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Causes of ADHD

Causes of ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in children and adults. Although most often diagnosed in childhood, the symptoms of ADHD are the same for all ages and typically present as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, all of which can affect the ways a person performs in school or work, their relationships, and negatively impact their self-esteem.

While ADHD is so common, there are many people who still do not wholly understand this disorder despite likely knowing somebody who has it. Understanding ADHD can not only help people understand those around them, but also help people to get the care and support they need should they or somebody they love develop ADHD.

Common Causes of ADHD

As with most disorders, people often look to understand the causes of the disorder so that they might prevent themselves or their loved one from getting it. That being said, the causes of ADHD are a little more nuanced than most disorders. There is still speculation about the true cause of ADHD. While a single, certain cause is unknown, there are a number of causal factors that have been identified to be risk factors for predicting and explaining the development of ADHD in some people and not others.

Genetics: ADHD can run in families and some studies have indicated that genes may play a role in the development of ADHD.

Environment: There are environmental factors that may increase the risk of ADHD. Toxious chemicals that affect a child's development may put them not only at a risk for other illnesses, but also for the development of ADHD.

Developmental Problems: Issues during development, especially those affecting the central nervous system, can play a key role in the development of ADHD.

Prenatal Problems: Difficulties during pregnancy, as well as expecting mothers using alcohol and other substances while pregnant, can increase the likelihood of the child developing ADHD. Being born prematurely can also put a child at risk for developing ADHD.

While these factors have been linked to ADHD, there is no certainty that children exposed to these factors will develop the disorder. In fact, there are many people with ADHD that have no family history, and have never experienced any of the aforementioned environmental or developmental risk factors.

Illnesses, Injuries, & ADHD

Along with the more common risk factors associated with ADHD, there is also research showing that early-life injuries can also lead to the development of ADHD. In a longitudinal study that followed children from the ages of 5-14, it was found that the more ER visits that a child had in their early life, the more likely they were to develop ADHD.

Traumatic brain injuries and other brain-related illnesses can also be major risk factors for ADHD.

Signs and Symptoms Of ADHD

The signs and symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person, but there are a number of common signs and symptoms of ADHD.

  • Impulsivity
  • Disorganization
  • Poor Time Management
  • Problems Focusing
  • Inability to Multitask
  • Restlessness
  • Problems Sticking to Plans
  • Low Frustration Tolerance
  • Mood Swings
  • Problems Following Tasks
  • Quick to Anger or Frustrate
  • Poor Stress Management

People with ADHD may exhibit one or many of these symptoms with various severities. While almost every person experiences at least one of these symptoms at some point in their life, not everyone has ADHD. It is only when these symptoms are persistent and are disruptive to normal life functions that these symptoms are considered indicators of ADHD.

Types of ADHD

While ADHD often presents as a mixture of inattentive and hyperactive symptoms, there are actually three different types of ADHD depending on the symptoms present – each resulting in different treatment needs.

Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Characterized by a person's inability to focus, follow directions, complete tasks, or even follow daily routines, this presentation can look like a person who is given a list of tasks for the week and cannot complete them because they both forget, and cannot focus long enough to complete their assigned tasks.

Predominantly Hyperactive Presentation: This ADHD subtype is characterized by fidgeting, excessive talking, inability to sit still, intense restlessness, and even impulsivity. These people may interrupt, lack social cues in conversation, and unknowingly be constantly moving around.

Combination Presentation: In this presentation style there is a near equal combination of both hyperactive and inattentive symptoms present. This may look like a person who is both unable to complete tasks, but also is fidgety and talks non-stop.

Most people with ADHD fit into these subcategories and knowing which one a person is in can affect not only their diagnosis but also the course of their treatment.

What Does Not Cause ADHD

There are many myths about the causes of ADHD. Whether it be pseudoscience, well-intentioned ignorance, or blatant misinformation behind these myths, it is important to recognize them so that you know better than to believe them.

Poor Parenting: People with ADHD are not a result of poor or neglectful parenting. While poor parenting can cause psychological problems for children, there is no direct correlation between ADHD and poor parenting.

Gender: Many people believe that boys are the only people who develop ADHD. This is not true. It is believed that girls are often less diagnosed than boys due to the severity of symptoms presented.

Diet: There is no connection between any dietary choices and the development of ADHD. Conversely, there is little evidence that any dietary choices can alleviate ADHD.

Childhood Vaccinations: There is no evidence that there is any link between childhood vaccines or medications causing ADHD.

Managing ADHD

For many people, ADHD is not something that they can ignore and hope to cope with on their own. Many people need behavioral, therapeutic, or medical intervention in order to manage their symptoms. Of course, here at SUN Behavioral, Columbus we encourage all people who suspect that they or a loved one have ADHD get professional help for their ADHD and related challenges. That being said, we also recognize that there are a number of at-home management tools that people can use to mitigate their symptoms and complement their other therapies.

It is always recommended that people with ADHD schedule a regular exercise regimen to help combat the excessive hyperactivity and help to focus their mind. People with ADHD can also learn to identify the most distracting factors in their life and eliminate them when they are trying to focus. This might look like an office worker removing their phone, a bouncy ball, and a distracting lamp and organizing the rest of the office in order to make the space they work in more compatible with the needs of their disorder.

ADHD Care at SUN Behavioral, Columbus

Nearly 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults in the US deal with ADHD every day. If you or somebody you love are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above in a way that is constantly disrupting your life and making day-to-day life difficult then it may be wise to seek help from professionals. SUN Behavioral, Columbus can help.

At SUN Behavioral, Columbus our highly experienced staff are ready to help you find a treatment plan that meets your needs and helps you manage your ADHD. At SUN we offer two treatment options for ADHD. To learn more about our ADHD specific intensive outpatient programs or our ADHD specific partial hospitalization programs call us at 614-706-2786 to get started today.

FAQs About Causes Of ADHD

What are the 3 causes of ADHD?

Three possible causes of ADHD are genetics, environmental factors, and prenatal issues.

Are you born with ADHD or do you develop it?

Both are possible. While people can be genetically predisposed to ADHD, there are also factors like environmental issues and injury that can lead to the development of ADHD.

What are 3 signs of ADHD? 

Three common signs of ADHD are an inability to focus, mood swings, and impulsivity.

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