Increase in ADHD Diagnoses

Grand Canyon University

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August 3, 2022

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become more prevalent over the years. We see this occurrence mainly in young children. ADHD is a chronic disorder that affects paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Researchers and doctors are trying to figure out potential causes. Some causes could come from mothers with mental issues, genetics, environmental problems, premature birth and low birth weight or drug abuse.

A study was conducted on mothers who children were diagnosed with ADHD. The mother was more likely to be diagnosed with a depressive disorder. The study concluded that physiocratic disorders in mothers of children with ADHD is associated with maternal psychopathology both before and after birth (Holman et al. 2019). More research is needed to confirm this is one of the causes in children’s ADHD. Genetics and environmental factors are two possible causes in children’s ADHD.

ADHD could be genetically passed down from the parents to the children depending on what type of life they lived. Converging results from, family, twin, and adoption studies implicate genetic influences may contributors to the development of ADHD with heritability estimates accounting for about 75% of variance (Homan et al. 2019). Researchers are also looking into environmental factors. Some factors are, nicotine exposure while pregnant, alcohol exposure and pregnancy complications (Homan et al. 2019). Even though these things are not yet confirmed researchers believe these are some of the potential causes of this disorder. Premature birth and low birth weight are other possible causes.

In a Meta-analysis it was determined that there was a link between low birth weight and premature pregnancies with ADHD. The early the prematurity and lower the weight the greater the risk (Brown University 2018). Children with a low birth weight showed that they are more likely to have disorders like ADHD and Autism spectrum Disorder (ASD). They recommend that future research look at which factors related to to prematurity or low birth rate lead to ADHD (Brown University 2018). Drug abuse could be another possible cause of ADHD.

A study was performed on adolescents that have substance abuse disorders (SUD) to see if this a cause of ADHD. There are some epidemiological studies evaluating the clinical association between externalizing disorders and ADHD on SUD in childhood and adolescents (Yoshimasa et al 2016). Children with ADHD are more likely to use drugs to make them feel better about themselves. They feel substance abuse is their only escape from their diagnosis. Further studies of moderating role and meditating mechanisms that explain risks to early substance abuse (Yoshimasa et al 2016). Researchers are trying to discover the causes of ADHD by looking into the different effects on the mothers. In one study the researchers looked in to exposure to fluoride during their pregnancy. In an ecological study, higher prevalence of water fluoridation was associated with increased prevalence of ADHD diagnosis among youth in the united states (Riddell et al. 2019). The increase in ADHD has grown across the united states.

ADHD is becoming more common in the world, doctors and researchers are trying to figure out how the children are getting it. ADHD is today’s most common childhood behavioral disorder in the United States (Owens J. 2021). It is so many different possible causes that they do studies. A few studies using the mothers and finding out their mental state, environmental factors, what they exposed the child too during pregnancies, low birth weight and premature birth. These are the main things that are topics in different articles provided to me through the GCU library. The rates of ADHD have risen over the past 25 years. They are looking for valuable evidence of the causes so they can no longer say that they do not know the causes of ADHD. Parents, educators, researchers, and doctors want to know how it is caused and is it preventive.

Homan, K. J., Barbaresi, W. J., Mellon, M. W., Weaver, A. L., Killian, J. M., Lucchetti, A. R., & Katusic,

S. K. (2019). Psychiatric Disorders in Mothers of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Population-Based Perspective. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 28(4), 1042–1051.

Owens, J. (2021). Parental intervention in school, academic pressure, and childhood diagnoses of ADHD.

Social Science & Medicine, 272.

Prematurity and low birth weight associated with increased risk of ADHD diagnosis and symptoms:

Meta‐analysis. (2018). Brown University Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology Update, 20(2), 1–5.

Riddell, J. K., Malin, A. J., Flora, D., McCague, H., & Till, C. (2019). Association of water fluoride and

urinary fluoride concentrations with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Canadian youth. Environment International, 133(Part B).

Yoshimasu, K., Barbaresi, W. J., Colligan, R. C., Voigt, R. G., Weaver, A. L., & Katusic, S. K. (2016).

Mediating and Moderating Role of Depression, Conduct Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Developing Adolescent Substance Use Disorders: A Population-Based Study. PLoS ONE, 11(6), 1–12.

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