Does your ADHD child often have a runny nose, a history of lots of ear infections, eczema or asthma? If the answer is “Yes”, there is a good chance that allergies could be causing the ADHD symptoms.
A lot of people, even some doctors, don’t know that the same allergy cells that are in the nose causing the runny nose or in the lungs causing asthma are also found in the brain. So you really can have brain allergies. These allergy cells are called Mast Cells and they are found everywhere in the body and the brain. That’s why allergies can manifest in so many different ways.
When Mast Cells are activated they release Histamine and other allergy and inflammatory chemicals. This is why you might take an antihistamine. Histamine not only causes allergy symptoms but is considered to be a neurotransmitter as well. Just like Serotonin, Epinephrine (adrenaline) and Dopamine, Histamine sends messages throughout the nervous system and to the brain. That’s why allergies can cause ADHD symptoms.
According to the medical journal, The Annals of Allergy, children with allergies perform less successfully in school, across the board, than children who do not have allergies. This makes perfect sense once you realize that Histamine can send nervous system messages to the brain. The child may be trying to sit still, concentrate and behave but the constant release of Histamine just doesn’t allow that to happen.
The Annals of Allergy article stressed how significantly allergies can affect learning by making the statement that kids with allergies should not be required to take their final exams if they have allergies to pollens in the air at that time, unless the allergies are completely under control. That is a pretty strong statement but they were just making the point that allergies have such an enormous affect on learning.
Watch this short video to see the effects of allergies and ADHD.
Dr. Mary Ann Block