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Causes of Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is one of the most common childhood disorders in the U.S. Attention deficit disorder is characterized by lack of ability to pay attention for long periods of time, impulsive behavior, and at times, hyperactivity. ADD is labeled as a mental disorder that’s symptoms are seen around or before the age of seven.

To diagnose a child with suspected ADD, A physician uses a guide manual (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) with certain criteria for use as a diagnostic tool. The child must have a certain number of signs and symptoms as outlined in the manual.

Although the cause of ADD appears to be unknown, researchers have identified several factors that may play a role in causing ADD:


It is thought that ADD may run in families. Children with a version of a particular gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas associated with attention, according to NIMH research. These genes are inherited from the children’s parents.


A landmark study showed that children with ADD have a much lower rate at which their brains use glucose (NIMH). Glucose is the bodies main source of energy.

Toxin exposure:

Smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy has been shown to cause ADD in children. Lead exposure also has been shown to cause ADD in children exposed to the toxic chemical. Polychlorinated biphenyls are chemicals that were widely used in the 1970s. These chemicals have been found to cause ADD in children born to women who were exposed to these chemicals.

Drug abuse:

Abuse of illegal drugs such as, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine during pregnancy have been shown to cause symptoms of ADD in children. These drugs can pass through the placenta, getting into babies system before fully developed, causing ADD and other problems.

Attention activity disorder in children cause many problems for these kids, including difficulty learning, difficulty following instructions and problems with behavior in the school environment. Children with ADD also have these problems with inattention, hyperactivity and trouble in stressful situations at home.

Finding the causes of ADD would go a long way ward finding a cure for this awful disorder. A child suspected of having ADD should be seen by his/her physician for further evaluation. If ADD is diagnosed in your child, talk to his/her physician to discuss the many treatment options available for ADD.