AUG 23, 2017 03:32 PM PDT

What is ADHD?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsitivity that interferes with normal activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been given an ADHD diagnosis. In younger children, ages 2-5, the number affected is smaller (about 237,000), but no less significant.

Treatment options for ADHD typically involve a combination of counseling therapy, lifestyle modifications, and medications. Untreated, ADHD can slow the progress of learning and development, which can put patients at significant disadvantages later in life. Some studies found that adults without proper ADHD diagnosis and treatment are more likely to use non-prescribed drugs and alcohol.

But what causes ADHD? Contrary to what some parents believe, ADHD is not caused by poor parenting. Nor is it caused by any physical injury in childhood. The cause of ADHD mostly comes down to genetics. Scientists have identified several genes, mutations in which alter the chemistry and activity of the brain, and lead to symptoms of ADHD. Furthermore, it is known that ADHD can run in families. That is, having a parent or sibling with ADHD will increase your chances of also developing this condition. Nevertheless, the precise cause of ADHD is still under investigation, and scientists think a multitude of factors are likely to be involved.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 31, 2018
Videos
OCT 31, 2018
Why Venus Could Doom 'Habitable' Exoplanets
Venus’s fate may have come down from its distance from the sun. The exact distances of the Venus zone are based on how much radiation is being emitte...
NOV 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 05, 2018
The Mystery Behind Oumuamua Continues...
Last year, Oumuamua became the first-known interstellar object to be identified by astronomers as it passed through our solar system. At first, astronomers...
NOV 16, 2018
Videos
NOV 16, 2018
An orangutan's anti-palm oil plea
A recently released TV advertisement highlights one company’s attempt to bring into the light the palm oil crisis. Iceland, a UK grocery store, publi...
NOV 16, 2018
Videos
NOV 16, 2018
Greenland's Ice Hides a Massive, Ancient Impact Crater
A giant space rock once slammed into what is now Greenland. The rock is believed to be a rare iron asteroid capable of leaving such a massive dent on Earth...
NOV 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 22, 2018
The Hottest Spice That You Probably Don't Want to Savor
Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 cation channel, or TRPV1, plays an important role in the human body in sensing heat and pain.  Coincidentally...
DEC 02, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 02, 2018
Here's Why Harvard Scientists Believe Oumuamua Could Have Been an Alien Spacecraft
  When an interstellar object came sailing through our solar system last year, it astonished astronomers because they couldn’t quite categorize...
Loading Comments...