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ADHD mechanism rumination

Recent research has shown that children who are young relative to the other kids in their school classes are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for ADHD. This is presumably because they are younger, less well socialized and more childish than their classmates. That childishness can be problematic so they are singled out by teachers and sent down that path toward mind bending pharmaceuticals.

Last weekend's seminar supported my impression that ADHD may be a low dopamine state, either due to decreased levels of the neurotransmitter or decreased receptor activity or numbers. It also supported my impression that low dopamine can follow from childhood trauma. We all know how vicious kids can be, so just being the youngest may constitute trauma. We also know that low status primates within a group have lower serotonin levels.

I personally know two adult humans who are beneficially treated for their ADHD with ritalin. Ritalin's mechanism of action is unknown, but it is thought to influence several neurotransmitters, most especially dopamine. Some texts say it is a dopamine and serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

My question is this: How does being a younger, smaller and lower status individual in a group of mammals affect your dopamine function? And what IS the relationship of dopamine function to ADHD?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
vonheston
Jan. 20th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
I got diagnosed with ADHD and take Adderall, aka "legal speed". It was one of the best things that ever happened to me as the Adderall also seems to significantly diminish my depression and anxiety symptoms where SNRIs failed to do so. When I say significantly, I mean significantly! Most ADHD meds are controlled substances for a good reason. (Btw, if you have specific questions about my experiences with regular Adderall use or anything relating to this, I'd be happy to answer!)

As you know, there are three main neurotransmitters relating to depression and possibly ADHD, anxiety, and other mood disorders - serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. I think the latter two have often been neglected when it comes to treating depression, hence why some people with severe depression don't improve on SSRIs or even SSNRIs. I also wonder about the effectiveness of plain SSRIs on people with anything more severe than moderate depression. To me the combination of an SSNRI and the Adderall actually works 90% of the time.

Personally I think ADHD can be caused by the same environmental stressors that cause depression, anxiety, OCD, etc, which can mutate the brain at a molecular level and lead to decreased dopamine levels over time. I think it stands to reason that if someone has less positive events happening in their life or is consumed with negative thoughts about a traumatic event (such as being in accident or being abused) they will develop some level of anxiety and perhaps become extra-cautious or pessimistic as a coping mechanism, and thus have less naturally occurring dopamine. (to clarify - if dopamine is released in anticipation of a reward, is it possible that a pattern of pessimistic thinking aka lowered expectations/less anticipation about life might decrease the frequency of these 'bursts' which would in turn lead to brain structure changes over time?) Also remember that ADHD has two 'types' which are really quite different - I have ADHD-PI, which is not the same as plain ADHD; maybe the environmental factors somehow play a role in which 'type' ultimately presents?

With my Adderall, in addition to having a better mood and being more attentive, i'm also more motivated, less anxious, have a increased libido (sometimes significantly so, lol), decreased appetite, increased pain tolerance, and have much more energy. The one side effect I don't like is that it seems to make me more prone to hyperfocus on things, so I have to be careful I don't get started doing some arbitrary task and then waste hours on it.

The best thing to combo ADHD meds with are opiods and pot. Adderall + Vicodin + Marijuana = you feel like you are King of the Universe and can do anything, so like cocaine but way more chilled out. It's well known, at least in some circles, that opiods and amphetamines seem to increased the effectiveness of each other. No clue why but just though i'd put that out there as a possible 'piece of the puzzle'. ;p

Edited at 2011-01-20 10:25 pm (UTC)
liveonearth
Jan. 21st, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
AWEsome comment. Thanks. Interesting about the pain tolerance, too.... I gotta mull on all this lots more. =-]
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