Bad Parenting Not To Blame For ADHD, Experts Confirm Brain Structure Is Different In Kids With ADHD

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 17, 04:00 am

Too often, bad parenting has been blamed for kids exhibiting symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A new study reveals, however, that ADHD is not a behavioral issue. It is a result of an actual brain disorder as experts found five underdeveloped regions in the brain among people with ADHD.

Researchers, whose findings were published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, examined data from previous ADHD studies around the world. It covered 1,713 people with ADHD and 1,529 without ADHD from ages four to 63.

Experts looked into the MRI scans of the participants to check the regions associated with ADHD development. They learned that in people with ADHD, five important regions of the brain — amygdala, caudate nucleus, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and putamen — were smaller and underdeveloped compared to those who were not diagnosed with ADHD, CNN reports.

Research also saw the brain structure difference in people with ADHD as greater in children than in adults and despite taking medication to control the behavioral symptoms of ADHD, the brain structure difference was present and constant among them. Thus, experts concluded ADHD is not a result of bad parenting. It is a brain disorder.

"We hope that this will help to reduce the stigma that ADHD is just a label for difficult children or caused by poor parenting," study author Dr. Martine Hoogman said, according to the Telegraph. "This is definitely not the case, and we hope that this work will contribute to a better understanding of the disorder."

Experts have long suspected that ADHD is a brain disorder. The new findings, however, sheds more light on the condition as it presented new evidence linking ADHD to the accumbens, amygdala and hippocampus brain regions.

"The bigger story here is that alterations in amygdala have not been widely accepted as part of ADHD, so seeing that effect emerge here is quite interesting," psychiatry professor Joel Nigg told CNN. "These findings would suggest that it's possible that there's actually a more primary disturbance in emotional processing," Professor Dr. Jonathan Posner said in the same report. Both experts are not part of the study.

Some 10.2 percent of children are diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, according to CDC. More boys develop the condition than girls and at least two-thirds of the children deal with this condition well into their adulthood.

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