ADHD is a condition that, while not as well known as other mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, affects nearly 11% of children in the United States, not to mention in Farmers Branch, Texas. Sadly, diagnosis rates are low, and many people with ADHD go undiagnosed for years before their symptoms become unmanageable. Seeking help from a Farmers Branch ADHD specialist needs to be the first thought. They can develop a plan to remedy the condition besides guiding on the risk factors. Here are six main risk factors.

  1. Hormones

This is a prevalent risk factor. If you’ve ever had your menstrual periods before puberty, or if puberty has begun early (before the age of 9 for girls), you are at higher risk. Teen pregnancy also increases ADHD risk; this may be because the mother’s body chemistry influences how much oxygen is passed through the placenta during pregnancy, resulting in less oxygen getting to the fetus.

  1. Family History/Environment

Those who grew up with parents who abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to develop ADHD themselves. Those who grow up in chaotic, unstructured homes where rules aren’t enforced are also more likely to show signs of ADHD.

  1. Other Mental Disorders

While most people with ADHD do not have other mental disorders, it’s essential to be aware of them, as ADHD can make some mental disorders worse or more challenging to treat. Suppose you have a major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or an autism spectrum disorder. In that case, you are at a much greater risk of developing ADHD.

  1. Emotional Disturbance

This is very general, but sometimes when people are in constant emotional pain, it distracts them from the world around them, and they begin acting impulsively without thinking about consequences. People with borderline personality often develop this type of impulsive behavior to cope with inner turmoil. Perhaps there is a link between extreme emotions and lack of impulse control in those who have ADHD, but this is just speculation.

  1. Other Mental Health Disorders

The more mental health disorders you have, the more likely you will develop ADHD. This doesn’t mean that people with anxiety or depression never have ADHD, but it’s essential to be aware of how each disorder is treated and what symptoms overlap. Someone who has both major depressive disorder and ADHD will need completely different treatment than someone who has ADHD or just major depressive disorder. 

People with bipolar I often show hyperactivity in manic states but become subdued in depressive states. Some research suggests that these two disorders are on opposite ends of a spectrum, where at one end is bipolar I and at the other end is ADHD without bipolar features.

  1. Smoking During Pregnancy

Studies show that smoking during pregnancy directly affects the unborn child’s brain development, increasing their risk for ADHD. Smoking also increases the likelihood of premature birth, which can trigger changes in the newborn’s blood sugar levels which have also been linked to ADHD.

It’s essential to know the risk factors for ADHD so you can spot symptoms early and get treatment. If you’re struggling with managing your impulse control or are having trouble concentrating, it could be a sign that something else is going on. Whether you have other mental disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, pregnancy complications such as smoking during pregnancy, or emotional disturbances, there may be an underlying cause of your ADHD-like symptoms.