ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder in the brain. Every brain has neurotransmitters that send signals between nerve cells. If a brain is deficient in neurotransmitters, certain functions of the body are hindered.
In this article, we explore the common causes and symptoms of ADHD and the benefits of ADHD treatment.
The neurotransmitters most associated with ADHD are norepinephrine and dopamine, which help increase alertness, focus, and the ability to pay attention. When the brain is not producing enough of these chemicals, you will have a much harder time staying on task, concentrating, controlling impulses, and even containing the increase in energy you may feel.
The ADHD brain has four specifically impaired regions, including the frontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, and the reticular activating system. The frontal cortex is associated with organization abilities, decision-making, and attention. The limbic system regulates emotions: the basal ganglia and reticular activating system aid communication and proper sending of signals inside the brain.
If any of these are malfunctioning, the ability to pay attention, stay focused, and stay calm become harder to accomplish.
Causes of ADHD
The cause of ADHD is due to several different factors. Genetics are thought to play a significant role in this brain disorder. If a parent has ADHD, the genes can be passed down to offspring. Some reports claim the ADHD gene can be inherited just like a person would inherit height or eye and hair color.
The environment in which you live can also play a role in ADHD. Exposure to toxins like nicotine, alcohol, and lead have been found in those with ADHD.
ADHD is not a discipline problem. It does not happen because parents spoil a child or because they didn’t teach them how to behave. While those do make the symptoms harder to manage, they are not the cause.
Symptoms of ADHD
There are three main areas of concern when discussing symptoms of ADHD. Doctors will assess the impulsivity, hyperactivity, and ability to pay attention to a person when diagnosing ADHD. It’s important to note that a person does not have to experience all the symptoms to have ADHD.
Inattention Symptoms include finding it hard to pay attention, especially to details. If you can pay attention, it is hard to stay attentive. Persons with ADHD have poor organizational skills, and while they may have no problem starting a job, they don’t follow through very well.
ADHD behaviors that frustrate others but are uncontrollable and can include losing objects, getting easily distracted, and forgetting what you told them just a few minutes ago. This happens because your brain processes information more slowly. Your body may be at full speed, but your brain is not working at the same pace.
These symptoms make it very difficult for someone to succeed in a classroom, structured environment without medication to assist in their learning.
Hyperactivity Symptoms include fidgeting, standing up after only being seated for a short period, and talking a lot. You feel restless and find it hard to stop touching things. You find yourself picking up items and putting them down, and then repeating these actions.
If you struggle with hyperactivity, it may feel like you have a motor inside you that does not shut off. You may feel like you can’t slow down. While others may envy your energy levels, you likely find them frustrating.
Impulsive Symptoms can mean you may find it hard to wait for just about anything. You blurt out answers to questions, you interrupt conversations or activities, and you may even have temper outbursts.
You may engage in behaviors that are high risk and can lead to serious trouble without thinking about the consequences first.
A person can be dominant in one of the three main symptom areas. For example, someone may show more inattentive symptoms and no impulsive signs. Or, someone may struggle more with impulsivity but may be able to pay attention.
For most, it is a combination of all three.
We take diagnosing your ADHD symptoms seriously at WeCare Neuro. It is the diagnosis that will help us create the most beneficial treatment plan. Because there is no specific lab test or blood work that can determine ADHD, you must communicate your concerns.
While it may be difficult to document your behaviors, including day and time and event, the more information you can provide, the better; it’s okay to ask for help in keeping records of your symptoms. Have your friends, family, teachers, co-workers, and anyone else provide letters or support documentation regarding your symptoms.
This will help us treat you.
Treatments of ADHD
Medication is often used in treating ADHD in both children and adults. That’s because it works, and it works well. However, qualified medical professionals must choose the type and dosage of medicine to ensure you are getting the right medication to control the symptoms causing the most trouble.
There are stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications. Stimulants have shown to work better and quicker for changing behavior. But that doesn’t mean non-stimulants are not sufficient. They are, but they take a bit longer to produce changes.
We also understand that symptoms can change as a person grows and develops. Therefore, we continually monitor and re-evaluate symptoms and make changes as needed.
Medication is best suited for those who also receive therapy to learn how to replace negative behaviors with more appropriate ones. Behavioral therapy can be started before or after receiving medication assistance.
If you feel you may have symptoms related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, even if you do not have all the signs, reach out to us online or give us a call. We can offer you an extensive virtual or in-person evaluation that will eliminate the guessing and help you figure out what to do next.