Understanding ADHD – 1: What causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Understanding ADHD – 1: What causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type, which is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, certain cases of ADHD may not involve hyperactivity or impulsivity. Generally, it begins in childhood and continues to persist in adulthood.

ADHD is more common in boys as compared to girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11 percent of children in the age group of 4-17 years were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011.

The symptoms of ADHD usually impact two or more areas of an individual’s life, such as home, work, school and social life. It interferes with the child’s ability to function normally and develop as an individual.

As part of our series “All about ADHD,” we discuss the common symptoms as well as causes of the disorder in the first article. The series aims at helping one develop an understanding of ADHD as a mental disorder.

Symptoms of ADHD

Mental health experts have divided the symptoms of ADHD into three major categories as mentioned below:

  1. Inattentiveness: A person suffering from ADHD is unable to perform a task, finds it difficult to focus and is highly unorganized. Common symptoms in this category include:
    • Not paying attention to details
    • Poor focus during tasks/games
    • Lack of attention when spoken to directly
    • Incomplete tasks
    • Poor organizing skills
    • Lazy in completing the tasks that require mental effort
    • Easily distracted
    • Inability to remember things
  1. Hyperactivity: In some cases, a person with ADHD can be excessively active, even in situations when it is not required. In adults, such behavior generally wears others out. Its common symptoms include:
    • Fidgeting
    • Leaving the seat when not required
    • Running or climbing even when one should not
    • Inability to work quietly
    • Acting mostly “on the go”
    • Talking continuously all the time
  1. Impulsivity: In this category, people with ADHD take hasty actions that have the potential to cause harm. They interrupt others’ actions and take decisions without thinking about their long-term consequences. A few common symptoms are:
    • Answering before listening to the complete question
    • Inability to wait for their turn
    • Interrupt others

Causes of ADHD

The exact causes of ADHD are not yet known. However, various studies have concluded that the following factors could be the major causes of ADHD:

  1. Genetics: It is believed that parents with ADHD are likely to transfer the gene causing ADHD to their kids. Research has proven that parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are four to five times more likely to have the condition themselves.
  1. Brain structure: An imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters or other brain chemicals is one of the most probable factors causing ADHD. A number of other studies conducted have also shown that the brain of a kid with ADHD might take an average of two to three years longer to mature as compared to children without ADHD.
  1. Toxic substances: Pregnant women who smoke tobacco products or consume alcohol during pregnancy are likely to cause behavioral, learning and other developmental issues in their children. Another factor is the presence of high levels of lead in preschool kids, which impacts the development of the brain tissue and, therefore, the behavior of the children.
  1. Brain injury: Any form of injury to the brain due to an accident, tumor, stroke or disease can lead to problems, such as inattention and poor regulation of motor activity and impulses.

Cure for ADHD

Talking to the child suffering from ADHD and understanding his/her requirements is essential before beginning the treatment. If you know someone suffering from ADHD or any other form of mental illness, Sovereign Mental Health Services can assist you. Contact us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 954-0529 or chat online to know about our mental health centers in California and other states of the U.S.

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