Wilfred G. van Gorp, Ph.D., ABPP
ADHD always appears in childhood and in many, persists into adulthood. But how a person acquires ADHD is not definitively known. It does not come from watching television, an unhealthy diet (alone), or poor parenting. Rather, ADHD is a brain condition that has a strong genetic component in many affected. Other risk factors for a diagnosis of ADHD include low birth weight, birth complications, and a history of head injury in infancy or childhood. These factors appear to interact with the fetus and its brain and result in inattention and/or hyperactivity.
Somewhere between one third and three fourths of children who have ADHD in childhood will also exhibit the disorder in adulthood. So the short answer to the question “How Do You Get ADHD?” usually is, “You are born with it.”
A related question is “How Do You Get An ADHD Diagnosis?” and for most parents, this practical question is more important. Input from teachers and the pediatrician is helpful, but the most accurate diagnosis usually comes from the administration of a battery of neuropsychological tests that specifically tests the child’s (or adult’s) ability to maintain their attention over a sustained period of time, their ability to multitask and divide their attention between two or more tasks, and maintain focus. These tests are verbal and paper and pencil—there is nothing invasive about them. Neuropsychological testing remains the most definitive method for diagnosis ADHD.
Finally, we might ask “How Does One Get Rid of ADHD?” Medications can be very important in treating inattention and/or hyperactivity as can behavioral treatments. We have doctors with special expertise in medications and behavioral treatments for children and adults with ADHD and can refer you to these professionals if the testing confirms the diagnosis. The most important step is the right diagnosis. We welcome you to contact us today for an appointment or more information.