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Does attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) run in families?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) runs in families. Studies have shown that family members are much more likely to share a diagnosis of ADHD than the general population. For instance, if your mother has ADHD, you have a 25% to 35% chance of having ADHD, too.  
Thanks Dad! I love the hairy chest you gave me! And mom, the clear blue eyes I got from you are totally awesome! It is often easy to see where we get our personalities and appearances. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is no exception. Chances are, if you have ADHD, your parent or sibling has it too. While we don't know the cause of ADHD (lack of appropriate pruning of connections between neurons is the leading hypothesis), we do know that it tends to be inherited. So talk to your family and to your doctor.  There are a lot of viable treatment options, you can usually control your genes.

According to most recent data, ADHD is a condition with genetic and environmental causes. A lot more research needs to be obtained to define how much of ADHD is as a result of inheritance. In 1995 a publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that the incidence of ADHD in children having a parent who is similarly affected is 1 in 4 (25%). Furthermore, more recently, in 2009, the American Journal of Medical Genetics published data that reports that there may be many genes that are involved in ADHD. Once these genes are identified, we will have a better understanding of ADHD and its effect in families.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.