Data has recently shown just how powerfully external conditions can affect ADHD. Higher elevations seem to be correlated with fewer cases of ADHD, something that is corroborated by the fact that Nevada, which has an average elevation of 5,517 feet, boasts only a 5.6% diagnosis rate. By comparison, the US at large has an average elevation of 2,500 feet and a diagnosis rate of 9.5%.
The link between the two might lie in the diminishing levels of oxygen at higher altitudes. Studies show that as oxygen levels decrease, dopamine levels increase, which drives the risk of ADHD development down.
Presently, ADHD drugs aim to increase dopamine. Children taking time off of medication, which is typically known as a stimulant holiday, could benefit from doing so during a trip to a place of higher elevations, mitigating the effects on the individual and family at large.
According to two recent studies surveying the relationship with ADHD and elevation, it was found that a 1 foot increase in elevation correlates to a 0.001% decrease in likelihood of diagnosis.
It should be noted that the data was retrieved from a study designed to show the effects of high altitude, which poses a limitation. In addition, children were not clinically evaluated, and a variety of factors ailments create ADHD-like symptoms.
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