Home > Medical > ADHD > Overview 05 February 2013 What are the causes of ADHD? ADHD is caused by differences in neurotransmitter patterns in certain parts of the brain. ADHD has a genetic component, and a group of genes involved has been identified. 0 Pin It Ask ADHD Expert » Quiz Is my toddler eating properly? » Talk Parenting forum » Ask Paediatrician » Bizarre uses for bodily fluids Breathe for me ADHD is caused by differences in neurotransmitter patterns in certain parts of the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that make it possible for nerve impulses to travel from one nerve cell to another, and therefore play an essential role in the functioning of the brain. The brain performs a vast range of tasks or functions, allowing us, for instance, to see, hear, think, speak and move. Each function is performed by a different part of the brain. In individuals with ADHD there are lower than normal levels of certain neurotransmitters (especially dopamine) in the regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating behaviour and attention. Research also confirms that the Norepinephrine system is also involved in some patients.ADHD has a genetic component and a group of genes involved has been identified. The genetic component is confirmed with epidemiological studies looking at family groups. Research has shown that in the case of identical twins, if one of the twins has ADHD there is an almost 100% chance that the other twin will show symptoms of ADHD.ADHD can also be present in some patients with neurological damage occurring either before or after birth. Certain developmental disorders or syndromes, like Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, are associated with a higher incidence of ADHD.Diet is often cited as the cause for ADHD. Patients with malnutrition or a poor diet may manifest some of the symptoms. In a small subgroup dietary factors may play a role in the worsening of symptoms, especially that of impulsivity/hyperactivity in younger children. Ongoing research is looking at the role that essential fatty acids play in some patients. Poisoning with heavy metals like lead will create a similar clinical picture in some patients.Although environmental factors do not play a causal role in ADHD, a disorganised, chaotic and stressful environment can cause behaviour which mimics that of ADHD.(Reviewed by Dr A van der Walt, MMed (Paed) BSc Hon (Human Genetics),May 2007 and July 2010) More in Medical What are the symptoms of ADHD? More: ADHDOverview advertisement Get a quote Selfmed - the one with the apple Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover Frank.Net - save on life insurance! advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Acne pill benefits outweigh blood clot risk: EU agency Fitness Doping in professional sport Lifestyle Scientists say humans are causing global climate change Medical Nanotechnology to help fight diabetes Diet and nutrition Living near fast-food outlets ups obesity risk Mental health 1 in 5 teens have a mental disorder From our sponsors There are more than 200 different viruses which can cause a cold A clinically proven skin care range is now available Medihelp’s regional information sessions Superior comfort and support Live healthier Keep your bones healthy » Osteoporosis risk The beauty of bones Ask the expert Osteoporosis facts Here are some interesting facts about the condition that you might not have known: Fight cold and flu » Myths and facts Cold or flu? Where germs hide 15 tips to stay healthy in winter Don't let colds and flu stop you this winter.