This article looks at attention deficit and learning disabilities and talks about the biology behind ADHD and why it can be so difficult to diagnose.
Many doctors, psychiatrists, or other medical professionals are able to make a quick evaluation about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) and outline a treatment. But sometimes it’s not clear what is wrong. It’s not a lack of expertise or diagnostic skills on the doctor’s part. It’s that psychiatry isn’t quite as far along as other medical specialties.
Here’s an example; A pediatrician can do a throat culture and tell at once whether a child needs an antibiotic. Appropriate treatment follows the diagnosis. In contrast, psychiatrists are often required to initiate a specific treatment and worry about clarifying the diagnosis later on.
What Is ADHD vs. Another Condition?
If a child is having problems in school, he may have ADHD, but it’s also possible that they have a learning disability. Or a mood disorder. Or anxiety. Sometimes what looks like ADHD is the result of family tensions.
In many cases, however, another intervention is needed to address persistent academic, emotional, or family problems. Only weeks or months after treatment has been initiated will the full clinical picture become clear.
Parents’ concern about medicating their children is understandable. Parents often feel better about ADHD meds when they understand a bit about neurotransmitters, the remarkable compounds that govern brain function. Other therapy options are also available for those who won’t accept medication as the sole or only method of treatment.
How Neurotransmitters Work In ADHD Brains
Before we talk about special brain chemicals, let’s look at general brain anatomy.
There are millions of cells, or neurons, densely packed into various regions of the brain. Each region is responsible for a particular function. Some regions interact with our outside world, interpreting vision, hearing, and other sensory inputs to help us figure out what to do and say. Other regions interact with our internal world — our body — in order to regulate the function of our organs.
For the various regions to do their jobs, they must be linked to one another with extensive “wiring.” Of course, there aren’t really wires in the brain. Rather, there are myriad “pathways,” or neural circuits, that carry information from one brain region to another.
Information is transmitted along these pathways via the action of neurotransmitters (scientists have identified 50 different ones, and there may be as many as 200). Each neuron produces tiny quantities of a specific neurotransmitter, which is released into the microscopic space that exists between neurons (called a synapse), stimulating the next cell in the pathway — and no others.
How does a specific neurotransmitter know precisely which neuron to attach to, when there are so many other neurons nearby? Each neurotransmitter has a unique molecular structure — a “key,” if you will — that is able to attach only to a neuron with the corresponding receptor site, or “lock.” When the key finds the neuron bearing the right lock, the neurotransmitter binds to and stimulates that neuron.
Here at Neurohealth Associates, we specialize in Neurofeedback treatments. Neurofeedback may be helpful for treating ADHD symptoms, especially if you are unsure about putting yourself or your child on medication. The easy, noninvasive treatments can painlessly improve your mental health condition and outlook on life. Schedule a consultation with NeuroHealth today and find out how we can help you.
Original article posted by ADDitude Mag.