What is ADHD? How does this affect my life?
WHAT IS ADHD?
Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a physiological problem which is based on a chemical dysfunction in the brain (lack of dopamine) causing cognitive dysfunction. This deﬁciency it is largely identiﬁed with a lack of self regulation in the areas of Attention, Emotions and Behaviours. The affected brain areas are the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum which control executive functions of concentration, attention span, judgement, organisation, planning, and impulse control; the anterior cingulate, which helps the brain shift gears and detect errors; the temporal lobes which involve memory, learning, emotional reactions, mood stability and visual processing; the basal ganglia, large structures deep in the brain that help produce the neurotransmitter dopamine; and the limbic system, which sets emotional tone and bonding. Based on the scientiﬁc approach for assessment there are 3 speciﬁc and distinctive types of ADHD;
1. Predominantly Inattentive type; where we observe the individual experiencing mostly trouble paying attention, and getting organised. This type of individual would also exhibit a more ‘sluggish’ tempo with less obvious mental restlessness.
2. Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type; this individual experiences difﬁculties in staying still, thinking through consequences before acting, however ﬁnd it easier to focus than the person with the Inattentive type
3. Combine Type; the individual with this type of ADHD would exhibit both sets of traits exhibited by the other two types.
ADHD is a condition with multiple symptoms that vary among the individuals who have it. ADHD carries a strong genetic component with estimates at about 76 percent according to the Centre of Neurobehavioral Genetic at the University of California. Others estimate that it may be up to 80 percent genetics. However, the degree of impairment and problems associated with this condition can be strongly inﬂuenced by environment. There are also less common however equality important reasons for the development of ADHD in individuals. The other possibilities for the development of ADHD are head trauma (not necessarily severe), brain infection, maternal alcohol and drug abuse, birth trauma and jaundice.