Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children (ADHD in Children or Childhood ADHD)

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

ADHD Symptoms in Children Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideADHD Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms in Children

ADHD Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms in Children

What are risk factors and causes of ADHD in children?

Although there is no single cause for ADHD, there are a number of biological, environmental, and social factors that seem to increase the risk of a person developing the disorder. Brain imaging studies show that the brains of people with ADHD tend to be smaller, the connections between certain parts of the brain are fewer, and the regulation of the neurochemical dopamine tends to be less than in people who do not have the condition.

Risk factors for ADHD that can occur in the womb include maternal stress, smoking during pregnancy and low weight at birth. Being male and having a family history of ADHD increase the likelihood that an individual is diagnosed with ADHD. This illness has also been linked to being exposed to tobacco smoke at home (secondhand smoke) during childhood. Socially, low family income and low paternal education are risk factors for developing ADHD. Behavioral expectations based on the culture of an area, from a school district, town, state, or country can influence how often this diagnosis is made, as well.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2016

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