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ADD/ADHD - What causes this condition and best treatment options?

Do I have ADD/ADHD?

It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 15 in the U.S. have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). We recently had a user on the disability forum ask, “What causes ADD?”

What is ADD/ADHD?

According to WebMD, the symptoms of ADHD include “inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity.” In adults the condition can cause one to be constantly late, disorganized, forgetful, and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. If treatment is not sought or the condition is not recognized it often leads to difficulty in relationships and employment.

What causes ADD/ADHD?

Unfortunately, no one knows for sure what causes this condition, although experts believe there is a strong genetic component. Some of the current theories include:

Experts note that some behaviors or conditions increase the risk of ADD/ADHD in children including smoking or drinking in pregnancy, birth complications, low birth weight, head injuries, and exposure to environmental toxins and pesticides. Experts have also found that ADHD tends to run in families and parents with this condition are more likely to have children who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

ADD/ADHD is generally diagnosed in childhood but may continue into adulthood.

Treatment for the condition

The most common treatment is medication, but experts also note that therapy is crucial to building essential life skills, especially in children. Currently the most common medications for ADD/ADHD are stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall which are used to strengthen the weak dopamine signals in the brain.

Can I get SSI for my child with ADD/ADHD?

As mention above, over 2 million children are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Not all of these children will be considered disabled by the SSA and will qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If your child is getting appropriate treatment and therapy and is functioning in their school environment the Social Security Administration will decide that their condition does not cause “marked and severe functional limitations” and will deny their Supplemental Security Income claim.

Because the diagnosis for ADD/ADHD has become so prevalent it will be more difficult to prove your child’s condition is so severe they qualify for SSI benefits. Review our blog, Can a Child with ADD/ADHD Get SSI? For more information about what you would have to specifically prove to win SSI for your child. Also consider that SSI is only offered to claimants who have VERY limited income and resources. If your income is too high you will be denied SSI regardless of the severity of their case.

The good news is that for most children ADD and ADHD can be controlled. Finding the right doctor is crucial to getting a good diagnosis and treatment. Millions of Americans live with this condition and are able to adequately function every day.
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