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Are there other conditions in children that resemble ADHD/ADD?

Yes. A number of medical conditions or their treatments may cause symptoms similar to those of ADHD/ADD. Examples include:

Autism spectrum disorder

Brain injury

Learning or language problems

Medical problems or medications that affect thinking or behavior

Mood disorders such as depression or anxiety

Vision or hearing problems

Seizure disorders

Sleep disorders

Is ADHD/ADD a genetic condition?

Yes, data suggest that ADHD/ADD is largely genetic, with a heritability factor of approximately 7 percent. The rate of ADHD/ADD in parents and siblings of children with ADHD/ADD is 2 to 8 times greater than in the general population. First-degree biological relatives are at high risk for developing ADHD/ADD as well as other psychiatric disorders, including disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, and depressive disorders. Siblings of children with ADHD/ADD are also at higher risk for learning disorders and academic difficulties.

Can issues during pregnancy cause ADHD/ADD?

Yes. Higher rates of ADHD/ADD occur in children born prematurely and in children whose mothers have had maternal infections during pregnancy.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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