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Understanding ADHD

Understanding ADHD

2. ADHD neuroscience

ADHD is predominantly a genetic disorder. Research studies suggest that ADHD is 70% genetic and therefore often runs in families. The remaining 30% of risk for ADHD is environmental. Children with a high genetic risk for ADHD would need to grow up in an environment low in structure and sensitivity to express the full disorder. ADHD is therefore not a direct result of bad parenting or socio-economical status.

The genetic risks for ADHD create brain differences in terms of both structure and function that generally make the brain less efficient. These differences include key structural differences in white matter density or functional differences in the prefrontal cortex.

Key neurotransmitters implicated in ADHD include dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. Research evidence has shown that too much reuptake at the synaptic cleft makes less dopamine available for regulation of behaviour and emotions.

Click on the labels of the ADHD brain to see how ADHD affects brain function.

Brain Prefrontal cortex. Lower levels of dopamine. Smaller amygdala and hippocampus. The ADHD brain. Smaller cerebellum.
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