ADHD: Biological or Developed Disorder?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a constellation of symptoms including impulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention, and difficulty with focus.
These symptoms have been researched heavily and findings reveal biological links to the disorder. For example, if a parent meets criteria for ADHD, their child is 50% more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD from an early age.
Most recently, The Journal of International Neuropsychological Society found that children (4 and 5 years old) showed a reduced volume in the cerebral cortex.
Specifically, the differences were found in brain regions associated with cognitive and behavioral regulation. These differences are less pronounced in adulthood and show that the condition can improve with age.
There is also a growing body of researchers that believe technology has had an impact on the increasing rates of ADHD in children and adults.
Access to the web and the use of smart phones and tablets have shown that instant gratification is just a few swipes away. Delayed gratification is less common due the ease of use technology provides.
Attention span is much smaller as users tend to only view video content that is short (30 sec or less) or read content for only a few sentences.
- Children and adolescents spend close to five hours online each day.
- Individuals who spend more than two hours per day are more likely to experience attention problems while individuals that spend over five hours per day are at a much higher risk for depression and suicidal ideation.
- Adults in the workforce rely heavily on their smart phones for access to their agenda and communication with colleagues. Many find it difficult to “unplug” and are at a higher risk for attention issues as well.
So, is ADHD solely a biological disorder?
More research needs to be done in order to confirm that ADHD can be developed throughout the lifespan.
The use of smart phones and other devices is correlated with symptoms of ADHD but other factors may be at play.
Research does show that children, adolescents, and adults that spend less time online and more time interacting with peers are at less risk for depression, anxiety, behavioral issues, and problems with attention.
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