Can Childhood Trauma Cause ADD?


"I began to daydream and lose my concentration at age 12, when I lived in an abusive home. As a result, I don't believe all cases of ADHD are due to neurological problems. What do you think?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

You are correct. The three possible behaviors seen with ADHD — hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity — can be caused by anxiety or by depression. In these cases, we do not refer to the problems as ADHD. The loss of concentration and daydreaming could have been the result of the emotional stresses under which you lived. I hope you received help to cope with the childhood traumas you described.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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