Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD Article
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) occur as a result of neurological dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the newest part of our tri-brain system in evolutionary terms. It is the part of our brain that performs executive functions. The functions of this brain deal with 1) attention span, 2) perseverance, 3) judgment, 4) organization, 5) impulse control, 6) self-monitoring and supervision, 7) problem solving, 8) critical thinking, 9) forward thinking, 10) learning from experience, 11) ability to feel and express emotions, 12) interaction with the limbic system, and 13) empathy.
Whenever there is a problem with this part of the brain, a number of skills that many human beings take for granted would not be available in any optimal way. The following are problems that develop when the prefrontal cortex is affected. 1) Short attention span, 2) distractibility, 3) lack of perseverance, 4) impulse control problems, 5) hyperactivity, 6) chronic lateness and poor time management, 7) disorganization, 8) procrastination, 9) unavailability of emotions, 10) misperceptions, 11) poor judgment, 2) trouble learning from experience, 13) short-term memory loss, and 14) social and test anxiety.
In "Healing ADD” Dr. Amen lists the six types of ADD as 1) Classic hyperactive, 2) Inattentive, 3) Over focused, 4) Temporal, 5) Limbic, and 6) Ring of Fire. Each of these types has much in common, but also differences in symptoms and treatment.
All of the types of ADD have as their primary feature periodic impairment of the prefrontal cortex of the brain and dopamine involvement. Classic ADD is characterized by both hyperactivity and inattentiveness. It is usually quite easy to treat by a combination of a high protein diet, aerobic exercise, a stimulant such as Adderall or Ritalin, and possibly the supplement of L-Tyrosine. Often an anti-depressant is used as well.
Inattentive ADD lacks the hyperactivity, but people who suffer from it have a difficult time focusing and are often very scattered. As with the classic type the prefrontal cortex is involved. The treatment for inattentive ADD is usually exactly the same as the classic type.
Overfocused ADD exhibits the same problems and symptoms of prefrontal cortex as with classic and inattentive ADD, but the difference is that the sufferer of over focused often cannot break away from a thought or behavior. This is because the cingulate system of the brain is overactive and often locks a person into self-destructive, negative, or repetitive behavior. Often a stimulant will cause temper problems if used alone. Therefore, it is usually helpful to have the person take an anti-depressant first and only later to add the stimulant. Another possible treatment is to use St. Johns Wort, a natural herbal anti-depressant, but it is important not to use both a traditional and an herbal anti-depressant at the same time. The other forms of treatment such as diet and exercise is the same as the first two types of ADD.
Temporal ADD is still characterized by problems with the prefrontal cortex, but the temporal area of the brain is often affected. This could be from a previous head injury, but not necessarily. All the symptoms remain the same, but often extreme bouts of anger are also included. The treatment for this type is usually a stimulant and an anti-convulsant such as Depecote. All other treatment is the same except the following supplements can be used: GABA, Ginkgo Biloba, or Vitamin E.
Limbic ADD is when the limbic area of the brain is also affected in addition to the prefrontal cortex. This type of ADD has the symptoms of inattentive ADD, but a significant amount of depression is also present. A stimulant and an anti-depressant are indicated. Aerobic exercise is needed, but often a complex carbohydrate and protein mixed diet is indicated. The following supplements are used: SAMe or L-tyrosine.
Ring of Fire ADD is a very disorganized and severe form of ADD that is a combination of all the other types. The entire brain is lit up on a SPECT scan. In addition to the standard treatment of a stimulant and an anti-depressant, an anti-psychotic like Respiridal is often called for. Dietary and exercise treatment is the same as in inattentive type. The following supplements are possibly needed: GABA or Omega-3. Other supplements that have been found helpful with ADD in general are Zinc, Flax seed oil, and Serephos.