Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain irregularity that usually begins in childhood. It’s characterized by poor impulse control, an inability to stay calm, and a short attention span.

This behavioral disorder stems from different causes. So, is this condition passed down from parent to child, or does one develop it with age?

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Read on to learn more about ADHD heritability, additional risk factors for ADHD, and more. 

Is ADHD Genetic?

Is ADHD Genetic? is a commonly asked question that isn’t possible to answer with a mere yes or no.

Researchers are currently working to determine ADHD genetic connections. They’re investigating different genes that may lead to ADHD development, especially those linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine. 

Generally, the risk of developing ADHD is greater for first-degree relatives of those with the condition than other people. This means that if your siblings or parents have ADHD, you have a high risk of experiencing the symptoms. 

That said, some people never experience ADHD despite having a history of the condition. Therefore, your environment can also influence how likely you are to develop ADHD. 

Causes of ADHD

As mentioned earlier, researchers are yet to identify the primary causes of ADHD. A combination of environmental factors, possibly diet, and genes seem to influence the chances of an individual developing ADHD. 

Some research insists ADHD genetic connections are the critical determinants in ADHD development. After all, genes are the main building blocks for our bodies. 

Aside from ADHD genetic connection, other risk factors under review include: 

  • Brain injury
  • Childhood exposure to lead
  • Low birth weight
  • Exposure to toxins during gestation
  • Premature delivery

What Parts of the Brain Are Affected by ADHD?

Did you know that there are differences in brain structure between those with and without ADHD? So, what parts of the brain are affected by ADHD? 

Overall, children struggling with ADHD have a small frontal lobe. Since the frontal lobe is responsible for decision-making, attention, and problem-solving, most children with ADHD have a problem acting on impulse and concentrating. 

Is ADHD Genetic?

Unknown Facts About ADHD

Other functional regions of the brain affected by ADHD include:

1. Basal Ganglia 

This functional region regulates communication within the brain. These neural circuits receive information and then relay it to the correct areas in the brain. Here, any dopamine deficiency can result in inattention or impulsivity.

2. Limbic System 

Located deeper in the brain, this region regulates our emotions.

A deficiency of dopamine in the limbic system can result in:

  • Emotional volatility
  • Restlessness
  • Inattention

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3. Reticular Activating System (RAS) 

A significant relay system than other pathways entering and leaving the brain. Here, a dopamine deficiency can cause impulsivity, inattention, or hyperactivity. 

Keep in mind that these functional regions interact with each other. So, a deficiency in one section can cause a problem in either one or more regions. 

Is ADHD Caused by Toxins and Pollution?

Now that you know the answer to the question is ADHD genetic? let’s look at other potential causes. That said, is ADHD caused by toxins and pollution?

Scientific research shows that exposure to chemicals, including toxins found in cleaning and lawn products, personal-care products, and food, can contribute to disorders like autism, learning disabilities, and even ADHD. 

Remember, kids and infants, are very vulnerable to toxic chemical exposure since their biological system is still developing. And the situation worsens for pregnant women during fetal development, where even the slightest exposure to toxins can have a lifelong impact on your kid’s brain and physical health. 

Note that toxins don’t necessarily mean chemicals from a waste site. Household chemicals can also cause a damaging effect on your brain.

They include:

1. Bisphenol A 

An epoxy resin is used to make plastic containers, such as infant bottles and food cans.

2. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers 

Found in bedding, clothing, and furniture, these ethers are used as fire retardants.

3. Triclosan 

An antibacterial agent is found in personal-care products, such as soaps and toothpaste. 

Risk factors for ADHD

ADHD Risk Factors

Neurodevelopmental Nature of ADHD

Neurodevelopmental disorders feature several conditions that result from atypical brain development, like communication disorders, intellectual developmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and ADHD.

When it comes to the neurodevelopmental nature of ADHD [1*] , background population studies show that most adults with ADHD didn’t have it in childhood, thus challenging the neurodevelopmental concept of ADHD. 

Genetic Overlap Between ADHD and Other Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Unknown to many, there’s an ADHD genetic overlap with other neuropsychiatric disorders. Twin studies suggest a substantial genetic overlap with child psychopathology, especially with behavioral problems, like conduct disorder. 

Generally, patients with ADHD frequently experience co-occurring neuropsychiatric disorders, including:

The genetic overlap between ADHD and other Neuropsychiatric disorders underscores the necessity of making a differential diagnosis for every patient.

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Final Thoughts

ADHD tends to run in families, thus strongly suggesting that ADHD genetic connection plays a significant role in the likelihood of someone developing the disorder. But keep in mind that family history doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll inherit ADHD. It simply puts you into a higher-risk category.

Here at EZCare Clinic, our top-rated professionals can help you improve executive functioning skills, such as making decisions, planning, controlling emotions, and organizing time.

Contact us today for a practical ADHD physical examination and an effective treatment plan or schedule your appointment today. 


+1 sources
  1. The neurodevelopmental nature of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults. (2020)
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.