Making Sense of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

By Carol R. Lensch | Go to book overview

2
Studies on the Cause(s) of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest.

-- John Muir

In order to understand Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), it is essential that one understands the underlying causes. When we form opinions based on observations alone, we may jump to erroneous conclusions. Because AD/HD is primarily recognizable by behavioral manifestations, it is easy to see why some people assume that these behaviors are learned and controllable. Such behaviors are often blamed on poor parenting or a lack of discipline. The assumption is sometimes made that if a child can sit still to watch a favorite television show, then it is within the child's ability to control the behavior in other situations. By reviewing the evidence of a neurological origin of AD/HD, readers can reexamine their own beliefs on the nature of the disorder and be able to speak about and approach the subject from a more informed and mindful position.

For a period of time it was theorized that excessive motor activity and impulsivity were caused by diet. One of the more well-known treatments along these lines is the Feingold Diet, which, although successful with a small percentage of children, has not been supported by research findings ( Gross, Tofanelli, Butzirus, & Snodgrass, 1987; Mattes & Gittelman, 1981).

Even though the misconception persists that AD/HD is the result of permissive parenting or junk food diets, numerous studies have been done that indicate a neurological basis for the disorder. However, socio-cultural fac-

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