What is ADHD? – ADHD Meaning
A short attention span is very common in children and that is why ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most difficult to diagnose mental disorders. However, it a very common disease. A survey done by Princeton University shows that about 33% of all Americans suffer from ADHD. It was not a problem before, but as more and more people are becoming aware of their mental health, more cases are being detected. In this article, we’ll learn everything there is to know about ADHD.
What is the Meaning of ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is what ADHD stands for. Are you a messy person? Do you start doing one thing and without finishing it, you start doing something else? Do you start cleaning the kitchen and then go to clean the bedroom and realize that you haven’t finished cleaning the kitchen yet? So you go back to the kitchen and remember that you have to clean the living room. And when you start cleaning the living room, you realize again that you weren’t done with the kitchen. If that is you, you have ADHD.
What are the causes of ADHD? We don’t really know. Plenty of research has been done on the subject, but we still can’t be sure of what causes the disease. However, there is only one thing we can be certain of. ADHD patients seem to lack Dopamine.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that occurs naturally in the body. It’s a ‘Feel Good’ hormone and activates the reward center of the brain. An instance for a massive Dopamine release is after sex. That’s the reason we feel satisfied. If the release of Dopamine is somehow blocked, a person starts to feel unsatisfied. Hence, the symptoms of ADHD begins. If you don’t feel satisfied, you shift from one thing to another looking for the satisfaction.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted joint research and found the following to be the probable causes of low Dopamine release:
Genetic: For some genetic reason, the body doesn’t produce enough Dopamine.
Smoking, alcohol, and other substance abuse: Addiction to any substance is directly related to Dopamine. The reason a smoker wants a cigarette is because it helps release a certain amount of Dopamine. Thus the smoker feels satisfied. If he/she can’t find a cigarette, there is no satisfaction and he/she may start showing signs of ADHD.
Exposure to Environmental Toxins such as Lead or arsenic: Toxins directly relates to overall well being and exposures can harm the natural flow of Dopamine.
Low Birth Weight: If a patient had a low birth weight, it is likely that some of the hormonal glands were not fully developed causing him/her a low flow of Dopamine and other hormones.
Brain Injuries caused by accident: It is also very possible a brain injury caused by an accident or some sports prevent the body from producing Dopamine.
As mentioned before, it’s quite common in children. So much so that we don’t really notice it. Children naturally have a very low attention span. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have low flow of Dopamine. It just means that their metabolism is high and they burn energy much faster than an average adult. However, if the child-like low attention span is seen in adults, you can be sure that those are ADHD symptoms. Let’s clarify that below:
- Patients tend to do many things at the same time. They start doing many things but complete nothing.
- Patients seems to forget a lot of things especially where something is or what they are supposed to do.
- Patients have very little patience listening to people. It’s also possible that if someone is talking, they constantly interrupts and want to talk.
- Patients can’t stay still in one place. Even when sitting still is required such as ‘watching TV’, the patient would move around or constantly shake their legs.
- Patients are irritated most of the time in the day.
There is no direct medical test to diagnose ADHD. It requires a psych evaluation, and even then, there are at lease three stages of that evaluation that can confirm ADHD in adults.
ADHD in Adults
Adults with ADHD can be a problem and can be in problem. It means that ADHD patients are very annoying to others. They barely listen to what others are saying and will constantly interrupt. They are also very irritable and forgetful.
ADHD can seriously affect their careers. In school or job, they perform poorly and they are forgetful and they struggle to finish anything. Therefore, it is paramount that we treat ADHD as soon as possible.
ADHD can’t totally be cured unless someone finds a way to naturally increase the Dopamine level in the brain. That is not really possible. That’s why medication and behavioral therapy both go hand in hand to treat ADHD.
Certain stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Modafinil are found effective to treat ADHD. Stimulants usually release Norepinephrine (Adrenalin) and can make a person hyperactive so it seems a bit strange. However, stimulants also tend to release a good amount of Dopamine, and that’s the reason they work. The release of Norepinephrine and Dopamine produces a strange sensation where the patient is energetic but relaxed. The combination of the two means ‘Focus’.
Following are the basic descriptions of the medications:
Adderall: Adderall is an Amphetamine based drug. But unlike meth, it is controlled and come in tablet forms. An average adult with ADHD should be treated with Adderall 30mg 2 to 3 times a day. You should always take stimulants in the earlier parts of the day. If someone takes it later, she/she might not sleep at night, which will create a new problem. You can buy Adderall from a regular pharmacy or you can choose to buy Adderall online and have it delivered at home.
Related: Check out our Adderall FAQ for more information.
Ritalin: The generic name for Ritalin is Methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is derived from Amphetamine, but a lot milder. Ritalin is designed to be milder in effect. However, it lasts longer than Adderall. An average adult should take 1-2 Ritalin 2 mg a day. You can also order Ritalin online at a cheaper price.
Modafinil: The generic name for Modafinil is Diphenylmethylsulfinylacetamide-also known as Provigil. It is a stimulant for narcolepsy but works for ADHD just fine.
Although much longer-lasting and effective, behavioral therapy for ADHD is not a simple thing. The therapy involves activities that mimic the effects of Dopamine (The reward center of the brain). It’s very slow and rigorous, but it is the key to keeping ADHD under control in the long run. The treatment usually starts with medications, behavioral therapy must be used for long-term solutions. All the stimulants are somewhat addictive and without the therapy, it’s likely that the patient will develop dependency.
Don’t take ADHD lightly. It is a genuine medical condition and should be treated as soon as possible before someone destroys his/her life and career. If you have more questions, leave a comment below and we’ll try to answer as best as we can.