Last updated:

December 26, 2023


 min read

Causes and Risk factors of ADHD

Explore ADHD causes and risk factors—genetics, environmental influences, and familial dynamics. This understanding shapes personalized interventions, aiding accurate diagnosis and enriching lives affected by ADHD.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not limited to children; it can persist into adulthood, affecting millions of adults worldwide. ADHD can bring challenges in various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and daily functioning. While conventional treatments like medication and therapy are commonly prescribed, some adults with ADHD explore alternative options, such as homeopathic remedies. However, one thing is certain: there are many highly successful people who have ADHD.

Understanding ADHD in Adults

Adult ADHD is often misunderstood and overlooked, leading to individuals grappling with symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and disorganization. These symptoms can cause significant distress, affecting productivity and overall well-being. Despite the misconception that ADHD is exclusive to children, it is increasingly recognized as a prevalent condition in adults.

Common ADHD symptoms in adults include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus.
  • Impulsive behaviour and poor impulse control.
  • Restlessness and an inability to sit still.
  • Forgetfulness and disorganisation.

ADHD can be a lifelong challenge, and for many adults, it's essential to explore various treatment options, including alternative approaches.

Causes and Risk factors  of ADHD

Whether you know your child has ADHD (also known as ADD) or believe he or she has, you may be wondering what causes ADHD. The specific cause of this common condition is unknown to researchers. However, studies have revealed a number of aspects that may contribute to it.

Let's learn more about possible causes of ADHD:


While it is evident that genetics play a role in ADHD, identifying the specific genes implicated in this complex condition is a work in progress. Potential ADHD contributors, many of which are involved in neurotransmitter modulation, including dopamine and norepinephrine.

It is critical to understand that ADHD is not caused by a single gene. Instead, it is thought that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of this complex condition. A better understanding of the specific genes and their interactions will definitely lead to more tailored and effective ADHD treatment choices as research advances.


Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transport signals between nerve cells in the brain. Imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, have been linked to the development of ADHD.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the brain's reward system and is important in motivation and pleasure-seeking behaviours. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, helps to regulate attention, alertness, and arousal. Individuals with ADHD have decreased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in particular parts of the brain. Furthermore, it may contribute to the difficulties with attention, impulse control, and motivation that many people with the condition suffer.

Environmental factors

A number of environmental factors can play a role in the development of ADHD in individuals. Several studies have emphasised the importance of prenatal exposure to toxins, alcohol, tobacco exposure during pregnancy, and childhood lead exposure in the aetiology of ADHD. Understanding such factors that can help with ADHD prevention and management. 

Role of Family stressors

Apart from genetic and environmental influences, psychological factors play an important role in the development and expression of ADHD. Family stressors are one such factor that may lead to ADHD symptoms. Children who grow up in homes with high levels of stress, conflict, or dysfunction are more likely to acquire ADHD or worsen existing symptoms. A child's emotional and cognitive development may be hindered by factors such as marital disputes, domestic violence, substance abuse, and financial instability.

Furthermore, children who have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect may display ADHD-like symptoms. It is critical to recognise the impact of these stressors on a child's mental health and, if necessary, to give appropriate support and ADHD treatment.

Parenting Styles

The development and management of ADHD in children can also be influenced by parenting styles. While there is no single parenting style that causes ADHD, several techniques may exacerbate a child's symptoms. Overly permissive or authoritarian parenting, for example, might result in a lack of structure and consistency, both of which are essential for children with ADHD. A balanced, authoritative parenting style that combines love, support, and clear expectations, on the other hand, can promote a more suitable atmosphere for treating ADHD symptoms.

Lastly, psychosocial factors such as familial stressors and parenting styles are important in understanding ADHD causes. Recognising the influence of these factors allows parents and healthcare professionals to collaborate to create a supportive environment for children with ADHD, reducing the severity of their symptoms and enhancing their overall quality of life.


To summarise, the causes of ADHD can be numerous and complex, with genetic, environmental, neurological, and psychosocial factors all playing a role. ADHD heredity, prenatal toxicity exposure, brain structure and function, and family stressors are all factors in the development of the condition.

Understanding the various elements that contribute to ADHD is critical for accurate ADHD diagnosis and efficient ADHD treatment. We can better serve persons living with ADHD and their families if we acknowledge the complexities of ADHD causes. Furthermore, this knowledge can be used to advance future research, opening the way for more focused and personalised interventions.