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What increases the risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Risk factors for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include a family history of the condition; prenatal or childhood exposure to environmental toxins such as lead; brain injuries; low birth weight; premature birth; and tobacco, alcohol, or drug use by expectant mothers.

The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including:

  • Brain injury
  • Environmental exposures (e.g., lead)
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

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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.