Our brains are very complex machines and when running smoothly and efficiently, they carry us through the demands of life without too many problems. But what happens when something in our neurochemistry goes wrong and we find ourselves having difficulties concentrating or completing our necessary tasks? ADHD is one of these cognitive disorders that many people suffer from, and it makes concentrating and completing everyday tasks difficult.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a cognitive functioning disorder in which a person has difficulty focusing, keeping still, or controlling their impulses. According to research in neuroscience, when ADHD involves young children, they may have great difficulty sitting still in the classroom or paying attention and retaining the information they need to learn. Likewise, adults with this condition can have a hard time completing tasks necessary for their jobs, paying attention in meetings, and sitting still as needed.
How Common is ADHD and Related Conditions?
For a number of years, the rates of ADD, ADHD, and similar cognitive disorders has continued to increase significantly.
According to the latest neuroscience statistics, there has been an increase in rates of ADHD diagnosis of about 3% per year, with about 11% of U.S. children being diagnosed and approximately 5% of adults being diagnosed. These numbers may in fact fall drastically short of covering the real problem, as many people do not seek help for their condition and never receive a proper diagnosis.
Facts About ADHD and Far Reaching Effects
According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, ADHD can have far reaching and devastating effects that linger long into adulthood, affecting future jobs and relationships. Furthermore, a child with ADHD can often be mislabeled as a "problem child" who simply misbehaves in an attempt to gain attention. This is a label that can be hard to shake as the child gets older and continues to have the same issues.
Children with ADHD can have problems paying attention in class, issues controlling their emotions and impulses, problems staying organized, issues with relationships with peers, family members and teachers, and they can unwittingly cause distractions to other students along the way.
Adults with this condition will often admit that they have lost friends who have difficulty understanding them or have been fired from numerous jobs due to problems paying attention or following instructions. All of these effects can have serious impacts on a person's life and cause a great deal of stress for all involved.
The Significance of Neurotransmitters in ADHD
Neurotransmitters play a huge role with the neural circuits (or “wiring”) in our brain. Information transmits along these circuits via neurotransmitters. However, neurotransmitters deficiencies and impaired neurotransmitter activity can cause some disorders such as ADHD, mood disorders, and anxiety.
There are three subtypes of ADHD depending on the symptoms presented—inattentive, hyperactivity, and impulse control. Different subtypes appear to have changes to specific neurotransmitter activities. For example, according to PsychCentral, ADHD patients with hyperactivity and impulse control issues have had changes to their neurotransmitter dopamine transport gene, which in turn affects the dopamine levels in their brain.
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter in the brain that is linked to both impulse control issues and aggression. Alterations to a serotonin transporter gene in some people suffering from ADHD can lead to unstable moods, aggressive or angry outbursts, and problems displaying self-control.
Nootropics May Help with ADHD Symptoms
Addarell is a common medication used to help with ADHD. While it can be effective for many people, it may not always be the best option because of the negative side effects. More people have been looking to alternatives, such as nootropics. Nootropics are often also called cognitive enhancers. These are substances that help improve cognitive function by affecting neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. Often times nootropic compounds provide the precursors to the optimization of these neurotransmitters. However, it is important to note that different nootropic compounds work it different ways and can produce different results. When deciding if nootropics is right for you, research the different categories of nootropics and the different types of compounds.
While nootropics can help with ADHD, this article is informational only. Always consult with your physician before starting any supplement regimen or changing your medicine.