Emotional problems and other causes of hyperactivity

Emotional problems and other causes of hyperactivity 4

Because children with emotional problems sometimes show the same symptoms as the hyperactive child, unnecessary medication can be prescribed. Accurate diagnosis is therefore essential before treatment is started.

Lead. The discovery of lead in the blood of hyperactive children has opened a new avenue for research. It has been found that relatively low levels of lead in experimental animals as well as children result in increased activity.

High levels of lead are known to lead to brain damage and mental retardation. When you consider that it takes only a small amount of lead-based paint, for example, to raise the level of lead in the system, and that it is accumulated by the body, it can be seen that many children may have sufficiently raised lead levels to lead to hyperactivity. Lead is found in water that comes through old lead pipes, in pollution from car exhausts, paint and battery casings to name a few sources. Because lead has a slightly sweet taste, childen with pica (the tendency to eat unusual substances) will pick at flaking paint and may soon accumulate enough lead to do significant damage. If you have any reason to suspect that your child may have been exposed to lead-based paint or other sources of lead, tell your doctor and ask him to do a blood test and other tests for lead in the system.

Allergy. Some doctors have suggested that hyperactivity is an allergic reaction to substances in the child’s diet such as dyes and chemical additives in processed food. Although this has not been proved conclusively, it is worth keeping the

possibility of allergy to a particular foodstuff in mind when discussing the problem.

Smoking. Mothers who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day during pregnancy are more likely to have children who are hyperactive.

Alcohol. The foetal alcohol syndrome which is caused by the intake of alcohol during pregnancy has been associated with hyperactivity.

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