What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition affecting children’s and adolescents’ ability to pay attention, remain focused and control their behaviors. It is estimated to affect about 5% of school-aged kids, and boys are diagnosed at twice the rate of girls. Adults can also have ADHD, but diagnosis is less common.
Children with ADHD may have trouble getting organized or remembering things. ADHD may make a child feel overstimulated, restless, impatient and like it’s difficult to fit in with other kids. These behaviors can make it challenging for kids and adolescents to function at school and home. As children become teens and young adults, they may have trouble thinking before acting or speaking, keeping track of things and focusing on one thing at a time.
What Causes ADHD in Children?
There is no one factor that causes ADHD in children. However, research has shown that both genetics and the environment play a role in the presence of ADHD symptoms. For example, a child who is diagnosed with ADHD is likely to have a parent, sibling, or other close relative who also has ADHD. In addition to genetics, several other things have been linked to an increase risk of ADHD:
- Being born prematurely
- Experiencing a head injury
- Exposure to lead as a child
- Exposure to toxins (e.g., cigarette smoke) before being born