Executive Function And Motivation
The symptoms of ADHD arise from a deficiency in certain executive functions . Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that are required to successfully select and monitor behaviors that facilitate the attainment of one’s chosen goals. The executive function impairments that occur in ADHD individuals result in problems with staying organized, time keeping, excessive procrastination, maintaining concentration, paying attention, ignoring distractions, regulating emotions, and remembering details. People with ADHD appear to have unimpaired long-term memory, and deficits in long-term recall appear to be attributed to impairments in working memory. Due to the rates of brain maturation and the increasing demands for executive control as a person gets older, ADHD impairments may not fully manifest themselves until adolescence or even early adulthood.
ADHD has also been associated with motivational deficits in children. Children with ADHD often find it difficult to focus on long-term over short-term rewards, and exhibit impulsive behavior for short-term rewards.
How Is Adhd Diagnosed
If you think your child has ADHD, make an appointment with your child’s doctor. They will do a checkup, including a vision and hearing check, to be sure something else isn’t causing the symptoms.
To diagnose ADHD, doctors start by asking about a child’s health, behavior, and activity. They talk with parents and kids about the things they have noticed. Your doctor might ask you to complete checklists about your child’s behavior, and might ask you to give your child’s teacher a checklist too.
After gettng this information, doctors diagnose ADHD if it’s clear that:
- A child’s trouble with paying attention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity go beyond what’s usual for their age.
- The behaviors have been going on since the child was young.
- The behaviors affect the child at school and at home.
- A health check shows that another health or learning issue isn’t causing the problems.
Many kids with ADHD also have learning problems, oppositional and defiant behaviors, or mood and anxiety problems. Doctors usually treat these along with the ADHD.
The doctor can refer you to a child psychologist or psychiatrist, if needed.
Is Adhd Linked To Intelligence
ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability. ADHD suffers may be highly intelligent but often also have learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. As a result of their ADHD and other learning difficulties, children and young people with ADHD sometimes under-achieve academically if not properly supported.
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Executive Function And Adhd
Executive function skills are linked to one of four major circuits in the brain. These are working memory, time management, emotional regulation, and metacognition . The brain of someone with ADHD struggles significantly with mastering these skills, and needs specialized, individualized strategies to manage them. For these students, the brain circuits used by our executive functions are impaired, making the messaging that travels through them become jumbled. Sometimes all four circuits are at issue, sometimes only one or a few arent running efficiently.
The difficulty experienced by a student with ADHD has nothing to do with their intelligence, their ability, or their motivation. It has nothing to do with how much they want to learn. In many cases, they simply lack the tools that will help them get there.
The Adhd Brain Vs The Non
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions diagnosed in children. This means there are differences in the ADHD brain that affect development.
Children with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention to parents and teachers, following rules and staying on task, and behaving in appropriate ways. They may seem overly active, disruptive, and impulsive. Symptoms may change throughout their lifetime, but adult ADHD does exist and can cause difficulties in relationships, work, and everyday life.
This article will detail the differences between the ADHD brain and a neurotypical brain , as well as provide information on treatment.
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What Can I Expect If I Or My Child Has Adhd
ADHD is a complicated condition with various symptom expressions. If you or your child have ADHD, educate yourself as much as possible about the behaviors that make life difficult. Consider medicines and behavioral treatments. Your healthcare provider will help you with these. He or she will sum up the results of the ADHD evaluation and will recommend appropriate treatment. A combination of pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment, is generally recommended. A trained behavioral health clinician can give general guidelines for managing your own or your childs ADHD and these can be tailored to your familys needs and your childs strengths and weaknesses.
Also, it is always useful to have appropriate expectations for yourself and your child. Dont expect your child to get out of bed the first time you wake them up, and dont be too hard on yourself if making progress is difficult. It is always best to have your partner and friends help with tasks like organizing and time management. Stay in contact with your healthcare provider, especially if there is a change in you or your childs behaviors, or there is a reaction to prescribed medications.
Two important questions to ask yourself are: 1) “Am I moving forward in the world of action or am I living in my head? 2) “Am I moving closer to my values or am I moving away from what I value?”
How Does Adhd Affect The Brain Of A Child
As a child with ADHD gets older, how their brain develops depends on how severe their symptoms are and how well they respond to treatment.
A young teen might show the same brain changes as an adult who has had ADHD for years .
But other research suggests that kids who have more impulse control problems at age 12 dont necessarily show the same changes in their brains white matter as teens who dont have ADHD .
That means how your childs brain develops is influenced by how severe his symptoms are and how well he responds to treatment.
Studies suggest that kids with ADHD start off behind other children when it comes to how much their brains grow but eventually catch up to their peers as they get older .
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Brain Mris Can Identify Adhd And Distinguish Among Subtypes
Brain magnetic resonance imaging can be used to identify people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from patients without the condition, according to a new study.
Brain magnetic resonance imaging can be used to identify people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from patients without the condition, according to a new study published in Radiology. Information from brain MRIs may also help to distinguish among subtypes of ADHD.
ADHD affects 5% to 8% of children and 4% of adults worldwide, but it is diagnosed through subjective evaluations. The authors sought to identify cerebral radiomics features related to ADHD to improve diagnostic power and treat patients quicker.
Although the etiology and neurobiological substrate of ADHD remain unclear, converging evidence from imaging studies suggests that individuals with ADHD have alterations in brain volume, cortical morphometric features, and diffusion properties of white matter tracts when compared with typically developing individuals, the authors explained.
They studied 83 age- and sex-matched children in China who had newly diagnosed and never-treated ADHD and 87 healthy control subjects who underwent anatomic and diffusion-tensor MRI. They found that there was no overall difference between the 2 groups in total brain volume or total gray and white matter volume.
Can Girls Have Adhd
Childhood ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls. Girls with ADHD often have a form of the condition where the main symptoms relate to problems with attention rather than hyperactivity, which can cause less noticeable symptoms. It is therefore possible that ADHD could be underdiagnosed in girls, and could be more common than previously thought. You can find here a video on ADHD in girls and women. For in depth information on girls and ADHD, we recommend J Steers excellent book, Understanding ADHD in girls in women.
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What Does Adhd Medication Feel Like
If youre wondering what does ADHD medication feel like, its important to note that each person is unique, and what works for one person might not work as well for someone else.
For example, some people report feeling a rush of energy when they take stimulant medications such as what causes ADHDwhereas others experience heightened feelings of anxiety or irritability.
The side effects of medication for ADHD vary depending on what type you are takingsuch as Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, or other forms that may not be stimulants .
Other common side effects include appetite loss, dry mouth, and weight loss or gain.
However, what happens when you stop taking ADHD medication varies from person to personand again, no two people have the exact same experience.
What To Do About Adhd And Brain Fog
While there isnt a cure for ADHD itself, treatment can help clear up that foggy feeling. Here are some options to discuss with a healthcare professional:
For many children and adults, cognitive symptoms respond well to treatment. The first-line medication treatments for ADHD include:
- stimulants, such as Adderall and methylphenidate
- nonstimulant drugs, such as atomoxetine and nortriptyline
Dehydration can worsen brain fog symptoms. In studies , dehydration affected memory, attention span, fatigue, the ability to do mental work, and reaction time. When study participants drank plenty of water, these skills rebounded quickly.
Youll want to drink up during the morning and afternoon, though, so you dont have to wake up during the night to use the bathroom.
People with ADHD need to take extra care to be sure theyre well rested. Treating both ADHD and sleep problems can give you better results than treating ADHD alone.
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What Are Some Additional Strategies For Managing My Childs Adhd At Home
You may find the following strategies helpful for managing ADHD in the home:
- Give clear and specific directions and limits: Children with ADHD need to know exactly what others expect from them.
- Catch your child being good: Punishing a child only teaches them what not to do. Recognizing and acknowledging positive behaviors is an effective way to teach your child what to do. This increases the expression of appropriate behavior.
- Set up an effective behavior system: Create a consistent system to reward appropriate behavior and respond to misbehavior with alternatives such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. Corporal punishment is not effective. A common practice is to use “marbles-in-a-jar” wherein the child earns one marble for a specified appropriate behavior in the household. When a certain number of marbles are earned, they can be exchanged for a privilege.
- Stick to a schedule: Follow the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. The schedule should include time for homework and play.
- Use a calendar or planner the child can see: Create a place to write down important reminders, responsibilities and events. These tools may be especially helpful for adolescents and young adults who struggle with time management.
- Organize items that are needed every day: Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks and school supplies. An organization checklist may be helpful.
What Happens When I Stop Taking My Medications
Since adult brains arent fully developed until we reach our mid-20s, what happens when you stop taking medication for ADHD varies from person to person.
For example, some people might have a more difficult time with impulsivity and hyperactivity than before they started treatmentwhile others see no changes in these symptoms after stopping their medications.
Its important that if you choose to take medication for ADHD, you do so under the supervision of a doctor or mental health professional.
Strategies to cope with symptoms when taking ADHD medications may include therapywhich helps people understand symptoms of ADHD and how they can manage them more effectively without requiring medications.
Additional strategies to cope may also include:
- exercise routines, including yoga and meditation.
- eating a healthy diet that includes lots of whole grains and vegetables.
- getting enough sleep.
- using tools to stay organized and manage time more efficiently, such as using a mobile device to help keep track of what you need to get done each day.
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How Common Is Adhd
About 11% of children between the ages of four and 17 have ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD typically first appear between the ages of three and six years old. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven years old. In children, its three times more common in young boys than girls.
ADHD isnt just a childhood disorder. About 4% of American adults over the age of 18 contend with ADHD behaviors on a daily basis. In adulthood, its diagnosed equally between males and females.
What Are The Signs Of Adhd
All kids struggle at times to pay attention, listen and follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. But for kids with ADHD, the struggles are harder and happen more often.
Kids with ADHD can show signs in any or all these areas:
- Inattentive. Kids who are inattentive have trouble focusing their attention, concentrating, and staying on task. They may not listen well to directions, may miss important details, and may not finish what they start. They may daydream or dawdle too much. They may seem absent-minded or forgetful, and lose track of their things.
- Hyperactive. Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn’t. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
- Impulsive. Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt, might push or grab, and find it hard to wait. They may do things without asking for permission, take things that aren’t theirs, or act in ways that are risky. They may have emotional reactions that seem too intense for the situation.
Sometimes parents and teachers notice signs of ADHD when a child is very young. But it’s normal for little kids to be distracted, restless, impatient, or impulsive these things don’t always mean that a child has ADHD.
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What Is Adhd Vs Another Condition
If a child is having problems in school, he may have ADHD, but its also possible that he has a learning disability. Or a mood disorder. Or anxiety. Sometimes what looks like ADHD is the result of family tensions.
If ADHD seems to be even a part of such a mixed clinical picture, I typically prescribe ADHD medication. If this solves the problem, terrific. But in many cases, another intervention is needed to address persistent academic, emotional, or family problems. Only weeks or months after treatment has been initiated will the full 5clinical picture become clear.
I understand parents concern about medicating their children. My clinical knowledge notwithstanding, I agonized over whether my granddaughter, who has ADHD, should be on meds. I have found, however, that parents often feel better about ADHD meds when they understand a bit about neurotransmitters, the remarkable compounds that govern brain function.
Research Into Positive Traits
Possible positive traits of ADHD are a new avenue of research, and therefore limited. Studies are being done on whether ADHD symptoms could potentially be beneficial.
A 2020 review found that creativity may be associated with ADHD symptoms, particularly divergent thinking and quantity of creative achievements, but not with the disorder of ADHD itself â i.e. it has not been found to be increased in patients diagnosed with the disorder, only in patients with subclinical symptoms or those that possess traits associated with the disorder. Divergent thinking is the ability to produce creative solutions which differ significantly from each other and consider the issue from multiple perspectives. Those with ADHD symptoms could be advantaged in this form of creativity as they tend to have diffuse attention, allowing rapid switching between aspects of the task under consideration flexible associative memory, allowing them to remember and use more distantly-related ideas which is associated with creativity and impulsivity, which causes people with ADHD symptoms to consider ideas which others may not have. However, people with ADHD may struggle with convergent thinking, which is a cognitive process through which a set of obviously relevant knowledge is utilized in a focused effort to arrive at a single perceived best solution to a problem.
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Three Subtypes Of Adhd
There are three subtypes of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and a combination of the two.
Predominantly Inattentive Subtype is typically easier to overlook than other forms of ADHD because people who have it often appear shy, day-dreamy, or spacey instead of disruptive.
They may sit quietly, but they are distracted by their own thoughts and have a hard time staying focused on any one thing.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Subtype is the most common type of ADHD in children and adults .
People with this subtype tend to fidget or talk excessively. They are impulsive, which can mean they have trouble waiting for things they want or interrupt conversations.
Combination Subtype has features of both the combined hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive subtypes of ADHD .
This type is often how ADHD presents itself clinically. People with this subtype generally experience both of the main features of ADHDinattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.
Does Adhd Damage The Brain
There is no conclusive evidence that suggests ADHD medications cause any long-term damage.
As with anything else in life, its important not to abuse what causes ADHDand at doctors orders taking breaks from medication can help avoid building up a tolerance or dependence on what helps treat this disorder.
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