While many case studies implicate genes in the cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, scientists have not conclusively found the source, explains the National Institute of Mental Health. There is also research into whether environmental factors, brain injuries, nutrition and the social environment may impact the incidence of ADHD. Since there is no cure for the disorder, doctors implement treatment to reduce the symptoms. Medication, psychotherapy, education and training are available forms of treatment.
Research studies show that children who have a specific gene have thinner brain tissue in the sections of the brain devoted to attention, states the National Institute of Mental Health. As these children aged, the brain formed a typical thickness, thus reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Researchers are investigating whether duplications or deletions of a specific segment of DNA plays a role in the development of the disorder.
High exposure to lead, a metal associated with old buildings, correlates with higher rates of ADHD, notes Prevention. There may be a connection between maternal smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and a greater likelihood of developing ADHD. While children with traumatic brain injuries often exhibit similar behaviors to children with ADHD, only a small percentage of children with the disorder also experience brain trauma.
Research is inconclusive about whether food additives increase the likelihood of acquiring ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. As of 2015, no evidence has linked the consumption of sugar to rates of ADHD.