Prenatal Causes

Pregnancy And An Embryo. Before a human enters this world they might be genetically predispositioned to have ADHD


It is important to look at the idea of heredity and genetics when trying to understand the causes of some health and psychological issues.  Heredity and genetics can in fact increase our problems and deficits. It is important to look far back in history to understand why humans can get Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, to do this it is helpful to look at the ideas of Francis Galton a psychologist from England  as well as the ideas of Galton’s relative Charles Darwin. Francis Galton believed that human attributes having to do with intelligence occurred because of heredity and eugenics. Galton had developed this idea which was inspired by Origin of Species which was work written by Charles Darwin. Galton examined the idea of “genius” and to him this was the concept of mental qualities being exclusively dissimilar because of different levels of ability. Galton  inscribed Hereditary Talent and Character in  1865 and he was also the author of Hereditary Genius in 1869. In Francis Galton’s work Hereditary Talent and Character he essentially states that the imprint of hereditary is something that powerfully produces mental capacities and abilities such as intellectual strength and competence.

Moving through time from the 1800s to the early 1970s researchers were looking at genetic issues in regards to dysfunction. It was thought that Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD), like other intricate behavioral appearances, was most likely very heterogeneous, with susceptible genetic determinants in at least some cases. At the time of this research (Omen, 1973) epidemiological studies were needed to assess the frequencies of MBD in general population groups and among the relatives of affected children, including twins and adopted children.

Analysis of twins was conducted to investigate the presence of environmental factors such as methods of parenting and parental psychopathology and it was found  that genetic factors and not a shared environment are accountable for the most variance in ADHD symptoms, the variance was around eighty percent. (Goodman & Stevenson, 1989)

In the 1990s Biederman et al displayed in a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that people might be at risk of ADHD if they have relatives with ADHD. This study looked to assess hypotheses about familial association being linked to attention deficit disorder. Sex Differences in Genetic and Environmental  Influences on DSM-III-R Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder   was a study in 1999 that was an investigation of the degree of genetic and environmental effect on ADHD and several questions were also asked in regards to gender differences in its occurrence and responsibility. The results support the idea that genetics can activate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It was also stated that the causes of ADHD differ when comparing boys and girls.

Mother’s Drug Habits

Besides looking at genes and genetics as a cause of ADHD there has been research conducted in regards to the hazards of mothers smoking while pregnant. Studies have found that there is a relationship between prenatal smoking and activity and behavioral issues amongst children. Mothers who smoke while carrying a baby prior to pregnancy may potentially cause hyperactivity and reduced attention spans. It is interesting to note that back in the day you might have observed expectant mothers smoking in their hospital room waiting to give birth. Smoking is becoming less prevalent, it seems as though the number of smokers has shrunk over the years but even today there are instances of mothers smoking while they were pregnant.  When this occurs mothers might be harming their babies’ growth and brain development.  According to Brenda Eskenazi and her research colleague the exact impact of prenatal smoking remains unclear, they completed their research at UC Berkeley in 1999.

Leave a Reply