A recent Danish study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics raises new concerns about acetaminophen use by expectant mothers, linking it to a possible increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD can lead to school problems for kids, plus work and marital issues for adults. If the association this study has found proves to be substantiated by further studies, the findings could represent a significant breakthrough in prevention of this frustrating disorder.
Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever, found in popular brands such as Excedrin and Tylenol. Its safety has been well-documented and it may be used by pregnant women to relieve fevers and pain.
Five to six percent of all children will develop ADHD symptoms by age seven. Based on the study’s findings, children exposed in the womb to acetaminophen face a increased risk, that is, a risk of about seven percent.
Resesarchers Zeyan Liew, MPH; Beate Ritz, MD, PhD; Cristina Rebordosa, MD, PhD; Pei-Chen Lee, PhD; and Jørn Olsen, MD, PhD, described their findings as follows:
"More than half of all mothers reported acetaminophen use while pregnant. Children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were at higher risk for… use of ADHD medications and/or having ADHD-like behaviors at age 7 years.
Stronger associations were observed with use in more than 1 trimester during pregnancy…
Results did not appear to be confounded by maternal inflammation, infection during pregnancy, the mother’s mental health problems, or other potential confounders we evaluated."
Researchers in this study and others are contributing important clues in the search for the causes of ADHD, as ADHD can greatly influence quality of life in both children and adults.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. It is most often diagnosed in children, but it can affect adults as well. No matter what their age, people with ADHD can face difficulties ranging from the ability to learn and get along with others, to career and relationship issues. Choosing the right professional to diagnose ADHD can be challenging; however the top three are psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists.
Kids can be excitable, fidgety, talkative, and inattentive. But children with ADHD hang on to behaviors that their peers grow out of. They might be labeled as “troublemakers” for displaying ADHD symptoms, such as:
ADHD makes it difficult for people to suppress their natural responses to stimuli. Signs and symptoms of ADHD appear across all situations – home, play and school – and usually before the age of seven.
Both children and adults with ADHD can experience positive aspects of the disorder. They are often very intelligent and creative, with unique problem-solving abilities and artistic talent. People with ADHD are often motivated, energetic and fun to be around.
While life with ADHD can be fulfilling, there are also persistent myths that can be harmful to children with the disorder, such as:
Adults with ADHD often were misdiagnosed as children. They may have been ignored, or labeled “difficult.” Many manage their ADHD symptoms successfully throughout childhood, only to lose that ability once they reach adulthood, with its increasing demands and responsibilities.
For adults with ADHD, life can be chaotic. While symptoms are different for each person, there are some common behaviors:
Undiagnosed or untreated ADHD can be devastating for adults, because every part of life can be affected. Potential health problems can include compulsive eating or substance abuse issues. Other issues may include an inability to meet deadlines or hold down a job. Financial problems can ensue if spending becomes impulsive and bills aren’t paid and relationships suffer from lack of listening or perceived insensitivity.
Adults may welcome the diagnosis of ADHD because it gives them an answer to a lifelong problem. Understanding ADHD is the first step to managing symptoms and living fully. Taking care of one’s physical health can help. Eating right, exercising and getting enough rest can even out mood swings and calm the body and mind.
Practicing time management can help control procrastination, while setting reminders and alarms will overcome chronic lateness or the tendency to miss appointments. Working on listening skills can improve relationships and creating a supportive work environment can increase productivity.
The findings in this study certainly give reasons for pregnant women to increase their wariness of taking medication to reduce discomfort during pregnancy. Alternatives like increased rest, acupuncture, and even old fashioned grin-and-bear-it may prove more positive in the long run.