ADHD affects ever-increasing numbers of children and adults in the United States. Successful participation in home, work and school life is challenged by the hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention symptoms associated with ADHD.

New research continues to delve deeper into the disorder. Current ADHD studies focus on the causes of this disorder, as well as the most effective treatments.

Genetics and Brain Differences

Research on ADHD seeks to find the sources and causes of the disorder, including the genetic markers responsible for ADHD. Hundreds of thousands of genetic markers are examined in the extended families of individuals with ADHD, and the genetic makeup of family members with and without ADHD are compared. Identified genes can be examined in future ADHD studies to determine the exact mechanism of ADHD development.

A 2010 study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan suggests that children who had both a genetically-based alteration in serotonin production and a tendency toward self-blame tended to have more significant ADHD symptoms. Genetics and environment have previously been identified as ADHD causes, but this research suggests that the two can interact to produce even stronger effects.

Research on Treatment for ADHD

Researchers are continuing to look for new and effective treatments for ADHD in children and adults. Medication and behavior therapy continue to be the best-proven treatments for ADHD. Medication is successful for many individuals with ADHD, and behavior therapy is the only alternative to medication that has been universally shown to be effective. Experts are comparing the success rates of different behavioral approaches. Research continues to support the benefits of a combination treatment of ADHD medications and behavioral interventions.

Though medication has been shown to be an effective treatment, especially when combined with behavior therapy, it has outspoken opponents. Alternative treatments for ADHD continue to be examined, as parents voice concerns about the long-term use of ADHD medications, as well as their overall effectiveness. New research is examining the effects of food supplements and diet modification on ADHD symptoms, but studies have yielded mixed results so far.

Brain-wave biofeedback is a newer treatment for ADHD that operates on the principle of retraining the brain. Biofeedback uses a behavioral modification paradigm. Visual output of brain waves is presented, and individuals are rewarded for modifying their own brain activity. Some studies have found this treatment to be successful, but further examination of the technique is needed to establish its effectiveness.

Resources

ADDitude Magazine Editors. (2010). Biofeedback for ADHD. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/611.html.

Boodman, S. (2006). Alternative ADHD treatment: Behavior therapy. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/651.html.

Mears, C. (2009). New research examines genetics behind ADHD. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/1420971.

 Posted on : June 14, 2014