarity, on In contrast to fraternal twins (50% genetic similarity), if identical twins are more similar in ADHD symptoms than siblings, the only explanation is the sharing of genetic components (parents are the same, environment is the same). Same diet, etc.). The more similarity, that is, the more they agree regarding those characteristics, the greater the genetic influence of the disease. In fact, studies of twins with ADHD have shown that identical twins are more similar (also called “compatible”) than fraternal twins, with up to 70% agreement,

From the data from these studies, the next step in the genetic research for ADHD was to start looking for genes that could be. It is important to stress that in ADHD, as in most behavioral disorders, which are generally multifactorial, we should never talk about genetic determinants, but rather about genetic predisposition or influence. What happens in these disorders is that the genetic predisposition involves several genes, not a single gene (as is the case for many of our physical characteristics as well). There may not be, or is not thought to exist, a single “ADHD gene”. Furthermore, genes may have different levels of activity, and some may behave differently in some patients than others; They interact with each other, which adds to the environmental influences. There is also a higher incidence of depression,

b) Substances are taken during pregnancy:

It has been observed that nicotine and alcohol when ingested during pregnancy can cause changes in some parts of the baby’s brain, including the anterior orbital region. Research suggests that alcoholic mothers are more likely to have children with hyperactivity and inattention problems. It is important to remember that many of these studies only show an association between these factors, but not a cause-and-effect relationship.

c) Fetal distress:

Some studies show that women who had problems giving birth that ended up causing fetal distress were more likely to have children with ADHD. The causal relationship is not clear. Mothers with ADHD may be more neglectful and therefore may be more prone to pregnancy and childbirth problems. In other words, it is the genetic burden that she herself suffers (which is passed on to the child) that will influence the greater presence of problems during childbirth.

d) Lead exposure:

Young children who have been poisoned with lead may have symptoms similar to ADHD. However, there is no need for any blood tests to measure lead in a child with ADHD, as this is rare and easily identifiable by clinical history.

e) Family problems:

Some theories have suggested that family problems (high degree of marital discord, low maternal education, single-parent families, chaotic family functioning, families with low socioeconomic status) could be a cause of ADHD in children. Recent studies have refuted this idea. Family difficulties can be more of a consequence than a cause of ADHD (in the child and even in the parents).

Family problems can exacerbate ADHD, but not cause it.

f) Reasons

Other factors have already been suggested and later abandoned as a cause of ADHD:

1. Yellow dye

2. Aspartame

3. Artificial light

4. Hormone deficiency (especially thyroid)

5. Lack of vitamins in the diet.

All of these potential causes have been scientifically investigated and discredited.

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