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Learning Difficulties and ADD/HD

An Astrological Research Paper by Gregory J. de Montfort


This paper addresses the astrological correlates of Specific Learning Disabilities, ADD and ADD/HD in the natal chart and current research findings into the biological causes of ADD/HD.


 Attention Deficit Disorder Defined:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a neurological disorder that affects children from the first months of their lives, through their school years, and into adolescence and adulthood. It may be accompanied with hyperactivity and is then known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The hallmarks of ADD are difficulties with attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, which can be in varying proportions. Individuals with the disorder have difficulty paying attention, tend to act quickly without thinking things through, rarely learn from past mistakes and have trouble sitting still for lengthy periods.

Dr. Daniel Amen, a recognised leader in the field of diagnosis of ADD and ADHD via SPECT imaging tool, has defined 7 sub types of ADD as follows:-

Type 1. AD/HD, combined type, with both symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Brain SPECT imaging typically shows decreased activity in the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex during a concentration task.

Type 2. AD/HD, primarily inattentive subtype with symptoms of inattention and also chronic boredom, decreased motivation, internal preoccupation and low energy. Brain SPECT imaging typically shows decreased activity in the basal ganglia and dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex during a concentration task.

Type 3. Overfocused ADD, with symptoms of trouble shifting attention, cognitive inflexibility, difficulty with transitions, excessive worrying, and oppositional and argumentative behavior. There are often also symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Brain SPECT imaging typically shows increased activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus and decreased prefrontal cortex activity.

Type 4. Temporal lobe ADD, with symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity and mood instability, aggression, mild paranoia, anxiety with little provocation, atypical headaches or abdominal pain, visual or auditory illusions, and learning problems (especially reading and auditory processing). Brain SPECT imaging typically shows decreased or increased activity in the temporal lobes with decreased prefrontal cortex activity. Aggression tends to be more common with left temporal lobe abnormalities.

Type 5. Limbic ADD, with symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity and negativity, depression, sleep problems, low energy, low self-esteem, social isolation, decreased motivation and irritability. Brain SPECT imaging typically shows increased central limbic system activity and decreased prefrontal cortex activity.

6. Ring of Fire ADD - many of the children and teenagers who present with symptoms of ADD have the "ring of fire" pattern on SPECT. The symptoms of this pattern tend to be severe oppositional behavior, distractibility, irritability and temper problems and mood swings. We think it may represent an early bipolar pattern.

7. Trauma Induced ADD, especially to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The symptoms come on or intensify in the year after a head injury.

Until recently, Attention Deficit Disorder was considered to be a disorder of childhood only. It is now recognised that up to 70 % of all children with ADD continue to exhibit symptoms of the disorder as adults. The condition does not always resolve in childhood as previously thought.

When ADD persists into adulthood it is often associated with secondary problems such as anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. Treatment of the problem in childhood decreases the risk of these secondary problems occurring later in life.

For diagnosis of ADD, the onset of symptoms must occur before the age of seven and persist for six months or longer. In other words, a child cannot suddenly develop ADD; rather the signs must have been present for a relatively long time.
No two individuals with ADD present exactly the same profile - i.e. a child may have poor concentration and be impulsive without being hyperactive. Since there is no "gold standard" for testing ADD (the diagnosis made is usually a differential diagnosis and one of exclusion) it is necessary to pay careful attention to the developmental history of the child and his family's history in the initial assessment. Recent technological advancements such as continuous performance tests (CTP’s) and the quantitative electroencephalograph (qEEG), Single Photon Emission Computerised Tomography (SPECT) as well as genaps are now being used to aid in the diagnosis.


ADHD/ADD is present in all populations with varying prevalence. The incidence of ADD is worldwide and figures vary because of differing criteria used for diagnosis and methods of evaluation. Research (1991) suggests that ADD affects 10-20% of the school-age population The ratio of males to females in the general population is 3:1; in clinical populations it varies from 6:1 to 9:1 due to a referral bias. The condition is often recognised later in life for girls. ADHD referrals contribute up to 30-40% of all clinic referrals. There is a greater prevalence in adopted and foster children due to the higher prenatal risk factors associated with ADHD such as drug abuse and mental illness among those who give their children up for adoption or have their children removed from their homes. Worldwide the incidence is:











New Zealand


United Kingdom




(Dr Anna Orgill 1995)

Research with twins in Australia (Levy and Hay 1995) indicates a 91% concordance of ADHD in monozygotic (identical) twins. Similar studies worldwide (Biederman et al 1992; Faraone et al 1993; Gillis 1992; Dykman & Ackerman 1991) also reflect the same ratio. Dizygotic twins have the same concordance as other siblings. The concordance for other siblings is between 30 and 40% depending on who you believe.

DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria for ADHD in Children and The Anticipated Astrological Correlates

DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria

Astrological Correlates

Actual cases of study corresponding (%)

Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat (adolescents and adults may describe a feeling of restlessness).

Mercury, Gemini, Virgo and in challenging aspect to Uranus


Has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.

Gemini, Virgo, challenging aspects between Mercury and Mars


Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.

Mercury/Pisces, challenging aspects between Mercury and Neptune perhaps Mars


Has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities.

Aries or Leo, Sun, Mercury or Mars in first house


Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed.

Sagittarius, Mercury sometimes Pisces and Gemini


Has difficulty following through on instructions from others e.g. fails to complete tasks.

Mercury/Pisces, challenging aspects between Mercury and Neptune


Has difficulty sustaining attention in task or play activities.

Mercury/Pisces, challenging aspects between Mercury and Neptune


Often shifts from one unfinished activity to another.

Gemini, Cancer - moon in Gemini, challenging aspects between Moon/Uranus


Has difficulty playing quietly.

Aries, Leo,


Often talks excessively.

Mercury in Gemini, Virgo, or Sagittarius in aspect to Jupiter


Often interrupts or intrudes on others eg. butts into other children's games or adult conversations.

Pluto/Mars in challenging aspect to Mercury and/or Sun in Gemini or Virgo


Often loses/forgets things necessary for tasks or activities at home or at school (, pencils, books, sports gear, assignments).

Mercury/Pisces, challenging aspects between Mercury and Neptune


Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences (not for the purpose of thrill seeking) eg. runs into the street without looking.

Aries, Sun or Mars in aspect to Jupiter


Eight of the above must be present to make a diagnosis of ADD.

It must be understood that this is a very broad area of study, and that the rate of comorbidity of these disorders is very high encompassing many specialist fields.

Research So Far

There is quandary here which needs to be resolved.

This quandary lies in connecting the astrological idea of consciousness to the myriad neuronal connections constellating in the human brain as would appear to be the case from current knowledge and application of quantitative encephlagraphic (gEEG) techniques, (SPECT) and brain mapping.

That is, the correlation of behavioural problems associated with specific areas of brain dysfunction. Neurotoxic effects can certainly be considered as external - yet of course they manifest internally with an outward projection of dysfunction. Without proper brain function, we cannot hope to achieve optimal performance and truly be ourselves - and this optimisation hinges largely on diet.

With proper nutrition, the human body is largely self- repairing and the modern Western diet is loaded with chemical additives in the form of colourings, flavour enhancers and preservatives. Junk foods particularly - because of the large quantities of these chemicals, is to most of the population, neurotoxic, and hence cause behavioural changes. This is especially evidenced in the food sensitivities detected in those diagnosed with ADD, ADHD or specific learning difficulties and interferes with the process of individuation by distracting or perverting the natural direction of the mind.

In essence, the brain itself can be considered the hardware, and consciousness the software. These toxins interfere with the wiring of the hardware along which consciousness finds expression.

The effect of these foods on food sensitive individuals is certainly perception and mood altering - and hence involved with the Moon, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus, but the co-morbidity existent with ADD and SLD is very broad spectrum, with considerable overlap, and thus leaves very little we can correlate astrologically.

It has been stated by some that Retrograde Mercury in the natal chart is an indicator of ADD, but in studies of over 250 bona fide ADD sufferers, less than 10% of these charts have a retrograde Mercury - so that is less an incidence than the occurance of Mercury Retrograde in the general population given that Mercury is frequently retrograde.

A retrograde Mercury does NOT occur in ALL INSTANCES of Learning Difficulties and should be discounted as a specific factor.

Quite surprisingly in this study, a preponderance of Earth by chart planetary distribution is the only commonality I have observed in my continuing researches into ADD/HD, but of course I do not believe that this is the only contributing factor.

Given that it has been proven that certain foods have correlative mood and behaviour altering properties, and that in hundreds of chemical experiments it has been observed that the metal ions corresponding to planets forming aspects in the sky behave differently, - it may well be that the astrological correlation to ADD/HD can be found in this area of research. The work of Candace Pert Ph.D. a biochemist would indicate that emotions occcur at the cellular and molecular level in the form of neuropeptides flowing and or concentrating or 'blocking' at receptors in our nervous system.


Findings of This Study


















Comments, please email Gregory J de Montfort