Being playful, loud, and inattentive are all part of being a child. Look back at your own childhood and try to remember a time when you sat attentively without fidgeting in church or didn’t daydream while in school. Chances are, you probably had a hard time sitting still and behaving the way grown-ups did. The fact is that it’s normal for children to be excited, dreamy, and energetic. But when those behaviors prevent a child from functioning normally, he or she may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD. So why do some children develop ADHD while others don’t? Is there such a thing as a “type” of child that develops ADHD?

The science of epidemiology has shown that between 5-10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD. As a parent, is there a way to know whether your child has a risk to develop ADHD?

If you look at medical journals, you’ll find that a lot of studies are suggesting that genetic factors are the culprit behind ADHD. There is a 75 – 91% chance that an individual suffering from ADHD will pass on similar symptoms to their children or their children’s children. Although researchers have not been able to find a “single ADHD gene”, science has shown that genetics definitely play a role in ADHD. But this doesn’t mean that genetics is the sole factor that causes ADHD. If you look at ADHD from the perspective of the UnRitalin Solution, you’ll understand that genetics is simply a loaded gun, and that the child’s environment plays a key role in triggering the condition. It is the environment that press the trigger of the loaded gun.

As a holistic practitioner, my objective is to understand the many factors, beyond genetics, that can participate to the development of ADHD. Those factors are what we call “risk factors”, and they give us clues as to whom (and why) someone may develop ADHD.

When a child comes to me for evaluation, the first thing I do is interview his or her parents and ask about the developmental history, family history, home and school environment, and even the child’s prenatal experience and birth. For example, a child born through C-section instead of a natural birth is at higher risk for developing ADHD because their primitive neurological reflexes were not activated the way they would have been in a vaginal birth. Scientific studies have also shown that there is a relationship between children with ADHD and alcohol consumption or exposure to cigarette smoke during pregnancy. If the mother was exposed to toxins – like for example mercury from amalgam fillings – during pregnancy, this may have also contributed to the development of ADHD or other learning disorders in the child.

Children who watch a lot of television or spend hours playing video games are also at higher risk of developing ADHD. This is not to say that TV and Nintendo cause the condition, but they certainly aggravates it.

Diet and nutrition also play an important role in triggering or preventing ADHD. Several studies have shown that children with ADHD are also deficient in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Potato chips, candy, and other industrially manufactured foods like frozen pizzas are more available today than they were years ago, which probably contributes to why more and more children are diagnosed with ADHD. Unfortunately, medical doctors often gloss over nutrition’s role in aggravating ADHD and are quick to prescribe Ritalin rather than suggest a complete lifestyle change.

Unfortunately, and although there are many factors that can cause or participate to the development of ADHD, it is impossible to predict beforehand who will suffer from ADHD or not. What you can do as a parent is to learn and understand the many factors that can trigger ADHD and create a lifestyle that reduces them as much as possible.