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What Is Adhd Caused By

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Research Into Use Of Biomarkers For Diagnosis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) – causes, symptoms & pathology

Reviews of ADHD biomarkers have noted that platelet monoamine oxidase expression, urinary norepinephrine, urinary MHPG, and urinary phenethylamine levels consistently differ between ADHD individuals and non-ADHD controls. These measurements could potentially serve as diagnostic biomarkers for ADHD, but more research is needed to establish their diagnostic utility. Urinary and blood plasma phenethylamine concentrations are lower in ADHD individuals relative to controls and the two most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD, amphetamine and methylphenidate, increase phenethylamine biosynthesis in treatment-responsive individuals with ADHD. Lower urinary phenethylamine concentrations are also associated with symptoms of inattentiveness in ADHD individuals.

Chapter Threechemical: Whats Dopamine Got To Do With It

Did she knock over the waffle cone display at the creamery while sampling all ten flavors of ice cream? That happened because there is more going on for her than “just” slower frontal lobe development. She is also dealing with the complications of dopamine deficiency in the brain. Symptoms of low levels of dopamine include lack of coordination, shorter attention spans, and increased impulsivity.

Dopamine works in conjunction with the basal ganglia–the part of the brain that regulates movement2. Dopamine deficiency in individuals with ADHD usually results in uncoordinated movements. Common problems with coordination include difficulty with handwriting and balancing.

When dopamine levels are low, the brain is constantly looking for ways to boost them. One way the brain does this is by frequently changing tasks to experience a feeling of accomplishment2. So during a 45 minute stint of homework, your daughter may check her email multiple times, send her friend a happy birthday text, and write her grandmother a letter. None of these distractions help her accomplish the goal of finishing homework, but each of them sends her brain a little rush of dopamine.

That means shes likely to do risky behaviors to increase dopamine to levels she can feel.

How Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Is Treated

For children with ADHD, although there’s no cure, it can be managed with appropriate educational support, advice and support for parents and affected children, alongside medicine, if necessary.

For adults with ADHD, medicine is often the first treatment offered, although psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy may also help.

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Executive Function And Motivation

The symptoms of ADHD arise from a deficiency in certain executive functions . Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that are required to successfully select and monitor behaviors that facilitate the attainment of one’s chosen goals. The executive function impairments that occur in ADHD individuals result in problems with staying organised, time keeping, excessive procrastination, maintaining concentration, paying attention, ignoring distractions, regulating emotions, and remembering details. People with ADHD appear to have unimpaired long-term memory, and deficits in long-term recall appear to be attributed to impairments in working memory. Due to the rates of brain maturation and the increasing demands for executive control as a person gets older, ADHD impairments may not fully manifest themselves until adolescence or even early adulthood.

ADHD has also been associated with motivational deficits in children. Children with ADHD often find it difficult to focus on long-term over short-term rewards, and exhibit impulsive behavior for short-term rewards.

Evidence Of An Inherited Contribution To Adhd

ADHD disorder medical vector illustration infographic

There is robust evidence from a wide range of study designs of a strong inherited contribution to ADHD. Family studies have consistently found higher rates of ADHD 7 in parents and siblings of affected probands compared with relatives of unaffected controls. Twin studies have shown that monozygotic twin pairs have much higher concordance rates for ADHD than dizygotic twin pairs8 and adoption studies have also found increased rates of ADHD in the biological parents of ADHD adoptees compared with both the adoptive parents of the probands and with the parents of controls without ADHD . Mean heritability estimates are around 79%.10 However, heritability is not 100%, suggesting non-inherited factors also contribute.

ADHD also appears to share an inherited liability with other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems, notably ASDs, developmental coordination problems,10 reading ability,11 IQ,12 conduct and mood problems.1314 These findings suggest the same inherited and familial risks can result in the manifestation of different clinical phenotypes.

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How Is Pharmacotherapy Used To Treat Adhd

A group of drugs called psychostimulants are an effective treatment for ADHD. The two most commonly used medicines in this class are methylphenidates and dextroamphetamines . These medicines help people with ADHD focus their thoughts and ignore distractions. Stimulant medicines are effective in 70% to 90% of patients with ADHD. New medicines are also being developed.

Examples of short-acting , intermediate-acting and long-acting forms of these medications include:


  • Short-acting: Ritalin®, Focalin®, Methylin Chewable®, Methylin Solution®.
  • Long-acting intermediate release: Ritalin SR®, Methylin®, Metadate ER®.
  • Long-acting extended-release: Concerta®, Aptensio® XR, Metadate CD®, Metadate ER®, Ritalin LA®, Focalin XR®, Daytrana®, Quillivant XR® Jornay.


  • Short-acting: Dextrostat®, Dexedrine Tabs®, Evekeo®, Zenzedi®, Adderall®, ProCentra®.
  • Long-acting intermediate release: Adderall®, Dexedrine Spansule®.
  • Long-acting extended-release: Vyvanse®, Adderall XR®, Dyanavel® XR, Adzenys® XR-ODT.

Non-stimulant medicines include atomoxetine guanfacine , and clonidine . They are often used as additional treatment, or can be used on their own if the healthcare provider approves. New nonstimulant formulations are in the pipeline of several pharmaceutical companies.

Seminar Upcoming Webinar: Preparing Children To Return To School

Join psychiatrist and former public school teacher Hal Kronsberg, M.D., August 10, 2021 at 7 p.m. EDT, as he discusses the signs of anxiety that children may be feeling about returning to school after a tumultuous year of virtual learning. The webinar is presented as part of A Woman’s Journey Conversations That Matter webinar series.

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What Can I Expect If I Or My Child Has Adhd

ADHD is a complicated condition with various symptom expressions. If you or your child have ADHD, educate yourself as much as possible about the behaviors that make life difficult. Consider medicines and behavioral treatments. Your healthcare provider will help you with these. He or she will sum up the results of the ADHD evaluation and will recommend appropriate treatment. A combination of pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment, is generally recommended. A trained behavioral health clinician can give general guidelines for managing your own or your childs ADHD and these can be tailored to your familys needs and your childs strengths and weaknesses.

Also, it is always useful to have appropriate expectations for yourself and your child. Dont expect your child to get out of bed the first time you wake them up, and dont be too hard on yourself if making progress is difficult. It is always best to have your partner and friends help with tasks like organizing and time management. Stay in contact with your healthcare provider, especially if there is a change in you or your childs behaviors, or there is a reaction to prescribed medications.

Two important questions to ask yourself are: 1) “Am I moving forward in the world of action or am I living in my head? 2) “Am I moving closer to my values or am I moving away from what I value?”

Best Therapy For Adhd

What Causes ADHD? | Child Psychology

Behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are recommended to help those with ADHD better manage emotions and behavior. A therapist can help with things related to executive functioning, such as time management, and work with the person to develop new routines to stay on track. Therapy can also focus on strategies to improve self-regulation and self-monitoring, so the patient is better equipped to handle day-to-day challenges at home, in the classroom, at work, and in social situations.

A is effective for working on a specific problematic behavior by helping the person understand why theyre doing it and how to change it. Additionally, social skills groups can be beneficial for children and teens with ADHD who often struggle with their social interactions thanks to impulsivity. Therapy usually occurs one time per week, for 45 minutes at a time.

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What Behavioral Treatments Are Used To Treat Childhood And Adult Adhd

The best prevention for ADHD, supported by substantial research, is to use a combined approach of both behavioral intervention and pharmacotherapy. Medicines are not enough to treat you or your childs ADHD. The old adage pills dont teach skills is certainly appropriate here. Thus its best to combine medical treatments with behavioral treatments.

Behavioral treatments for childhood ADHD include:

Behavioral treatments in adults help you navigate the demand of jobs, relationships and educational opportunities. ADHD coaches are trained and certified to assist adults with ADHD to manage the various difficulties of their lives.

Behavioral treatments for adults with ADHD include:

  • Individual cognitive behavioral treatment to enhance a persons sense of self-efficacy.
  • Relaxation training and stress management to reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Behavioral coaching to teach strategies for organizing home and work activities.
  • Job coaching or mentoring to support better working relationships and improve on-the-job performance.
  • Family education and therapy to ensure that everyone in the family understands ADHD and its symptoms.

Detection In Biological Fluids

The concentration of methylphenidate or , its major , may be quantified in plasma, serum or whole blood in order to monitor compliance in those receiving the drug therapeutically, to confirm the diagnosis in potential poisoning victims or to assist in the forensic investigation in a case of fatal overdosage.

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Understanding More About Adhd

Its common for parents to ask questions like: What are the causes of ADHD? While we do have an abundance of information about potential ADHD causes, the evidence isnt inclusive. We need to continue focusing on better-understanding ADHD.

Whether youre the parent of a young child with ADHD or an adult with adult ADHD symptoms, understanding more about the condition including how it affects the brain and how it can be treated is essential. ADHD behaviors are often misinterpreted, and many people arent aware of how ADHD can affect someones thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and day-to-day life.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurobiological condition that can develop in children. It has become one of the most common conditions of childhood. Therapy and medication can help manage the symptoms of ADHD.

When someone has any one of the types of ADHD, they can have great difficulty concentrating or focusing. People with ADHD often abandon tasks before theyre completed. They might seem distracted, thoughtless, careless, or ambivalent. ADHD can also cause impulsive behavior and emotional outbursts, and it can make it difficult for some people to fall or stay asleep.

You dont have to live with the struggles ADHD can cause in life. Reach out to Talkspace today to learn more about our online therapy options.

Differences In Brain Anatomy And Function

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Brain-imaging studies have shown differences in brain structure and wiring between kids with ADHD and their peers. The brain develops in a similar way in both groups. But in kids with ADHD, development of certain areas of the brain is often delayed by about three years. Those delays are typically in the areas most involved in executive function.

Differences also exist in how well certain parts of the brain communicate and work with each other. In kids with ADHD, that communication is less efficient than it is in most kids without ADHD. That can create problems with attention, impulse control, and motivation.

Its not always easy to spot these problems, however. Thats because people with ADHD often have a few activities or tasks where their executive function works well. That happens when the task is especially interesting to them.

Watch as an expert explains more about the ADHD brain.

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What Is The Definition Of Adhd

Attention deficit is, some experts assert, a misleading name. Attention deregulation might be a more accurate description since most people with ADHD have more than enough attention they just cant harness it in the right direction at the right time with any consistency. And so individuals with ADHD hyperfocus and lose track of time, or misplace their keys, or blurt out an unrelated thought when their focus breaks free from its chains.

Adhd Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder And Is A Neurobiological Developmental Disorder

No-one knows for certain what causes ADHD, and it is possible that a number of factors, both genetic and environmental, may contribute to its development.

ADHD comes with a number of positive as well as negative attributes. It is only when the negative attributes are very disruptive for the individual that they negatively impact everyday living.

Genetic studies, including family, twin and adoption studies, show ADHD is a highly heritable disorder. No single ADHD gene appears responsible for causing ADHD. Instead, research suggests it is likely to result from number of interacting genes. Expression of these genes is thought to result in alterations in brain structure, neurochemical composition and availability, and brain connectivity and function.

It is estimated that ADHD effects around 5% of the Australian population, that is about one in 20 people or about 1 million Australians.

ADHD is one of the most researched neurobiological developmental disorders in the world and while it may come with some controversies in regards to the various treatments available, it is with continued research we will understand more.

We would encourage you to get the ‘ADHD Facts’ and take a closer look within our ‘Research’ section of our website.

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Chapter Fourshe Has To Learn It Not Get It

It can be frustrating as a parent to watch a child continue to make these mistakes, yet allowing her time is how she will learn.

Individuals with ADHD have a slower learning curve, and patience is key to helping them grow. She cant be expected to just get it because her parents explained it, or because she had a relevant experience. My young son with ADHD used to stand in the street with a rake to stop traffic. My husband and I told him not to do this, but he kept doing it anyway. He was almost hit by a car, but still, he continued. It took several more reminders and even a few more near-misses by oncoming traffic for my son to learnfor himselfthat stopping traffic with a rake was not in his best interest. It can be frustrating as a parent to watch a child continue to make these mistakes, yet allowing her time is how she will learn. Sometimes this process can be quick, and other times it could take months. But with every experience she is learning, and thats what matters most.

Low Birth Weight And Prematurity

What Causes ADHD?

Most studies, including meta-analyses of premature and/or low birth weight children, find evidence of an association with ADHD 55 and ADHD symptoms/attentional problems.56 The risk appears to be strongest for extreme prematurity and very low birth weight in relation to inattention symptoms and ADHD inattentive subtype.5758 Some preliminary studies also suggest the likely importance of intrauterine growth restriction .5960 However it is not known whether low birth weight and/or prematurity and other associated pre/perinatal risks are risk markers of ADHD or whether they are causal. The findings at least suggest the need for heightened awareness of possible ADHD in very premature/low birth weight children.

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Chapter Onegenetic: Its Not Her Its You

ADHD is not a random disorder. It is not caused by sugar, or television, or lack of discipline. Ninety percent of people with ADHD have inherited it from one or both parents. In most of these cases, more than one person in a family will have ADHD, and sometimes the whole family will have the disorder! The other ten percent with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury or had an illness that affected the brain.

When Should I See My Doctor

It is normal for children to get restless and distracted from time to time, and to be active and have lots of energy. But if a child has ADHD, their problems with attention and hyperactivity will be severe enough to interfere with learning and social relationships.

There are many behavioural and developmental disorders that can cause symptoms of ADHD in young children, so it’s important to have a proper assessment. Other reasons for children being inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive are health or emotional problems, learning difficulties or lack of sleep.

If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD, the first step is to see a doctor. The diagnosis can only be made after a detailed assessment of the childs behaviour, including interviews with parents or carers and the school.

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Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy

Being healthy is important for all children and can be especially important for children with ADHD. In addition to behavioral therapy and medication, having a healthy lifestyle can make it easier for your child to deal with ADHD symptoms. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:

The Adhd Brain And The Role Of Genetics

What Are the Three Common Types of ADHD? · Mango Clinic

Evidence suggesting that ADHD is a biological condition largely comes from research that has examined vital functions in the brain. Studies that compared these functions in those with ADHD and those without found impaired activity for those with ADHD in the following brain areas: the frontal cortex , the basal ganglia , limbic system and the reticular activating system .

Furthermore, when comparing MRI brain scans between those with ADHD and those without, research has found a clear difference in size, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. It is important to know that although this difference is significant, it is not significant enough to diagnose someone with ADHD, which is why other assessments are necessary.

In addition, ample medical research supports findings that a child who has ADHD is likely to have inherited the condition from a family member. This information can prove vital when having an assessment for ADHD as it can help inform the diagnosis, and also help the clinician understand how ADHD might present specifically in your family.

It is therefore quite clear therefore that ADHD is not caused by external factors such as bad parenting, a poor diet, too much screen time or pollution, but it is a biological disorder that stems from the way the brain is formed.

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