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Genetics vs Environment

April 30, 2018

You may hear people concerned about allowing their children to play video games, watch tv, or play on a tablet because if they do it too much, they will “get ADHD.” You don’t “get ADHD.” You have it, or you don’t. It’s in your genetics. However, the severity of ADHD ranges from mild to severe. And improving your environment can decrease the severity of the ADHD symptoms.

When a child is playing video games, watching tv, or otherwise engaged in electronics, that stimulus causes an increased production of certain neurotransmitters. When the child stops playing video games, the neurotransmitters decrease, but the mind is accustomed to the higher amount of neurotransmitters, and a person with ADHD will struggle maintaining attention and focus with the depletion of neurotransmitters. This is why children’s focus improves in school when electronics are removed.

Many people with ADHD have nutrition deficiencies that exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD. The most common nutrition deficiencies are omega-3 fatty acids, B-Vitamins, zinc, and magnesium, but there are others. A person can improve their environment by having proper nutrition and providing the brain all the nutrients, cofactors, and metabolites necessary for optimum brain function.

A person’s genetics affect the amount of neurotransmitters they can produce, the neurotransmitter cell receptor sites that are produced, and the lipid density of the neuron cell wall. If a person isn’t able to naturally produce a healthy amount of neurotransmitters, improving their nutrition may improve their status. However, if they simply lack the receptor sites, the best nutrition in the world will not alleviate all symptoms.

Improving the environment can improve symptoms associated with ADHD. There are many other coping skills that people can learn through Behavioral Therapy as well. But at the end of the day, while the environment can have a large impact, a person’s genetics ultimately determine the range of severity of ADHD symptoms.

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