One of the most enduring debates in the world of psychology is the one dealing with nature versus nurture. In its essence this debate boils down to the question whether your psychological state (and your thoughts, feelings and behaviors) is primarily determined by your genes (nature) or your environment (nurture). This is obviously not an issue that I will be able to solve in a short article! It is, however, interesting to note how this debate plays out when it comes to ADD/ADHD. I would also like to showcase some research that is bringing the ‘accepted’ wisdom in this area into question.
Up to now the consensus was that ADHD is caused almost exclusively by genetic factors. This is the belief that was very energetically pushed by the major drug companies as it implies that the condition cannot be effectively addressed by changes in the environment of the person dealing with ADHD. Instead, they would have us believe, medication should be used to straighten out the problems caused by nature. Pushing this belief was obviously a very profitable move by the drug companies, as is evidenced by their record profits that they have earned from drugs designed to address attention problems. However, this notion (that ADHD is all down to nature and not nurture) is being challenged by a groundbreaking new study.