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Old 01-31-14, 04:39 AM
lavita_bella lavita_bella is offline

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Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

So I was talking with my sister tonight and just catching up with her and going on a mile-long rant about everything I've been feeling lately because I haven't had time for those sorts of conversations lately... my emotional health has sorta sucked, cuz I've been focusing on school a lot more (yay treatment! never been able to say that before!), so I was talking for a long time. xD (and letting her talk to, of course..)

Anyway, in one of these long-winded discussions, I started telling her what it felt like to have ADHD. Because she mentioned people telling her they thought she might have it too, and it's come up in my mind a few times, but as I was explaining it I realized she was probably presenting similar ADHD behaviors/expressions but didn't have the same issues.

With my sister, she's extra sensitive to sensory stimuli. She has Sensory Integration Disorder, I'm pretty sure. (Thats what it's called, right?) From what I've read, they're very sensitive to stimuli, very emotional, and very reactive. Because of these strong emotions, it seems like they have a hard time regulating them sometimes, and they consequently get distracted and uncomfortable and emotional over things easily, like people with ADHD. However, the difference is that when they're put in a non-distracting environment, AKA a comfortable, simple, calming environment, they can easily become calm and focused and alert. This is because their prefrontal cortex isn't the main issue in their disorder-- it's the emotion center, the sensory processing center (or somewhere around there.. not the prefrontal cortex, which is the important part to remember).

So this is where I began describing our differences to her. I explained the ADHD brain this way-- when a lightbulb is dysfunctional because it's not at full power/sort of weak, it flickers. Sometimes it'll flash on like it's working again, but soon after, it'll turn off for a bit and then begin to flicker again. That's like the ADHD brain-- or, specifically, the prefrontal cortex.

It's been shown in brain image scans that the area of the prefrontal cortex is underactive in ADHD individuals. It isn't working at full power, the way non-ADHD brains will work (or I'll say, people with healthy prefrontal cortex's. I'm sure there are other disorders that involve the prefrontal cortex so I don't want to just say 'anyone WITHOUT ADHD', but yeah)... So, since the prefrontal cortex doesn't work, information doesn't get processed fully most of the time, or it does in spurts, like the lightbulb.

This is the PRIMARY problem. Then I began discussing with her, people with ADHD need to express their emotions not really because they feel it's a need-- it's because they can't help it, this is the way their brains work. They process sensory information just fine-- this part isn't malfunctioned (it may seem like it is, but are we ever conscious of EVERYTHING we sense? no, we're only conscious of what we're FOCUSING on sensing.). The key term is FOCUS here. In order to focus, you need the prefrontal cortex. This is focus, attention, processing, logical thought. Just SENSING stimuli is easy for us-- we sense things just as regularly as regular people (or as regular as people can get, unless we have a comorbid condition. but this is not ADHD. anyway, getting off track).. The first step in logical thought is sensation. Things we sense are sent through our nervous system to our reactive system, or the place we regulate emotions, feelings, reactions, and impulses. These are the kneejerk reactions and automatic reactions responsible for protecting us-- pulling our hands away from the stove, our knees kicking out in a reflex when something hits it, screaming/cussing when you bump your toe... (well for some people..). This is the SECOND place our thoughts go to before they are fully formed. BUT, this is STILL not the problem with ADHD! This is the part where it starts to get tricky. A lot of people think that because of their impulsivity, people with ADHD are just MORE emotional and intense and reactive than most people. HOWEVER... this is not always true. SOME people with ADHD have trouble with impulsivity, but not everyone.

Predominately inattentive types are mainly quiet, often overlooked. ADHD-PI individuals are not hyperactive or impulsive so much as they are quiet, scatterbrained, forgetful, disorganized, preoccupied, unaware, spacey, daydreamy, and get stuck in thought patterns.

But if you think of the 3 main steps in logical thought, it makes sense to believe that ADHD-PI is just regular ADHD, and maybe the hyperactivity and impulsivity are just secondary traits that are CAUSED by the inattentiveness. Maybe the inattentiveness is the root of the disorder-- a not very awake prefrontal cortex, a sleepy executive center. Because I mean, they call it the EXECUTIVE center for a reason. It rules the brain-- it carries out all logical, conscious thought. What you're thinking when you're consciously awake, when you don't have ADHD, is alert, planned, thought-out, logical, and concrete thoughts (unless you're a kid and it's just not at fully mature level, but even then, you can tell when the prefrontal cortex is unusually small/inactive for their age).

There are 3 main steps to logical thought--
1. Sensory input (stimuli from the environment is perceived by the brain/body when one of the 5 senses comes into contact with it)
2. Reactivity (when we perceive sensory information, the reaction/impulse/emotional/limbic/nervous system reacts to it in a sort of automatic sense-- like pulling your hand away from the stove, jumping and yelling when you stub your toe, etc)
3. LOGICAL THOUGHT (where we THINK CONSCIOUSLY about the emotional reaction before we carry it out-- if our logical reasoning is strong enough, we can override the emotions or sort of overrule them. we can PLAN to react in a more thoughtful, rational way because logical thought is essentially memory, insight, reasoning, and "thinking about thinking".)

They call it the executive center for a reason, guys. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for this third step in logical thought. The consciousness, or superego according to Freud (is that correct? or is the consciousness just the ego?), is what overrides these knee-jerk emotional responses when something alarming/stimulating occurs. This is what people with ADHD people have trouble with.

The REASON they are so impulsive and hyperactive is BECAUSE of the inattentiveness. The impulsivity and hyperactivity can vary in degree because this is not what the real problem in ADHD is-- it's lack of attention. BUT, when somebody is particularly more emotional, or more physical than most people, their inattentive symptoms exaggerate or externalize these traits because there is less logical, pre-planned, executive center attention to monitor/override them.

So what I'm saying is, maybe impulsivity and hyperactivity aren't the main problems here. I mean, nobody really says you have ADHD if you can run a marathon but can hold a long conversation or study for long periods of time. Nobody says you have ADHD if you've got unstable, explosive emotions, but you can sit still and study or watch a 4-hour movie without getting bored (and without being obsessed with it-- let's not forget hyperfocus). Those things are called either "having lots of energy" or "mood disorders" or being "very emotional" (depending on whether or not the emotions become problems).

Some people may say "yes but many people with explosive emotions have difficulty concentrating, too." But you have to look at the brain as a balancing system. When one part is out of balance, it's going to override the other parts or let the other parts overtake them. For particularly emotional people without ADHD, they may just have such strong emotions that they override their reasoning. They're conscious of what they're doing, but their emotions are so out of control that they act on them anyway. Which then makes them less conscious of them, but mostly just really emotional, resulting in most people just seeing that they "aren't thinking logically" or have "issues with attention", when really the attention isn't the main issue but a secondary issue CAUSED by the emotions.

However, in ADHD, the main issue IS attention. They are deficient in this third step of logical thought-- the logic. Which is funny, because many people with ADHD can be very intelligent-- but their thoughts come in uneven spurts, sort of like the underactive lightbulb. They can think, but because their attention center is faulty, they can only think in short, quick spurts or sometimes, long, extra-bright periods of time before blinking out (their energy has been used up for the time being). So I don't believe ADHD is a disorder in intelligence-- intelligence seems to relate back to many different factors besides (but probably not excluding) attention. But, it is a disorder in attention.

I read somewhere that the prefrontal cortex is underactive, therefore creating the effect of a "sleepy" brain. It's activity level is literally equivalent to a trance. That's why people with ADHD are often called "spacey"... they're literally in a trance (at worst), or a slightly dreamy state (at best). The brain looks similar when sleeping and dreaming, in REM mode. Ever feel like you knew you were awake, but felt like you were dreaming? For people with fairly severe ADHD, it can feel like that.

So back to "hyperactivity" and "impulsivity"... these can, of course, manifest themselves in ADHD individuals because everyone has emotions and physical energy. It's to the EXTENT that it can cause a problem to where it needs to be addressed. People who are naturally more emotional, more sensitive, or more reactive to things, are going to be more impulsive. I haven't 100% figured out the hyperactivity part yet, but people who are naturally more full of energy I guess, are more energetic. Since energy can be expressed through emotions easily, it's easy to relate impulsivity/hyperactivity and emotional/physically reactive (think of the emotional kid who throws temper tantrums, or even the emotional man who throws the chair out the window. Idk, first thought that popped into my head. But yeah, both require lots of energy). These MIGHT be the same... I mean, in order to be motivated to throw something, you have to have a pretty good reason or impulse to, right? So I guess that could come from the same reactive part of the brain.

Sorry guys, most of this is really thinking out loud. Obv I have inattentive ADHD. Or severe ADHD. Or just fast scatterbrained thoughts that won't remember that I probably wrote the same thing 5 times in the 5 paragraphs above. So sorry for ranting :P

But that's where I'm getting with my final statement. People who have Inattentive ADHD, or ADD, or ADHD-PI (whichever you call it), are either extremely inattentive, or slightly inattentive/depressed.

I say this because there are varying degrees of inattentiveness. You just have to look at it like what causes a problem, or disorder, in your life. If you're extremely inattentive, but also have some problems with hyperactivity/impulsivity, you're going to address the inattentiveness first, right? It's the biggest problem, so you're ADHD-PI or ADD. If you're slightly inattentive, but you don't particularly struggle with impulsivity/hyperactivity, this could result in also having low motivation/low energy/lack of emotional expression/general dysphoric or down feeling. But you're still ADHD-PI or ADD, simply because this is the primary issue.

However, there are 2 differences here. 1) Varying severity of inattention. 2) Varying degrees of hyperactivity/impulsivity. I believe these 2 issues come from different parts of the brain-- they are not shared. Someone with severe inattention can also have issues with hyperactivity/impulsivity, or they could have no hyperactivity/impulsivity issues at all (they're just REALLY spacey...) these people are still ADHD-PI/ADD either way.

Some people have have mild inattention but also have issues with hyperactivity/impulsivity... in which case, they're often treated for a MOOD DISORDER instead, because the emotional/impulsive issues are stronger than the inattention. So they may be a little ADD/ADHD, but not enough for it to be the primary diagnosis.

Some people however, may be treated for ADHD/ADD, but just a mild form of the inattentive type. These people may also have very low motivation, drive, emotions, and energy. I would call these people depressed, and depending on their degree of LACK of emotion/energy, diagnose them with either depression or ADD/ADHD first (depending on which was more severe). But, since the ADHD could be mild, the depression could also be mild. Not a lot of people will go to the doctor for just mild symptoms though (well idk... we are a pill popping nation, but there are still lots of mental health stigmas, so I suppose that's up for debate).

((when I refer to depression in this description of being not motivated, tired, apathetic, and generally flat, I am referring to classic, clinical depression. not situational or aggravated depression)).

However that brings up another thought... perhaps someone with high inattentiveness plus high impulsivity/hyperactivity can become significantly depressed, as well. These individuals may mistakenly get diagnosed with ADHD-PI/ADD because they present themselves as passive and calm, but really they have internalized their feelings due to anxiety and have a more anxiety-induced depression. These combined types, or primarily hyper/impulsive types, can then have comorbid conditions alongside fairly significantly disabling ADHD.

I think this can more often than not happen with fairly severe, combined-type ADHD.

However, everyone's brain is different, and it's important for everything to be in balance! How these chemicals form and how they work is still a nature/nurture question... I personally lean toward nature simply because one can study abnormal brain function at a fairly young age before lots of developmental stages occur, so there's more evidence toward the nature aspect, but it could be both. Who knows. However, studying the FUNCTIONS of the brain tells me that ADHD would make sense only if inattention is an issue, whether with impulsivity/hyperactivity, or not. Therefore the root of ADHD is inattention, but since this is an important part of the brain that regulates other parts that could malfunction, the other malfunctioned parts are more apparent/visible with ADHD. This is why there are often co-morbid conditions that come along with it.

Therefore if you're predominantly hyper/impulsive, you either probably only have mild ADHD or you're very emotional.

This perspective on ADHD raises new interesting questions about medication, too. Which is best for inattention, which is best for impulsivity? I think it's important for the inattention to be treated first (if it's ADHD), but then it's important for any emotional issues to be addressed, too. And perhaps, people should begin looking at these predominant emotions (depending on how they're expressed-- anxiety, impulsivity, hyperactivity, depression, bipolar disorder) as co-morbid emotional disorders that need medication SEPARATE from the ADHD medication alongside ADHD treatment.

In part, I'm saying if you're also impulsive/hyperactive and it's become a problem, it may be good to supplement treating the inattention with treating the unstable moods, too. If severe enough, my guess is that it could manifest itself into bipolar disorder.

Like I said, this is just me running off with my thoughts and lots of reading (articles, books, studies, watching videos... which is not reading I realize but nevertheless). I'm not a professional, or a doctor, or a psychiatrist, neurologist, scientist, etc. I could be missing some very basic, valid information.

Regardless, what are your thoughts? Am I way off, forgetting something, misunderstanding something? Opinions please, it's just a sort of "ah ha!" moment I had although to some people it may have been already obvious.

Hope this was interesting, or enlightening, if at all Thanks for reading.
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Old 01-31-14, 04:59 AM
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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

I gave you a vote for the effort to write such a long text, but I only had the patience to read the first 5 paragraphs. Maybe I'll get back to it some day.
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Old 10-11-14, 12:09 PM
Billowwaggins Billowwaggins is offline

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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

I agree, said something similar just then in another post, great words.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:10 PM
SB_UK SB_UK is offline

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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

Maybe we simply don't pay attention when we're not interested.
And then become stressed when we force ourselves to try.

So everything *can* be interesting - but it's stimulating the interest which leads into motivation to find an answer ... ... if you're not interested in xyz - then paying attention to it is difficult in our case.

Now it should be difficult in all people's cases - because a better world we would have if people could only pay attention to things which matter (to them, to people, or just matter {period}).

So I'd suggest it's a disorder of paying attention to EVERYTHING which makes paying attention to stuff which doesn't matter (meaningless educational or workplace systems) impossible - because you can 'see' the pointlessness in engagement.
ADHD understood - simple information sensitivity.
Attention geared towards information handling.
Other calls on attention fail to captivate the ADD mind.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:14 PM
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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

10 years ago nearly my first post asked how on meds I can read the newspaperr cover to cover on dexedrine but can't without - and whether I'd retain this capacity with meds in the years to come.
I liked being able to pay attention to whatever I stipulated.

Now - many years post-dexedrine I can now (unlike then) read the paper without medication.

All that's changed is that I'm now (and was not back then) actually interested in reading the articles which I now choose to read.

The interest brings the motivation/reward.

Without interest - no matter how much you're required by society to do something (parrot learn for exams) - it's difficult/stressful to comply
- if you don't actually care for what you're attempting to place in your own mind.


The key point I'm making - from the perspective of education - is that education works when the student actually does (not pretends) want to know.

Checking around every student around me - and none of them want to know - the hardest working students just want good grades to get a high paying job ... ... ... which is not the spirit of education
- in fact is a solid enough indicator of the death of what education is meant to confer upon an individual -> morality.
ADHD understood - simple information sensitivity.
Attention geared towards information handling.
Other calls on attention fail to captivate the ADD mind.
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Old 08-02-15, 12:47 AM
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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

This was written a while ago, but I like to read the "simular threads listing on the bottom of the page and choose my favorite many gems in this forum...anyhoo...I think you have it spot on, except that you didnt highlight what triggers the flicker, what triggers the ultra bright spurts, (from experience I can ascertain the off comes from burn out). Also do brain wave patterns change during hyperfocus mode? Where are they at during "burnout mode" and is trance state the norm for the flicker?

I currently feel like there is only so much a battery. Once its all used up, it takes a while to charge back up. If we can hyperfocus, is it then possible to train our brains to exert a little less or are we like on off lights with no dimmer?

Finnally I would state that one could have major depressive disorder and ADD, sever add presenting but the sort of constant sleep state (hence the urge to want to do something exciting..its like trying to "wake up").

I have noticed, especially recently, that I cant really stay awake without my meds. I even took a couple days off, which is usually good for a reset. Currently im unusually stressed and have high anxiety/overload. So without my meds I literally fall asleep while Im sitting there.

My brain doesnt process the meaning of words when its in that state... so even though I heard you say something and I heard all the consonants I heard it as sldkfjs instead of salad dressing.... Is that a result of the flicker effect too do you think...

Im really curious about how stress effects the flicker as well...

Sorry if this wasnt necessarily coherent....however, I notice that I am able to understand most of my ADD sisteren and brotheren when they are on a rant, so I am hoping that will hold true vis-versa.
They need to come up with a scientific term for wherewithal, so I can analyze my own
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Old 08-07-15, 10:54 AM
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Re: Not sure if appropriate place for this topic, but my philosophy

SB_UK, I like your description of reading the newspaper, and I see it as sort of the following sequence:

1) Can't read the paper, don't get any benefit from trying, therefore the paper is unappealing.

2) Take medication. Can read the paper despite those longstanding feelings.

3) With time being able to read the paper, you are able to develop a new attitude toward the experience, and are able to see the benefit.

4) Without medication, you retain that positive experience and knowledge of the benefits of reading the paper, and your attitude and enthusiasm make for a good substitution for meds in terms of allowing you to focus.

In other words, medication was the tool that allowed you to get to a broader range of positive experiences, defuse some of the negative ones, and create positive change in your non-medicated self.

Am I on point here?
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