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Philadelphia Med Mal & Birth Injury Lawyer / Blog / Birth Injury / Can a Birth Injury Cause ADHD?

Can a Birth Injury Cause ADHD?


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Many mental disorders are often attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental factors; now, research suggests that birth injuries may be correlated with the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a mental disorder that can affect a person’s school, personal, and work life.

What Is ADHD?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines ADHD as a mental disorder that is “marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” Thus, although many people have issues focusing and paying attention, people living with ADHD experience it to a point that troubles them and greatly reduces their quality of life if left unmanaged.

Research Suggests Birth Injuries Are Correlated with ADHD
A study conducted by numerous medical researchers and doctors concluded that no less than 80% of children who live with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sustained a birth injury that affected the brain, most commonly during labor or delivery. In the study, many instances of ADHD were found to be correlated with the asphyxiation (the deprivation of oxygen at birth) of the infant for more than one minute and an excess of pressure having been placed on the infant’s brain by medical professionals via forceps or vacuum extractors.

Some other common injuries and conditions found to be linked to ADHD were:

  • Premature rupture of membranes
  • Leakage of membranes
  • Induced or accelerated labor via medication
  • Breech births or other irregular birthing positions
  • Extended labor lasting more than 18 hours
  • Short labor lasting less than three hours
  • Umbilical cord-associated asphyxia
  • Epidurals
  • Untimely cesarean section

This is not a complete list, and each of the above conditions does not always lead to injury. During the first 24-48 hours after birth, it is integral to monitor the baby for symptoms indicative of a traumatic brain injury. Please note that the sooner medical treatment is administered, the better chance at healing the baby is given.

Symptoms that may indicate an infant has suffered a brain injury include but are not by any means limited to the following:

  • Moving arms or legs asymmetrically
  • Inconsolable crying
  • Arching their back while lying on their side
  • Unable to keep food down

Childhood ADHD Symptoms

If you are concerned that your child who suffered an injury at birth may now have ADHD, there are several symptoms to look out for.

In childhood, ADHD may manifest in the following ways:

  • Persistent inattention
  • Very forgetful
  • Distracted easily
  • Excessive talking
  • Frequent fidgeting
  • Frequent emotional outbursts
  • Interrupts others often
  • Self-focused behavior
  • Often makes careless mistakes
  • Trouble with waiting their turn
  • Trouble with following through on tasks

It should be noted that many children experience a few of these symptoms, but that does not necessarily mean they have ADHD. Therefore, if you believe your child has ADHD, it is advisable to seek the help of a mental health and/or medical professional.

According to the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), an ADHD diagnosis can only be given if the child has displayed six or more symptoms of inattention, six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, these symptoms began before the age of 12, many symptoms occur in multiple settings (not just school), no other mental disorder provides a more accurate diagnosis, and the symptoms cause the child difficulty or reduce their quality of life in their eyes.

The Villari Firm Fights for Injured Children and Families

If your child suffered an injury during, prior to, or immediately after the birthing process and is now living with ADHD, you may be eligible to file a legal claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party. The Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at the Villari Firm can help you begin and guide you through every step of the legal claims process. With a proven record of success worth more than $125 million in compensatory damages for our clients and myriad accolades, why wait?

Contact The Villari Firm online or at 267-388-9429.

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