Neurology & ADHD: What’s the Connection?

By: Dr. Ellen Edgar  -  no responses  -  Conditions, Diagnosis, Neurological Blog, Treatments


Girl Suffering from ADHD

ADHD has long been considered a behavioral disorder. Children diagnosed with this disorder have difficulty with impulse control, often have anger outbursts and have issues with attention, which can be the inability to focus or hyper-focus that blocks out everything else. The child finds it nearly impossible to stay still for any length of time and often has a complete lack of inhibition. Seeing that the control of these things is found within the brain, scientists are realizing that ADHD may be more than a behavioral disorder. It is thought it is actually a neurological abnormality.

The Brain and ADHD

Comparisons of brains of those with ADHD and those without show several differences. Parts of the brain of those with the diagnosis appear to be as much as ten percent smaller than those of individuals without the disorder. It has also been found that the brains of those with the disorder lag behind typical brain development by an average of two years. The areas of the brain that are affected are thought to create the behaviors that indicate the disorder.

The frontal lobes help with what we call executive functioning. This is where learning takes place. It is here that an individual’s ability to organize is located. It is also where the ability to pay attention is located.

The cortex is the area of the brain that helps us remain still. It is where the regulatory chemicals help us refrain from being impulsive, allow us to wait for our turn to act or talk and keep us from saying or doing inappropriate things.

The limbic system is in control of emotions. It is here that we are able to keep our emotions from becoming widely fluctuating or out of proportion to the events around us. When over-stimulated, we become more likely to rage or become hyper-vigilant.

By scanning these areas of the brain, neurologists have found that one or all of these areas show differences in individuals with ADHD. By determining where these differences are located, the doctor can target treatment to address the particular issue. By doing this, the chances of regulating the brain become more precise. This, in turn, makes it less likely the individual will need to go through a multitude of medication changes until one the correct one is found.

What You Can Do

If your child, or you, has been diagnosed with ADHD, now is the time to make an appointment with Complete Neurological Care. Our experienced neurologists are well trained on how to recognize the brain abnormalities associated with this disorder.

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