ZocdocAnswersIs the cause of ADHD known?

Question

Is the cause of ADHD known?

What causes ADHD in children? Will it go away on its own?

Answer

ADHD is a behavioral disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, often diagnosed in early childhood. The causes of ADHD are still not clearly known, but it is the topic of much investigation in the medical community these days. ADHD is very likely to be caused in part by genetic factors (i.e. passed on from parents to their children in their genes). There are some differences observed in the structure of the brain between children with and without ADHD, suggesting that changes in early brain development may also play a role (this could be due to genes or to environmental exposures). There are many different food ingredients and additives currently under investigation, although there is little evidence for any of these as a cause at the present time. In summary, ADHD is very likely to be passed along in families, and likely to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but there are no certain causes yet established. The best current evidence suggests that about half of ADHD diagnosed in children will go away on its own, and about half will persist into adulthood. Treatment of ADHD, while often very effective in treating the symptoms of the disorder, has not been shown to increase or decrease the chance of children "growing out" of ADHD. Only a licensed physician can diagnose and treat ADHD with an in-person consultation; if you believe your child has ADHD or if he has already been diagnosed, you should seek the advice of a family doctor, pediatrician or psychiatrist to help manage the symptoms of the disease.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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