Is ADHD Inherited?

There is no identifiable cause of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. However, researchers have been able to establish a link between genetics and ADHD that suggests that ADHD may be inherited.

The Inheritability Factor

Inheritability measures the proportion of phenotypic variance attributable to genetic variance. Its value numbers between 0.0, meaning that genes do not contribute at all to individual differences, and 1.0, where genes are the only reason for individual differences. Recent findings suggest that ADHD has a inheritability between 0.75 and 0.91.

Twin Studies

Several twin studies have suggested that ADHD is genetic. A study conducted in Norway of 526 identical twins (meaning they have the exact same genetic makeup) and 389 fraternal twins (whose genes vary just as siblings born years apart do) found a nearly 80% chance of ADHD being inherited. The study concluded that 80% of the differences between behaviors in people with ADHD and those without can be attributed to genetic factors (1). Further twin studies show that the risk of a child developing ADHD is 11-18 times increased by a twin with ADHD than just a regular sibling who has it. The study showed that twins of children who have ADHD suffer a 55-92% chance of eventually developing the condition themselves.

More Genetic Factors

Scientists believe that there are also genetic mechanisms that regulate hyperactivity, especially in relation to the chemical dopamine. The dopamine D4 receptor gene, which is associated with hyperactivity and abnormal risky behavior, has been found as an abnormality in a considerable percentage of people with ADHD.

ADHD and your Family

Children who have ADHD usually have at least one close relative who also has the disorder. Over a third of fathers who suffered from ADHD in their childhood now have one or more children who have ADHD. It is common to see parents diagnosed with their children. Also, unaffected siblings of kids with ADHD may also see it occur in their own children. This is why it is recommended for the entire family to get tested for ADHD as well as counseling and education.

ADHD Parent to Child

Because of ADHD"s strong genetic connection, it is likely that if your child has ADHD, you or the other parent have also dealt with it in your own childhood. This may bring back painful emotional memories of overcoming your ADHD obstacles; however, you should utilize your own experience to help your child overcome his own ADHD problems. Remember that patience, understanding, and good teacher placement can have a very positive impact on your child's development.

Family Treatment

If you are a parent of an ADHD child and your condition was never diagnosed, your child's diagnosis may answer a lot of frustrating questions for you. Use this opportunity to learn and get the whole family involved and educated. There are several treatments available for ADHD, including natural treatments. Safe and effective, they have been shown to reverse the symptoms of ADHD. 


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