Causes of ADHD

Hyperactivity, attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, ADHD, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, fidgeting syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attention Deficit Syndrome, Psychoorganic Syndrome (POS), Hyperkinetic Syndrome (HKS), Behavioural Disorder with Attention and Concentration Disorder. English: Attention-Deficit-Hyperactiv-Disorder (ADHD), minimal brain syndrome, Attention – Deficit – Hyperactivity – Disorder (ADHD), Fidgety Phil. ADHS, attention deficit syndrome, Hans-guck-in-the-air, Attention-Deficit-Disorder (ADD)


In contrast to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) includes inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive behavior that may be very pronounced. This is the reason why ADHD – children are often called fidgeting or are very quickly considered uneducated due to ignorance. According to the current state of research, incorrect information transmission and processing between the two brain sections (brain hemispheres) is considered to be the cause of the development of ADHD.

The reasons for the formation of an incorrect transmission of information can again have various causes and can already be prenatally, i.e. prenatally based. Due to the different, sometimes severely impairing symptoms of an attention deficit syndrome with hyperactivity, problems very often arise in the private and especially in the school environment. Even with normal or sometimes even above-average intelligence, gaps in knowledge and deficits are difficult to prevent, so that ADHD often occurs in combination with other learning problems, for example with a reading, spelling or arithmetic weakness.

In principle, partial performance disorders, for example dyslexia or dyscalculia, cannot be excluded. Other mental illnesses also often occur in combination with ADHD. Examples are: depression, tics, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.

As already indicated, according to the current state of scientific research, it is assumed that there is an imbalance in the transmission of stimuli in the brain with regard to the messenger substances serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine. These messenger substances, also known as neurotransmitters, influence human behaviour in a special way. Serotonin, for example, influences mood in a special way, while dopamine tends to affect physical activity and norepinephrine influences the ability to pay attention.

In people who suffer from ADHD, this balance is disturbed so that the transmission of stimuli in the brain cannot take place in the usual way. This imbalance ultimately triggers the typical ADHD behaviour. The transmission of stimuli in the brain is very complex.

In general, stimuli arriving in the brain are received and transmitted by nerve cells. In order to avoid a stimulus overload in the brain, the nerve cells (here: pink and blue) are not directly connected to each other but have a tiny, minimal space between them, the so-called synaptic gap. When a stimulus arrives at nerve cell 1 (pink), the nerve cell transmits the information to nerve cell 2 (blue) by releasing messenger substances into the synaptic gap.

After their release in the synaptic cleft, these messenger substances attempt to find a specific binding site (= receptor) at nerve cell 2. Once they have done so, they bind to the receptor and thus transmit the information. After the information has been passed on, they release from the binding site and migrate back into the synaptic cleft.

There they are taken up again by the original nerve cell (nerve cell 1). In the case of ADHD, the stimulus transmission processes described above take place in an altered form. This change causes an imbalance of the messenger substances serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin in the brain.

It is assumed that in the case of ADHD, both the transporter gene and the receptor sites of the stimulus-receiving nerve cell for dopamine and/or noradrenalin deviate from the norm, i.e. have a different structure. ADHD can also cause a poor education not without other favourable factors. However, if the child has a genetic disposition, i.e. a hereditary predisposition to ADHD, an inadequate upbringing can promote the occurrence of symptoms.

This does not mean that the parents must have treated their offspring badly. Children with ADHD have very special requirements and need more attention and patience than healthy peers. They also feel more easily neglected and unloved, even if they receive sufficient affection.

Affected children also find it much more difficult to cope with everyday life and school if clear structures and rules are lacking at home. Concentration problems are thus favoured by disorderly conditions at home. If the first signs of the attention deficit disorder were overlooked in childhood, the risk of later concomitant symptoms is also increased because the patients were not encouraged early enough.

Failure to educate children is therefore not solely responsible for ADHD, but can aggravate symptoms and promote associated problems. Various studies report a connection between the intake of medication or risk behaviour during pregnancy and the occurrence of ADHD symptoms in the child. Above average, children with ADHD seem to have been exposed to various influences and toxins during pregnancy, for example when the mother smoked or drank alcohol.

The popular painkiller paracetamol is also currently being tested for its possible ADHD-promoting after-effects. However, there is no proof that the disease occurred due to an event during pregnancy. While a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet has been proven to help many ADHD patients, unhealthy food can negatively influence the symptoms.

It is not yet clear how exactly the food has an effect on the patient. However, it is highly unlikely that a poor diet alone will trigger ADHD. However, if several risk factors are present, e.g. in combination with hereditary predisposition, an unhealthy lifestyle can contribute to the development of the symptoms.

It is not uncommon for other physical symptoms to occur in addition to the typical ADHD characteristics, such as abdominal pain or intolerance, etc. which aggravate the behavioural disorder. Here an adapted diet can help.

However, special ADHD diets, as they are advertised by some providers, are usually not sensible. Performance-enhancing substances, as used by some athletes to gain an illegal advantage in competitions, have many psychological and physical side effects. Among other things, ADHD-like symptoms can occur.

However, doping alone cannot trigger the disease. However, the most common substance used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin, is an amphetamine-like substance. It can have a stimulating effect and is on the prohibited list for athletes, so it counts as doping.

Patients who take this substance therefore need a special permit for sporting competitions. It is not uncommon for athletes to try to get a prescription for the medication through a supposed ADHD disease and thus improve their performance. Unfortunately, they accept the frequent side effects of the drug in the process. If other drugs are then taken, these can cause severe interactions with the ADHD medication. So while doping can already cause major problems in healthy athletes, it carries even greater risks in ADHD patients.