Is The ADHD Epidemic A Symptom Of Modern Life?

Posted on July 12, 2016

Perhaps the perceived rise in disruptive behaviour and inattentiveness shares its roots with the rise of the contentious psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The controversy with ADHD is that it is viewed as being on the same continuum as “normality", and there is a social determination about where we choose to draw the line between normal and abnormal. One woman’s shyness is another woman’s social anxiety disorder. A naughty boy in one society has a conduct disorder in another.

This overwhelming increase in ADHD diagnosis is a hotly debated issue. Some suggest physician over-diagnosis, vested drug-company interests, and the “psycho-pathologising" of childhood as key factors. Another theory is that some schools are keen to have poor-performing children receive the diagnosis because their exam results will then be excluded from annual performance evaluations.

However there may also be environmental factors implicated in the rising incidence and one very important potential environmental factor is diet.

A study published in The Lancet in 2007 used a rigorously controlled double-blind experiment that effectively demonstrated a definitive link between certain food additives and hyperactivity in young children. These findings prompted the UK’s Food Regulatory Agency to step in to encourage food manufactures to refrain from including the problematic ingredients in their products. The ingredients implicated in hyperactivity are known collectively as the “Southampton six" – after the university where the research was undertaken.

Anything that can reduce inattentiveness and impulsivity in the classroom will improve how well students learn. But before we consider psychiatric diagnoses and pharmaceutical interventions, let’s consider diet and possible food-related interventions.


Category(s):Adult ADHD

Source material from The National


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