How many times have you heard well-meaning people
try and pinpoint the ‘cause’ of your ADHD? “Not enough
discipline at home”. “Too much TV”. “Too many computer games”.
“Too many food additives”.
This last myth was started in America when a Professor of
Allergy claimed that rates of hyperactivity were increasing in
proportion to the number of additives in food. This was
championed by the press and the story spread around the world.
Clinical trials to investigate this have not proved conclusive.
According to the latest guidelines issued by the National
Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), elimination
of artificial colours and additives is not recommended as a
routine intervention for ADHD.
However if, for you, there appears to be a clear link between
specific foods or drinks and a particular behaviour pattern, you
should keep a food diary and speak to your GP about being
referred to a dietician.
Is ADHD real?
Some people believe that, because ADHD symptoms can be found in
everyone at one time or another, the disorder doesn’t really
Indeed, doctors have recorded cases of unusually inattentive
children for over a hundred years. In 1865, the German physician
Heinrich Hoffman wrote a poem ‘Fidgety Philip’ who describes a
child who cannot sit still, who wriggles and giggles, swings
back and forth on his chair and who is “restless... rude and
wild”; he exhibits many of the symptoms we have now come to
accept as helping to define ADHD.
Today, researchers are gathering more evidence about the
existence of ADHD by studying brain scans. These images suggest
there are subtle differences in the brains of those who’ve been
diagnosed with the disorder.