What Causes ADHD: A Brief Guide

Because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms—impulsivity, inattention and/or hyperactivity—can negatively a child’s ability to thrive academically or get along with others, there are a lot of people who think that an ADHD child’s behavior is due to lack of discipline or other factors.

What Could Potentially Cause ADHD

The painful truth is that no one knows what causes ADHD, but there are factors that play a role. Research has postulated that ADHD may be caused by several things: 

  • Neurological functioning. A lower level of functioning in the parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling attention and activity level may cause ADHD.
  • Heredity and Genes. A child with ADHD has a 1 in 4 chance of having a parent with also has ADHD. It’s likely that another close family member, such as a sibling, will also have ADHD. In rare cases,  ADHD is diagnosed in a parent at the same time it is diagnosed in the child. 
  • Trauma to the head may cause ADHD in some cases.
  • Fetal immaturity increases the risk of developing ADHD.
  • Prenatal environmental exposures, such as alcohol or nicotine from smoking, increase the risk of developing ADHD.
  • In some cases, toxins in the environment can lead to ADHD. For instance, lead in the body can affect child development and behavior.

What Does Not Cause ADHD

One thing is for sure, as more research is carried out, not only are we learning what causes ADHD—we are also learning what does not cause it. Even though many people believe that the factors below can cause ADHD, research has concluded that it does not.

  • Watching TV
  • Diet, including too much sugar
  • Hormone disorders (such as low thyroid)
  • Poor parenting
  • Playing video and computer games

Concluding thoughts

I know that for many, my article did not give them the answers that they want. The truth is that no one has the answers. Researchers are working feverishly to find out what causes ADHD, but it looks like we will not have an answer any time soon. However, one day, when we least expect it, someone will find a cure. Until that day, we will patiently wait.

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