What Is the Cause of ADHD?

Being diagnosed with ADHD can be frustrating. You are trying to figure out why you have ADHD, manage symptoms,  and adjust to living with this condition. While the exact cause of ADHD is still unknown, several different factors can contribute to its development.

What does ADHD stand for? ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting millions worldwide. Know that you are not alone, studies found that approximately 2.2% of children globally and 2.8% of adults have ADHD. There are many options available for those seeking treatment for this condition.

In this blog post, I will explore some of these factors and provide information on treatment options for those with ADHD.


What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?


ADHD, also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder that affects people’s behaviors. Individuals with ADHD may look restless, have trouble concentrating, and often act out of impulse.

Neurodevelopmental disorders can negatively impact your quality of life. What are the symptoms of ADHD? The common symptoms include excessive talking, acting without thinking, difficulty focusing on a task, problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, and trouble multitasking are a few of the many symptoms of ADHD. That is why understanding ADHD and its causes plays a significant role in managing the condition. 


What Are the Possible Causes of ADHD?

What causes ADHD? How do you get ADHD? These questions are tricky to answer since medical experts worldwide have concluded that it is not fully understood. However, many factors point to its causes. 

The next section will cover ADHD Risk Factors and causes of ADHD. 

Research shows that ADHD brain function and structure in adults differ from those without the disorder. The prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia, which are responsible for decision-making, working memory, and goal-directed behavior, are often smaller in individuals with ADHD. 

Additionally, the posterior inferior vermis of the cerebellum, which is involved in motor control and cognitive functions, is often decreased in volume.

These brain differences can lead to difficulties in executive functioning, including organization, planning, and self-regulation.  You may ask, what causes ADHD in the brain? As we mentioned earlier, the primary cause is low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine – a neurotransmitter in the brain. Another factor that can contribute to ADHD is brain chemistry. Both are important for regulating attention and behavior. Low levels can lead to focus, organization, and impulse control difficulties.

These brain differences don’t indicate kids or adults with ADHD aren’t smart. The affected parts of their brains take a longer time to develop. However, medication and behavioral therapy can help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with ADHD.

Environmental factors can also play a role in the development of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD are more prone to substance and alcohol abuse than those with none. Studies say that 15% of adults with ADHD are typically drug or alcohol-dependent. 

Environmental exposures during pregnancy are the primary cause of ADHD in toddlers. Some examples are alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, and illegal substance abuse. These factors typically contribute to developing ADHD in children. Moreover, rare cases like accidental lead exposure increase the risks of ADHD too.

Regarding children and ADHD, Preterm infants have a higher percentage of developing ADHD later in life due to immature brain development. Moreover, children born before 39 weeks of pregnancy are more likely to develop ADHD symptoms. Therefore ADHD causes often relate to premature delivery cases. 

Additionally, some studies have suggested that a lack of physical activity or exposure to high-stress levels early in life may also increase the likelihood of developing the condition.


Can ADHD be genetic?

First, let’s talk about genetics. Research shows that people with a family history of ADHD are likelier to develop the condition. That is due to the genes that you inherit from your parents. For example, a child with ADHD has a one in four chance of having a parent with the condition, suggesting that a genetic component is associated with this disorder. While no specific gene has been identified as the cause of ADHD, it is believed that a combination of genes may increase the likelihood of developing the condition.


Can A Traumatic Brain Injury Cause ADHD?

One of the most common causes of ADHD is a traumatic brain injury or TBI. If you experience traumatic brain injury (TBI), it can have long-term effects on brain function, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). TBI-related ADHD can significantly impact an individual’s daily life, including their ability to focus, complete tasks, and regulate emotions.

Moreover, individuals who suffer from TBI may develop secondary ADHD decades later. If you or a loved one has experienced TBI and is struggling with ADHD symptoms, seeking professional help is crucial for effective management and improved quality of life.  


Are Other Mental Health Issues ADHD Risk Factors? 


Individuals with ADHD were believed to be simply “hyper” or “unfocused.” However, as we learn more about the condition, we discover that ADHD is often closely related to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Research shows that people with ADHD are 50% more likely to have an anxiety disorder and that anxiety can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Understanding this connection can help individuals with ADHD and anxiety seek effective treatment and improve their overall well-being.

ADHD and depression also often occur simultaneously. Moreover, studies say that when you have ADHD, you are four times at risk of developing depression. Depression and anxiety disorders are the primary causes of ADHD in adults. If left untreated, it could lead to suicide.

Furthermore, recent research has shown significant overlap between bipolar disorder and ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may be at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder, and the symptoms of the two conditions can be difficult to distinguish. Seeking help to recognize the connection between ADHD and bipolar disorder is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.


How Can I Treat ADHD?


While there is no cure for ADHD, several different treatment options can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

One common treatment for ADHD is medication. Stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall can help increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, improving focus and reducing impulsivity. However, these medications are not right for everyone, and they can have side effects such as insomnia, loss of appetite, and irritability.


Some other examples are:


These ADHD medications help reduce the symptoms by 70%-80%. Moreover, these meds are safe, efficient, and fast-acting. Some of these types of medications include: Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall, and Vyvanse


The non-stimulant drugs do not act as fast as stimulants. However, they can produce targeted effects within a few days. Example include Strattera, Bupropion (Wellbutrin), and Qelbree.


Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Treat My ADHD? 

Another treatment option for ADHD is therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be particularly helpful for those living with ADHD, as it can teach strategies for improving focus, organization, and time management. Additionally, therapy can help address any co-occurring mental health issues that may be contributing to ADHD symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.

Below are the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 


Can a healthy lifestyle treat ADHD?

Lifestyle changes can also be effective in managing ADHD symptoms. Regular exercise has been shown to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity, while a healthy diet can provide the nutrients needed to support healthy brain function. Additionally, establishing routines and systems for organizing tasks can reduce stress and improve productivity.

As someone who helps people manage ADHD, I know that living with this condition can be challenging. However, it is possible to manage symptoms and live a fulfilling life with the right treatment and support. Whether through medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these approaches, there is hope for those living with ADHD.


Manage ADHD With Your Preferred Schedule

While the exact cause of ADHD is still unknown, several different factors can contribute to its development, including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors. With our help, those living with ADHD can manage symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Our services offer safe and effective treatment options that work with your schedule.

You’re on the right page if you’re looking for an online psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner for your mental health needs. We offer online psychiatry to patients in San Diego, California, from the comfort of their homes

We accept various insurances and offer convenient online medication prescriptions for anxiety and depression.

During your online psychiatry visit, we will listen carefully to your concerns, provide comprehensive evaluation, and we can prescribe medications when indicated to be sent to your local pharmacy.

Don’t wait for ADHD to take over your life. If you would like help with your ADHD or a second opinion, feel free to reach out to us by self-scheduling an appointment. To self-schedule an appointment, click here

Starting your journey to a healthier mind is just one click away! You can easily schedule an appointment online or connect with us at (619) 771-0083 today.