What is ADHD?

ADHD is a set of symptoms diagnosed into three categories.

  • Inattentive Type: Includes symptoms such as trouble sustaining attention, being easily distracted, trouble organizing and following through on tasks, making careless mistakes, being forgetful, misplacing things, and procrastinating and avoiding tasks that require focus and attention.
  • Hyperactive Type: Includes symptoms such as being fidgety, talking excessively, interrupting and intruding, always being on the go, restlessness, trouble sitting and engaging in activities quietly, and blurting out answers before questions are completed.
  • Combined Type: Includes symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive types.

What Causes ADHD?

In the nature (genetics, physiology, and chemistry) and nurture (environmental events, stressors, or rearing habits) debate that surrounds many of the mental health conditions, most research supports that ADHD is caused more by nature.

  • Genetics: seems to be one of the biggest contributing factors in the development of ADHD.
  • Prenatal issues: can include trouble with pregnancy and delivery, prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
  • Environmental factors impacting brain functioning: Exposure to high levels of lead or significant head injuries can be culprits for ADHD.
  • Non-Factors: There is no real research to support the notion that ADHD can be caused by poor parenting, familial chaos, and dysfunction, dietary factors like too much sugar, or watching too much television. These factors will not cause ADHD but may have the potential to exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

What Area of the Brain Drive Symptoms?

The area of the brain right behind your forehead is known as the frontal lobes. This area of the brain often manages what is referred to your executive functioning. These “higher levels skills” include working memory, processing speed, impulse control, accessing recall, focusing, concentrating, shifting attention, prioritizing, organizing, sustaining attention, and monitoring and regulating emotions and actions. Brain imaging has shown that people who have ADHD display an inadequate amount of firing and stimulation in the frontal lobes which inhibits the proper utilization of these skills. Stimulant medications that are used to treat ADHD stimulate the frontal lobes of the brain and facilitate the proper use of these skills.

At present brain imaging instruments such as P.E.T. scans and functional MRI scans are not sophisticated enough to diagnose ADHD. For now, cognitive testing is still the most accurate method of determining if you have ADHD. If you need testing, or already have ADHD and are interested in talking with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists about treatment options, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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