ADHD Causes & Risk Factors: Is it Genetic?

According to the CDC, approximately 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood, several factors are considered responsible. If you think you have ADHD, here are some of the causes and risk factors.

ADHD And Genetics

ADHD often runs in families, and in most cases, children inherit ADHD from their parents. Research suggests that parents and siblings of children with ADHD are more likely to have ADHD. 

According to WebMD, between one-third and one-half of parents with ADHD have a child with the disorder. If a parent has ADHD, their child has more than a 50 percent chance of inheriting it. Meanwhile, if an older sibling has ADHD, a sibling has more than a 30 percent chance.

To find out if ADHD runs in your family, use GoLookUp to search for family members. GoLookUp, an information lookup site, makes it easy for users to find a relative, as well as addresses, phone numbers, and contact information. If you think you have ADHD, reaching out to family members can help you find answers.

Risk Factors

Children born premature or at a low birth weight have a higher chance of being diagnosed with ADHD. The same is true for children who have experienced head injuries to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for impulses and emotions.

Additionally, when a mother has a difficult pregnancy, their child is more likely to have the disorder. Studies show that women who smoke or drink alcohol during their pregnancy are more likely to have a child with ADHD. 

Research suggests that certain toxics can interfere with brain development during pregnancy. Exposure to toxins like lead, PCB, and pesticides may lead to hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and difficulty paying attention.

Children with epilepsy or brain damage are also more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Brain damage can happen in the womb or after a severe head injury after childhood.

Brain Function And Structure

Researchers report numerous differences between the brains of people with ADHD and those without the condition. However, the exact significance of these differences remains unclear.

For instance, brain scans reveal that certain areas of the brain may be smaller in people with ADHD, while other areas may be larger. Certain areas of the brain are more or less active in children with ADHD than children without the disorder.

Some studies suggest that people with ADHD may have an imbalance of neurotransmitters, whereas others report that neurotransmitters work differently in people with ADHD. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for sleep, mood, attention, and learning, may also play a role.

Treating ADHD

If ADHD interferes with your ability to function in day-to-day life, seeking treatment is imperative. Treatment for ADHD can relieve the symptoms, reduce stress, and make it easier to focus. ADHD is typically treated using medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

Individuals with ADHD don’t always share the same experience, so finding the right therapist for ADHD is essential. Some people with ADHD are primarily inattentive. Meanwhile, others are hyperactive and impulsive, and some present both types of symptoms. The professional child psychologists and psychiatrists at The Ross Center can work with your child to help you identify the best treatment plan for long-term success.

If you think you or your child may have ADHD, reach out to your general practitioner. While your GP cannot diagnose ADHD, they will listen to your concerns and refer you to a specialist if needed. Although living with ADHD can feel draining, therapy can help you learn how to cope and stay positive.

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