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updated: 1/27/2014 12:36 AM

Did You Inherit ADHD from Your Kid?

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  • Causes of ADHD

    Causes of ADHD
    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Anthony L. Rostain, MD

Ruth Princess

Did You Inherit ADHD from Your Kid?

Inheriting ADHD from your kids is a scientific based joke that the members of the Adult DuPage ADHD Support Group often ask new people attending. What happens, when parents are told their child might have ADHD, the adults do some research.

Suddenly everything makes sense:

• That feeling that they have been different all their lives

• Trouble getting started or finishing projects

• Disorganization

• Time management problems

Maybe one parent has the condition or possibly both. Maybe one child has it or all 5 kids do. You see, that impulsivity to procreate without protection is a symptom. The primary symptoms of ADHD are:

• Impulsivity

• Distractibility

• Lack of forethought for consequences of actions

• Hyperactivity

You don't have to be hyperactive to have ADHD. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a term that is greatly improved from the original term Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD) but still hated by most who have ADHD. The reason ADDers (someone with ADD the term before ADHD but after MBD) dislike the term is because:

1. It's really not an attention deficit; it's an inability to effectively manage attention. For example people with ADHD can hyper focus.

2. You don't have to be Hyperactive to have it.

3. Is it a disorder or a condition? An artist might have it in spades and functions well as an artist but as a cubicle office worker it's a disaster.

Have I gone off on a tangent or two? Family genetic transmission of ADHD is 75%. If your child has ADHD, there is a 75% chance that he (or she) inherited it from one of his parents. The only other conditions more highly linked to hereditary are height, Autistic-like traits and Schizophrenia. That's not to say a short parent can't have a tall kid or that if you have ADHD you gave it to your child. It's not contagious; it's just a fact of genetics.

If you suspect you have ADHD or if you've been officially diagnosed, please join us at one of our weekly Adult ADHD Support Group meetings. It's nothing like an AA meeting or grief support group. Think more like a book club. You have your regulars and then you have some people who come for a specific book and after they are done, they move on. The Adult DuPage ADHD Support Group is more like a weekly social with a little learning.

Join us each Tuesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Linden Oaks Outpatient Center at 1335 N Mill St., Naperville IL 60563 or visit our webpage at is the longest running, self-supported Adult ADHD Support Group in the country. Volunteers have been organizing (yes ADDers organizing) the weekly meetings and monthly guest speakers since 2001. Over 200 of us travel from all the Chicagoland Counties including Cook, Lake, McHenry and DuPage to help each other understand that we are not alone. Each meeting has a couple new members, a couple of die-hard participants and a dozen revolving regulars. People usually attend for a couple months to a couple years before "graduating" to alumni status.