ADHD Causes, Symptoms & Signs

Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital offers high-quality services and support for adults and senior adults who are struggling with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Located in Chattanooga, TN, Erlanger is a leading provider of ADHD treatment.

Understanding ADHD

Learn about ADHD

Many people have the misbelief that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, can only be found in children. ADHD can affect the lives of anyone at any age. Preconceived ideas of ADHD might include a student not being able to sit still in a classroom, but the disorder is so much more than that and can impact all areas of an individual’s life.

ADHD is a mental health disorder that can be divided into two parts. One part causes loss of focus, while the other part causes an inability to regulate how to act in certain situations. ADHD can affect how an individual functions in everyday life, as well as how that individual develops psychologically. Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD are only affected by one of the two parts. However, there are some who are affected by a combination of both.

Left untreated, ADHD can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. Thankfully, there are several ADHD treatment options available. With proper care and support, you can manage your ADHD symptoms and gain an improved quality of life.


Statistics about ADHD

ADHD affects children and adults. According to the American Psychiatric Association:

  • An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.
  • ADHD is more common among males than among females.
  • Three out of four children who are diagnosed with ADHD have a relative who has also been diagnosed with the disorder.
  • In order to avoid a misdiagnosis, the symptoms of ADHD need to be present for longer than six months.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for ADHD

Although it’s hard to pinpoint where ADHD stems from, there are certain causes and factors that increase the risk for developing the disorder. These can include:

  • Having another mental illness or mental health disorder
  • Being male
  • Having a family member with an ADHD diagnosis
  • Personal or family history of substance abuse
  • Being the victim of abuse or neglect
  • Living in a high stress/chaotic environment
  • Constantly being exposed to violence or crime

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD

Everyone who is diagnosed with ADHD will experience the disorder in their own way. Some may be more hyperactive, while others might find it more difficult to pay attention in certain situations. Not every symptom listed below will apply to everyone, but some common signs and symptoms of ADHD include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Taking part in high-risk activities
  • Frequent tardiness
  • Sudden angry outbursts
  • Decreased ability to complete tasks
  • Inability to remain still for extended periods of time
  • Rapid speech
  • Excessive speech
  • Abusing drugs/alcohol
  • Frequently losing or misplacing everyday items, such as car keys or a phone
  • Depression
  • Severe bouts of anxiety
  • Low self-esteem

Physical symptoms:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Weight loss/decreased appetite
  • Frequent stomachaches
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns
  • Muscle tension

Mental symptoms:

  • Procrastination
  • Ritualistic/repetitive thought patterns
  • Impatience
  • Being easily distracted
  • Paranoia
  • Inattentiveness
  • Racing/disorganized thoughts


Effects of ADHD

If you suspect that you or a loved one has ADHD, it’s important to seek help and get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible. ADHD, like all mental health disorders, is not something that will go away on its own. In fact, left untreated, ADHD can have a dramatic negative impact on a person’s life. Some effects of untreated ADHD include:

  • Inability to hold a job
  • Dropping out of school due to poor grades
  • Financial struggles
  • Finding it hard to maintain relationships
  • Isolation from society
  • Low self-worth

ADHD is a highly treatable disorder, and there are numerous treatment centers and professionals who are ready and willing to help. With proper care, you can manage your symptoms and regain control of your life.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who have ADHD

If you struggle with ADHD, it’s more likely that you may also be diagnosed with any of the following co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Conduct disorder
  • Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance use disorders
  • Antisocial and other personality disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder

Marks of Quality Care
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • The Jason Foundation