Adhd and the Brain

Adhd and the Brain

Attention Deficit Disorder: Brain Functioning and AD/HD



This paper will explore current research concerning AD/HD and brain function, including attention and arousal, and the involvement of the dopamine transporter, prefrontal cortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia in AD/HD symptomology.


Most of the studies pertaining to brain structures and ADHD have dealt with analysis of the frontal lobe. Dysfunction of the frontal lobe (other than that associated with ADHD) can and does manifest itself in symptoms that are closely associated with ADHD. Those symptoms are affect perception and regulation of arousal (Stefanatos & Wasserstein, 2001). The association of dopamine genes with ADHD suggests that the two attentional networks that include brain regions rich in dopamine receptors (the Altering Network and the Executive Control Network) may be involved in the "attentional deficit" that defines this disorder. Either a subsensitive D4 receptor or a hyper-efficient dopamine transporter, or both, may result in underactivity of brain regions that are involved in attention and behavior (Swanson, Castellanos,1998).

Whether these findings generalize to a larger population of adults and to children presenting with ADHD is unknown, but they offer a compelling reason to expand the scope of the research. Although it is doubtful we will find the magic pill/solution that can rid an individual of ADD, however, one day our methods of treatment might be sophisticated enough so that the frustrations and uncertainties of living with the syndrome will be eased, and those of us with ADHD can draw confidently on our thoughts. So that we may proceed into the world with a better self image and a high self-esteem.

The treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is exceptionally challenging to both clinicians and researchers. AD/HD is one of the most puzzling and pervasive...

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