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ADHD Causes: Low Birth Weight

Many factors play a role in triggering attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, making it difficult to isolate and identify each and every potential cause. Some of these triggers can start affecting the child as early as pregnancy and birth!  Recently, a number of studies have discovered that low birth weight can be a very important risk factor for ADHD and other long-term psychiatric conditions of children.

A baby is said to have low birth weight if he or she weighs less than 5 pounds,8 ounces at birth; the average newborn baby weighs 7 pounds.  The most common cause of low birth weight is premature birth, which means that the baby spent less time growing in the mother's uterus. Another common cause of low birth weight is intrauterine growth restriction. Due to problems with the placenta, birth defects, or the mother's health, the baby has problems growing well during pregnancy. Low birth weight is a serious concern because it may lead to infection, breathing problems, neurologic problems like hemorrhage in the brain, and gastrointestinal problems.   Just as serious as these immediate concerns are the long-term neurological problems experienced by children with low birth weight.  It is likely that these long-term problems may have been caused by the complications of having low birth weight.

A study released in 1997 showed that babies born with low birth weight were four times more likely to exhibit psychiatric or behavioral problems during their adolescent years.  These problems included depression, anxiety, poor social skills, and learning problems. ADHD or ADD – which the researchers found in many premature children besides the sample group – was present in 26% of the children. A similar study done by Michigan State University discovered that children with low birth weight seemed to have shorter attention spans and more attention problems in school than normal birth weight babies.  The low birth weight group also had poorer academic performance and lower test scores, and exhibited more delinquent behavior or withdrawn behavior.

Although the past cannot be undone, there is still a chance that low birth weight children with ADHD can recover from the disorder. Remember that the causes of ADHD do not work in isolation; if low birth weight was the sole cause of ADHD, then all low birth weight children would have it!  But there are some low birth weight children who grow up to be perfectly normal. This is because there are many other factors that may have triggered ADHD besides low birth weight.   These include – but are not limited to – poor nutrition, food allergies, lifestyle choices, and exposure to toxins. 

The key to recovering from ADHD is to identify all these triggers and to create a treatment plan designed to correct them. In the UnRitalin Solution, we go through a seven-level evaluation process when we meet children with ADHD for the first time. This process is made up of an extensive series of interviews and tests to determine what exactly may be causing the disorder.  Only then do we apply a strategic healing plan so your child can overcome ADHD safely and naturally.