Can Dyslexia Cause ADHD?




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Dyslexia is known to be a neurobiological disorder that causes a disability in learning. It affects learning-related capabilities such as reading, writing, and spelling. 

Can Dyslexia Cause ADHD?

Comparison of Dyslexia and ADHD

Due to many similarities in symptoms and risk factors, they are often overlapped, but Dyslexia does not cause ADHD and vice versa

People suffering from Dyslexia face problems in recognizing different sounds that make up words. It is an innate and genetic disorder that can be passed from one generation to the next. 

We have a related article for you, you can read Can Dyslexia Make You Depressed?

Comparison of Dyslexia and ADHD: Can Dyslexia Cause ADHD?

To make things clear it is important to do a comparison between dyslexia and ADHD. 

Symptoms of Dyslexia 

Dyslexia affects people differently, and symptoms vary from person to person. It often remains unidentified. And if it remains undiagnosed, reading problems in adulthood continue. 

Few symptoms that help to identify Dyslexia may include 

  • Delay in speech development
  • Difficulty in reading fluently.
  • Problem in learning new words and spellings.
  • Inability to pronounce new and unfamiliar words.
  • Difficulty in recognition of similarities and differences between alphabets, numbers, and even colors.
  • Touble in remembering the order of things, etc.


Though the exact cause of Dyslexia is unknown, multiple risk factors cause Dyslexia, such as the patient’s family history and hereditarily transmitted learning abilities.

Furthermore, another major cause can be drug exposure, especially when the individual is a pregnant female. The use of nicotine and alcohol can hinder the brain formation in the fetus. 

Low birth weight or premature birthing can also be a risk factors. Moreover, each individual is unique, and so are his reading abilities, which can vary diversely.

What Is ADHD? 

ADHD means Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the behavior of individuals. It is most commonly found in children in comparison to adults. 

Common symptoms include difficulty focusing, inability to control impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It is estimated that approximately 8.4 % of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.


One of the significant symptoms of ADHD is that the child starts to live in a fantasy world where he daydreams a lot. His unrealistic imaginations can exploit him. He will most likely use squirmish language or clichés. 

Moreover, it is usually viewed that the child who has ADHD will not take responsibility for his actions. He will face difficulty while making decisions and might struggle in the face of temptations. 

Furthermore, it is also seen that he will suffer significantly during turn-taking and might feel reluctant while making new friends.


The exact cause is unknown, but research has shown many risk factors causing ADHD. 

  • Genetics plays a significant role, and it tends to run in families.
  • Moreover, it is found that specific brain areas are affected in people with ADHD, which leads to an imbalance of neurotransmitters, or they do not function properly, generating improper impulses. 
  • Your child can also become a victim of ADHD if you consume alcohol during pregnancy. 
  • Plus, low birth weight and premature delivery or serious brain injury can also give way to this frustrating issue. 

Is Dyslexia Causing ADHD? 

Due to many similarities in symptoms and risk factors, they are often overlapped, but Dyslexia does not cause ADHD and vice versa. Although every 3 out of 10 people with Dyslexia also have ADHD, the risk of Dyslexia or any other mental illness increases six times if ADHD is diagnosed. 

However, still, they are not causative agents of each other. In both conditions, the person feels inattentive, but the reason is different. The person with Dyslexia feels distracted because he faces difficulty in reading, but the person who has ADHD lacks focus. 

Also, you have to check out my post on Can Dyslexia Get Worrse As You Age? 

In addition, both conditions lead to a lack of fluency in reading, but the causes are different. In a person with ADHD, fluency is affected by hyperactivity of the brain, but in Dyslexia, it is due to difficulty recognizing alphabets and making sounds. 

However causes of both conditions are much similar, but their severity is different. For example, both are genetic disorders and are inherited from parents to offspring. Specific brain areas are less active in both conditions, and the neurotransmitters are malfunctioning. 

Likewise, both can be caused by alcohol or tobacco intake, low birth weight, premature birth, or any brain injury. Despite many similarities still, further research is required to prove that both Dyslexia and ADHD have a direct cause-effect relationship.

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