What are the biological factors that are affected in order to be labeled with the disorder "ADD" or "ADHD"?
I actually wrote a LONG elaborate response but before it could post, my answer was erased (very frustrating!) b/c I think I accidentally clicked cancel and return.
At any rate, before I answer this, let me give you my background. I have had ADHD all my life and as adult was reevaluated and I have been diagnosed as having AD/HD of the combined type (i.e., I have both ADD and ADHD) so my take on the subject is based on my experience. I am a law school graduate, mother of 2 (have a 3 year old and a 10 month old son), wife (husband is a dentist... in fact, recently discovered a few years back he possibly has always had ADD) and I am preparing to take the California Bar Exam (the HARDEST bar in the country by far) for the 3rd time--missed it by 16 points (I now am on Adderall, 30 mg daily, in fact this is day 2 of my medication b/c I never EVER took medications before, even though it probably would have helped... was very successful being stubborn and determined and did not take advantage of the "extra time" you can received to balance out the playing field on test until my second year of law school).
Knowing my background, please note that I am not perfect, I am not the EXPERT on ADHD nor am I claiming to have all the answers. However, I think my perspective does account for something! :-)
I was ALWAYS concerned about the biological factors affected with ADHD, especially considering that I have children and I was concerned passing on the diagnoses to them. From the research I have read, most professionals (health care, educational professionals, psychiatrist, and others who study ADHD) can not concretely place any biological factors for certain on ADHD.
There are of course neurological factors that are associated with both ADD and ADHD, as it is our brain that is effected, AND there is a lot of evidence to suggest there being a relationship between biological factors and ADHD, but it is not something that can say be avoided by taking care of yourself a certain way in pregnancy.
My mother could not have done something DIFFERENTLY to avoid, per say, me having ADHD. I am the oldest of 4 siblings, yet I was the only one with ADHD. I was extra careful in my pregnancies because I was so concerned about everything and I wanted healthy children, but even modernly (as my children were born in 2006 and 2008), there was not much out there to suggest that I could prevent OR cause my offspring to have the disorder.
I have been blessed in a sense because I had overtime learned how to cope with it and be successful (my parents were very religious and did not believe in ADHD medicine or even that I had it coming up). By the time I was a teen, I still refused medication and in college, I just settled on average grades and test results because I refused to take advantage of the things that are out there to assist those of us with ADD, ADHD, or like myself, of the combined type (AD/HD) and I have the TEXTBOOK case of AD/HD.
A good reference, though over 20 years old, is this paper that was written in 1988 by Arthur D. Anastopoulous and Russel A. Barkley. Feel free to Google it, there are lots of cross references and good sources from it that may help answer your question more thoroughly.
I hope what I typed helped. My boys are very young so some may suggest it is too early to know if they have or will have ADHD, however, with modern medicine and technology, I completely disagree. Neither of them have problems thus far that I, and others like myself, experienced all my life. They both focus well, do not have issues with things such as being fidgety, excessive, not listening, or the other factors that many of us with ADHD have. Grant it, they are VERY young, but even now, their attention span, attention to detail, etc is so amazing to me.
If you ( or anyone reading this) would like to know more in depth info about me or my experience, I am open to share because I embrace my ADHD and that is not something I have embraced most of my life. I was ashamed, scared and felt WEIRD as if something was wrong with me. There is not, I am amazing and so are all of you. It is sort of a gift, I think, because most of us are the most brilliant people you would ever meet.
A lot of people learn something short term, or long term, and then forget it later. However, when we (ADHD diagnosed) MASTER something, we got it. It may take us longer because our minds wonder and go about things differently, but it is truly amazing. I have come to realize that the medications (if properly used and administered) and the extra time, among other things granted to us does not give us an advantage, it just levels out the playing field so that our brains can for a second stop being extraordinary and become ordinary so we can get down to the levels of others who do not think the way we do.
I hope all have a blessed day and I hope I answered the question to the satisfaction of the person who posted it. I don't think there are many, if any, biological factors affected by ADHD outside of the neurological effects that are associated with the diagnoses in the first place.
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