A link I’ve long suspected has now been confirmed by scientists: Children who come from homes with troubling conditions are more likely to have ADHD than their peers from non-troubled homes.
The parent survey analysis showed ADHD has the strongest connection with economic hardship, divorce, familial mental illness, neighborhood violence, and familial incarceration. More severe cases of ADHD were tied most strongly with economic hardship and familial mental illness.
Children who deal with situations like these can develop toxic levels of stress, which can impair their brain development, behavior, and overall physical and mental health.
This is another reason it’s so important to look at a complete picture when it comes to mental health. For someone dealing with stressors at home as well as ADHD, it would be easy to confuse responses to stress with ADHD symptoms. We need to be sure we’re treating the symptoms from the most informed perspective about where they’re coming from.
Your child’s general practitioner may not know to ask these questions when a child shows signs of ADHD. Make sure you’re involving a specialist when it comes to helping your child with his or her mental health.
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.