Cherish Your ADHD Brain!
ADHD Brain research has been based on the general assumption that something is wrong with people diagnosed with the condition. Those suffering from ADHD are often characterized as having impaired executive functioning of the frontal lobe. In recent years, however, more and more people are embracing the possibility that ADHD could simply be a difference rather than a disorder.
The challenges that people with ADHD face should neither be underestimated or denied. Changing the way we look at the condition, however, can already help us assume a healing mindset. Adopting a positive attitude changes our energy and consistently directs us towards more favorable outcomes.
Left- and Right-Brain Thinking
Even though we don’t fully comprehend the complexities of the brain, we have come to accept that each side of the brain has a unique set of primary functions. Practically everyone has one side of the brain that is dominant; people with ADHD tend to have right-brain dominance. If you have ADHD, it should come as no surprise that the right brain is commonly associated with creativity, intuition and emotions. More on left- and right brain functioning.
Neurotransmitters and the ADHD Brain
ADHD symptoms have long been associated with neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Because these chemicals influence behavior, learning about neurotransmitter levels and how to manage them is a good way to motivate yourself into adopting different lifestyle habits like eating certain foods, meditating and having a mindful attitude. What are neurotransmitters and which of them are associated with ADHD?
Novelty Seeking Genes and Positive Disintegration: Two Sides of The Same Coin?
Genetic research reveals that dopamine-regulating genes differ in people with ADHD when compared to non-ADHD individuals. The gene associated with these dopamine differences is referred to as the “novelty-seeking gene”
People with this genetic structure tend to be drawn to new, interesting or exciting activities because of their need for more stimulation – a strategy designed to increase dopamine production. Some people have linked ADHD with Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration. According to Dabrowksi, common ADHD symptoms – like excitability and excessive sensitivity to outside stimuli – are the exact characteristics required for individuals to achieve a higher potential for developmental growth.
Both of these conclusions appear to support the same theory, namely that there is an adaptive value to having these characteristics – the ADHD brain has a tendency to ‘think outside of the box’ and consider the broader perspective. This allows people with ADHD to experience the world with heightened perception.
The ADHD Brain Waves: Outside of the Box
The ADHD brain appears to lack ‘normal’ levels of beta brain waves. These brainwaves are associated with waking states or normal, alert consciousness. People with Attention Deficit Disorder tend to have higher amounts of alpha and theta brain wave activity. Whereas non-ADHD individuals experience an increase in beta brain waves while concentrating, for example, people with ADHD experience an increase in theta waves.
This difference in the ADHD brain results in the opposite effect, since theta waves are linked to the daydream state. Are there benefits to being in this ADHD brain state? If you have ADHD, familiarizing yourself with these different states of consciousness will help you understand why you behave, think and feel the way you do.
Here’s a short description of the different brain-wave types and their effect (these do not include delta waves associated with deep sleep and gamma waves associated with super-learning):
Accepting ADHD Brain Differences
In general, ADHD-ers are intelligent, creative, compassionate and highly sensitive people. But as a result of their heightened sensitivities and impulsiveness, they may have a difficult time navigating life in a predominantly left-brained, linear society. This can cause feelings of isolation, loneliness and low self-esteem. Having ADHD comes with its challenges. It is only in an environment of acceptance that the ADHD child or adult can function in a productive and natural way. The perfect ADHD environment is one that encourages creativity while introducing what I like to call a ‘flexible structure’. When you have ADHD, it is crucial to understand and accept that you’re different – your path will be unique. When you try to conform to the norm, you lose your sense of self.
The challenge then becomes integrating within society in such a way that you remain true to yourself. By changing perspective, you can come to embrace your ‘difference’. Acceptance is where Holistic Healing ultimately starts.