Causes of ADHD

What causes ADHD?

No one knows for sure. ADHD probably stems from interactions between genes and environmental or non-genetic factors.

ADHD often runs in families. Researchers have found that much of the risk of having ADHD has to do with genes. Many genes are linked to ADHD, and each gene plays a small role in the disorder. ADHD is very complex and a genetic test for diagnosing the disorder is not yet available.

Source: NIMH (NIH)1

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Back to: « ADHD

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What causes ADHD?

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Source: NIMH (NIH)2

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Causes of ADHD

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors. They are also studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Genes. Inherited from our parents, genes are the "blueprints" for who we are. Results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Researchers are looking at several genes that may make people more likely to develop the disorder.

Environmental factors. Studies suggest a potential link between a pregnant woman's cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children. In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead, which can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, have a higher risk of developing ADHD.

Brain injuries. Children who have suffered a brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. However, only a small percentage of children with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Sugar. The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)3

Causes List for ADHD

Some of the possible causes of ADHD or similar disorders may include:4

... Full Causes List for ADHD »

Genetics of ADHD

Current research suggests that ADHD has a high degree of heritability, however, the exact gene or constellation of genes that give rise to the disorder are not known. ...Source: SAMHSA (DHHS)5 ...

... More on Genetics »

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References

  1. Source: NIMH (NIH): nimh.nih.gov/ health/ publications/ attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-basics/ index.shtml
  2. Source: NIMH (NIH): nimh.nih.gov/ health/ publications/ could-i-have-adhd-qf-16-3572/ index.shtml
  3. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ spring14/ articles/ spring14pg15-16.html
  4. Source: Algorithmically Generated List
  5. Source: SAMHSA (DHHS): samhsa.gov/ disorders/ mental

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.