Causes of ADS

Synonyms in a broader sense

Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Syndrome, Hans-guck-in-the-Air, Psychoorganic Syndrome (POS)In contrast to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Syndrome (ADHD) comprises a very pronounced inattentive but by no means impulsive or hyperactive behaviour. This is the reason why ADHD children are often called dreamers or “Hans-guck-in-the-air”. With regard to possible causes, the current state of research suggests that faulty information transmission and processing between the two brain sections (brain hemispheres) can be held responsible for the development of ADHD.

The causes for the development of this faulty information transmission can again be complex and can be prenatally, i.e. before birth. Due to the various symptoms caused by ADHD, problems arise in the private and especially in the school environment. Even with normal or sometimes even above-average intelligence, the various symptoms not infrequently lead to gaps in knowledge, which often cause serious problems in the area of attention deficit syndrome.

However, the latest scientific findings assume that neurobiological processes, genetics and environmental influences all play a role in the development of attention deficit syndrome. According to the current state of scientific research, it is assumed that an imbalance of the messenger substances serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine develops during the transmission of stimuli in the brain. Due to their properties, messenger substances have a not inconsiderable influence on human behaviour.

While serotonin essentially influences mood, dopamine has an effect on physical activity. Norepinephrine in turn influences the ability to pay attention. If this balance is disturbed, the transmission of stimuli cannot take place in the usual way, which ultimately triggers the typical ADS behaviour.

Stimulations in the brain are received and transmitted by nerve cells. In order to prevent a stimulus overload, however, nerve cells are not connected to each other but have a minimal space between them, the so-called synaptic gap. Once the information has been transmitted, the messenger substances migrate back into the synaptic gap and are taken up again by nerve cell 1.

In the case of ADHD, the stimulus transmission processes deviate from the norm, resulting in an imbalance of the messenger substances serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin in the brain. In ADHD patients, it is assumed that both the transporter gene and the receptor sites of the stimulus-receiving nerve cell are different for dopamine and/or norepinephrine and thus deviate from the norm. Both a reduced dopamine concentration in the synaptic cleft and a norepinephrine deficiency can cause the typical symptoms of ADHD.

If a stimulus is received by nerve cell 1, it transmits the information to nerve cell 2 by releasing messenger substances into the synaptic cleft. When the messenger substances arrive in the synaptic gap, they look for a specific binding site at nerve cell 2, dock and then pass on the information. The fact that families are often affected by ADS leads to two questions: Various investigations and studies show that the predispositions for the development of ADHD can be genetically inherited.

On the other hand, it is also known that environmental influences can have a decisive influence on the development of ADS. Education alone is usually not solely responsible for the development of ADS. An inconsistent style of education and consequently further unfavourable environmental influences can have a particular influence on the way ADS is formed.

Education plays a key role in the life of an ADS child. It may be important not only in the area of the cause, but also in the area of therapy, as it has to adapt to and support it in a special way. – Is ADHD genetically inherited?

  • Is the frequent development of ADS due to similar/similar environmental influences (upbringing). If a child receives the initial diagnosis of a psychological or behavioural disorder, parents often ask themselves what they have done wrong and whether their upbringing can be to blame for the disease. The answer to this question cannot be clearly answered according to the current state of scientific studies.

While the more frequently occurring behavioural disorders can often be traced back to failures in upbringing or to environmental influences, there are considerably more influencing factors in the case of attention disorders, such as genes, neurobiological changes, special characteristics of the person affected and many more. In such a pre-stressed child, failures in education can at least intensify the symptoms. ADHD children need a lot of love and attention because they quickly feel neglected and misunderstood.

In addition, they need to be given a clear structure and reliable rules. If these special needs are not sufficiently met, education by loving and committed parents could also trigger ADHD, but probably not without further factors. Why some attention disorders are associated with hyperactivity and impulsiveness and others with absent-mindedness and dreaminess, i.e. what the exact molecular and genetic difference between ADHD and ADD is, is being investigated, but is still unclear.

However, there are many logical reasons for the development of dreaminess. For one thing, a dreamy child is for most parents and educators a pleasant child who can occupy himself alone and seems happy with it. In addition, many ADHD children have a pronounced imagination which enables them to enjoy daydreaming and isolates them from the outside world with all its overstraining stimuli.

Small children therefore have almost only advantages due to their dreaminess. Only at school, when they miss lessons and their grades suffer, does their absent-mindedness become a problem. By then, however, their own dream world has become so firmly anchored in most of them and offers them so much refuge that it can be very difficult for them to get rid of this behaviour.

MCD stands as an abbreviated form of minimal cerebral dysfunction and includes all disorders of brain function that were caused in different ways before, during or after birth (= pre-, peri- and postnatal). Even though MCD was frequently used as a cause of learning problems, especially in the 1970s, and as an explanation for the development of dyslexia, there may be connections between pre-, peri- and postnatal problems and the development of ADHD. Minimal brain damage in early childhood can be caused prenatally, i.e. prenatally, for example by infectious diseases of the mother, by bleeding or by nutritional errors during pregnancy.

This includes, in particular, regular alcohol or nicotine consumption by the mother, which means that the brain stem (thalamus) is not fully developed (brain-organic component). There are also various causes during the birth process (= perinatal) which can cause minimal cerebral damage. Risk factors are, for example, the lack of oxygen during birth or various birth delays due to positional anomalies.

Studies have also shown that premature babies with too low a birth weight are more likely to develop ADHD than children with normal birth weight. It is also suspected that this is related to the increased probability of minimal cerebral maturation disorders in prematurely born children. Typical postnatal causes for the development of minimal cerebral dysfunction are typically accidents, infectious diseases or metabolic disorders.

Especially in the context of the diagnostic delimitation of ADHD, it is therefore useful to provide a maternity record and the results of U-examinations of the child, as they can provide important information. Allergies of the ADS are also frequently discussed – patients are under discussion as the cause for the development of an attention deficit. Now a lot of people suffer from allergies and not everyone of these people suffers from ADHD.

However, it cannot be denied that an allergy triggers a stressful situation in the body, through which the body, or rather the adrenal cortex, triggers an adrenaline release and finally responds with increased cortisol production. Cortisol belongs to the group of so-called glucocorticoids. The release of cortisol causes a drop in serotonin levels in the body.

Serotonin, in turn, affects a person’s mood and attention, and it is precisely these attention and mood swings that make themselves felt in children. Also derived from the various dietary therapy measures, allergies are often suspected of developing ADHD. Although a connection in individual cases – as already mentioned above – is quite possible, studies show that allergies and especially food allergies are rarely used as a cause for the development of ADHD. This does not necessarily mean that various dietary therapy measures, such as the diet according to Feingold, cannot improve the symptoms.