Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that causes inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness symptoms. According to BMC Journal, the prevalence rate of such neurodevelopmental conditions fluctuates between 4.70 and 88.50% globally.
The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but it’s thought to be part genetic and part environmental. Many questions remain about how an individual’s environment affects their risk of developing ADHD. This blog post explores how environmental factors can impact ADHD development.
What Are Environmental Factors?
Environmental factors are influences on a person’s development that can occur before, during, or after birth. These can be physical, social, or emotional and may include the following:
- The quality of the air you breathe
- The kinds of foods you eat
- How much sleep you get each night
Environmental factors can also be present from before birth to childhood and beyond. For example, pregnant ladies’ exposure to harmful chemicals and environmental factors can also increase the risk of ADHD development in prenatal babies inside the mother’s womb.
Types of Environmental Factors That May Contribute to ADHD Development
Several environmental factors, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), may contribute to ADHD development. In fact, data from an ACS publication report shows that there are at least 10 million tonnes of PCB-containing materials globally. Most of these 10 million tonnes come from countries lacking resources to manage PCB waste.
Many other environmental factors can contribute to ADHD development; these can include the following:
Prenatal Exposure to Toxins
Toxins are substances that can cause harm to your health. They may be in food, the environment, or even the products you use at home or work.
Some of the most common toxins found in food include:
- Heavy metals: These can build up over time and affect brain development if they aren’t removed from the body regularly through detoxification processes such as sweating or urination. There are different sources of heavy metal emissions. For example, lead ammunition is one of the most significant sources of lead emission. Proof of this can be seen in a study published on the Norwegian Institute of Public Health website that states 67% of lead emission in Norway happens from using lead ammunition.
- Processed sugars: These include high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and table sugar, all of which have been linked with ADHD symptoms when eaten regularly by children under age six years old. That is why the CDC has ascertained that a 2,000-calorie diet should not contain more than 200 calories from added sugars.
- Medication ingredients: ADHD development can also begin due to medication ingredients’ side effects. For instance, the use of Tylenol by pregnant women is proven to increase ADHD risk. In fact, many people have also filed a lawsuit against Tylenol manufacturers for not informing users about this risk.
More In Detail about It
If you or a loved one used Tylenol during pregnancy, which led to the child developing ADHD, you could file a lawsuit against the manufacturer too. But what will be the Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payout you will get?
Well, the Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payout can depend on various factors. For example, if the ADHD in your child is severe, you can expect a higher settlement payout. Likewise, if you have had to spend a lot of money on ADHD symptoms management, you might get better pay.
Many such factors can influence the total payout of the settlement. TorHoermal Law says it is too early to estimate the exact amount. However, the company says that based on previous settlements, the amount can be anywhere between $50,000 to $500,000+.
Parenting Styles and Family Dynamics
Parents are often the first line of defense against ADHD development, but they can also contribute to its onset. Some parents may be too permissive or overly authoritarian, some may be overprotective or under protective, some may have inconsistent discipline methods, and others might criticize their children more than they should.
In general, if you want to help prevent your child from developing ADHD later in life:
- Avoid being too strict or overly critical of them
- Provide consistent discipline
Educational and Social Experiences
Early childhood experiences can significantly influence your child’s mental health. Here are some educational and social experiences that can lead to ADHD development in your child.
- School can be a place where children with ADHD can develop social skills. Children with ADHD often have trouble paying attention in class, following instructions, and following rules. They may also be teased and bullied because of their behaviors.
- To help students with ADHD succeed, teachers should provide frequent breaks from classroom activities so that students can rest their brains for a few minutes before continuing with the lesson plan.
- Teachers should also give clear instructions about what needs to be done during each lesson so that your child knows exactly what they need to do at any given time during class time or homework assignments.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition are one of the most essential factors in ADHD development. For example, children who eat a diet high in sugar may have an increased risk of developing symptoms of ADHD compared to children who eat less sugar. In addition, there is some evidence that certain nutrients, such as iron deficiency and zinc deficiency, might contribute to hyperactivity in children with ADHD.
It’s also possible that certain foods can help manage your child’s symptoms if they have been diagnosed with the disorder. Some studies show that it can benefit kids with the condition if they avoid artificial coloring or preservatives found in processed foods. However, more research needs to be done before we know exactly how much these ingredients impact an individual child’s behavior.
Criticisms and Limitations of the Research
However, it’s important to note that the research on environmental factors is based on small sample sizes. This means that while there may be an association between certain environmental factors and ADHD development, it’s unclear how strong this association is.
Additionally, some studies have suggested that many genetic mutations can lead to ADHD. Therefore, some children might develop this disorder without any known genetic mutation or exposure to certain environmental toxins.
There are still limitations regarding what is known about how genetics versus environment contribute toward creating differences between individuals suffering from ADHD. But these findings still provide important clues about how best to treat this condition so that everyone can help those who suffer from its symptoms live happier lives.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how environmental factors may contribute to ADHD development. While there is still much research to be done, we know that certain prenatal exposures, parenting styles, and family dynamics can play a role in whether or not someone develops the disorder later in life. It’s also worth noting that other factors like diet, nutrition, and educational experiences could also play some part.