Chapter 4


The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood, but research suggests that it is a complex condition influenced by a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors. Some of the potential causes and contributing factors for ADHD include:

Genetic factors1 contribute significantly to ADHD, as multiple genes associated with the disorder have been identified, and the condition often runs in families.

Neurological differences2, including imbalances in neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, as well as variations in brain structure and function, play a role in the development of ADHD symptoms.

Environmental factors3, such as prenatal exposure to alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, and other risk factors like lead exposure, low birth weight, and premature birth, can also contribute to the overall risk of ADHD.

Finally, psychosocial factors4, including family dynamics, parenting styles, and early life experiences, can influence the development and expression of ADHD symptoms, either exacerbating or mitigating their severity depending on the circumstances.

  1. Genetic factors

    Faraone, S. V., & Larsson, H. (2019). Genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 24(4), 562-575. Link ↩︎

  2. Neurological differences

    Cortese, S. (2012). The neurobiology and genetics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): What every clinician should know. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, 16(5), 422-433. Link ↩︎

  3. Environmental factors

    Banerjee, T. D., Middleton, F., & Faraone, S. V. (2007). Environmental risk factors for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Acta Paediatrica, 96(9), 1269-1274. Link ↩︎

  4. Psychosocial factors

    Johnston, C., & Mash, E. J. (2001). Families of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Review and recommendations for future research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 4(3), 183-207. Link ↩︎