What is ADD?

If your child has been diagnosed with ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder, it is a good idea to find out as much information as possible about ADD, including the possible causes and what are the types of treatment offered.


Understanding ADD

Children who suffer from ADD are usually diagnosed with the disorder before their seventh birthday and the tell-tale signs of ADD, include:

  •   The child’s inability to concentrate for a long span of time;
  •   Unable to focus or remain alert;
  •   Inattentiveness;
  •   Extreme hyperactivity;
  •   Impulsive and rash behaviour;
  •   Mood swings.

Parents as well as teachers are often at their wits ends with children who are constantly causing disruptions, and who are unable to sit still for a long period and who do not have the ability to remain focused on any one given task. In years gone by, a child who showed the symptoms of ADD was labelled as a naughty or out-of-control child and made to sit in a corner or worse, forced to endure physical punishment. Today, Attention Deficit Disorder is better understood and besides medication to treat ADD, therapy and a change in diet have proven to be effective treatments for the disorder.

Even though a lot more about ADD is known today, there is still very little information on what causes ADD. Perhaps the most common thread of the disorder is that it affects males more than females and for the most part, the symptoms are virtually always consistent. Research into the disorder has been conducted since 1902 and during this research; a number of possible causes for ADD were identified, such as:

Organic brain damage

Damage to the brain caused during birth, where the infant’s brain was starved of oxygen. This theory however was not proven and later it was established that the most common factor in ADD sufferers was a deficit in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, which is why the drug, Ritalin was able to reduce the symptoms of the disorder.

Environmental Factors

During research, much of the evidence to establish the cause of ADD pointed to the artificial colourants which are found in foods, and even fluorescent lights were said to be one of the reasons of this behavioural disorder. Drinks that contain high volumes of sugar have also been noted as being a contributing factor to the symptoms of ADD.

It is important that parents and teachers work together with doctors and therapists to come up with an effective and unique treatment plan to help children suffering with ADD. The myth that children outgrow the symptoms is just that – a myth and if the disorder is not controlled and treated during childhood, the child will grow into an adult with ADD. Before exploring how medication (such as Ritalin) can treat the disorder, parents need also explore the benefits of altering their child’s diet and attempting to exclude all artificial colourants, which are found in sweets, cereals, and drinks and switching to an all natural, preservative-free diet.


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