Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 4

It’s often said that people classified as ADD are prone to be sugar and caffeine junkies. Actually, it’s so prevalent it has become a bit of a joke. Research has shown that people have natural variations in their dopamine system, the neurotransmitter system in the brain that is most often implicated in ADD.

A “risk taking gene” that may be related to the dopamine system was even identified and found to be more common in people with ADD, although many people not classified as ADD also have the gene. Such people theoretically spend much of their lives looking for a “dopamine” fix to clear their heads and feel alive. They might do this via novelty or thrill seeking, exercise, intellectual pursuits, or through artificial chemical means such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.

One study of nearly 2,000 twins suggested that heavy caffeine consumption is 80 percent genetic, while physical dependence on caffeine (resulting in withdrawal symptoms) was 40 percent inherited.

Marjorie Roth Leon, PhD, of National-Louis University, performed an aggregate analysis of 19 empirical studies examining the effects of caffeine on aspects of cognitive, psychomotor, and emotional functioning among children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Traditional treatments, such as the stimulant drugs methylphenidate and amphetamine, outperformed caffeine in improving functioning and reducing levels of hyperactivity. However, says Leon, "compared to giving children with ADHD no treatment whatsoever, caffeine appears to have potential to improve their functioning in the areas of improved parent and teacher perceptions of their behavior, reduced levels of aggression, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, and improved levels of executive functioning and planning."

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


sparky said...

The HOPE for me was learning that I could possibly learn to meditate and or at least turn off or reboot my system.

It worked even though sometimes not for very long but I am getting better. I was also told for more HOPE to check out the term neuroplasticity.

I will say it is harder to teach an old dog new tricks sadly I had to get older before I started taking this serious.

Fear of insanity is also a good motivator!

Frank said...

There is a recent study with results that delineate the gene that has been linked to impulse.

The same "risk gene" is thought to be a marker for persons more susceptible to alcoholism.