Dopamine and ADHD have a profound effect on each other. Productivity and motivation are significantly impacted by both.
Understanding their relationship is a major step to unlocking your full potential.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a common neurodevelopment disorder. Things like paying attention and impulse control are much more difficult for people with ADHD.
Nobody is certain what causes ADHD, although doctors believe it is mainly genetic. Brain injury is also a potential cause of ADHD.
ADHD can be very challenging to deal with.
Although, if dealt with correctly, ADHD can be perceived as a natural-born gift.
Normally, people will be diagnosed as children, and the disorder will last into their adult years.
For some, ADHD symptoms will wear off as they age. But for others, their symptoms will last their entire life.
ADHD has an array of symptoms and affects each person differently.
Symptoms of ADHD
How Does ADHD Affect The Brain?
ADHD affects both the function and structure of the brain. It affects cognitive functions such as motivation, behavior, mood, and motivation.
ADHD also has an effect on brain cell connections.
A study looked at activity levels among different regions of the brain. ADHD brains exhibited hyperactivity in some regions of the brain and hypoactivity in others.
This quality of ADHD brains can make it very difficult to switch from task to task. It is also why people with ADHD are able to “hyperfocus” on individual tasks.
Hyperfocus is a state that is common for people with ADHD to enter.
A hyperfocused state is when a person is engaged and enables peak performance. When hyperfocused, time seems to whizz past, with all attention put towards the task at hand.
For people with ADHD, hyperfocus occurs sporadically, although not randomly. Hyperfocus can happen when focusing on a task that is interesting or challenging.
Strategies, or taking prescribed medication can be ways of purposefully triggering hyperfocus.
Although hyperfocus can enhance productivity, it can also be troublesome.
For example, people with ADHD are prone to hyper-focusing on time-wasting activities like TikTok or video games.
How ADHD Affects Brain Structure
Many ADHD symptoms are a result of structural differences ADHD brains have.
One study indicates that children with ADHD have slightly smaller brains on average. Although, consider that brain size does not have a correlation with intelligence.
Regions of the brain such as the amygdala and hippocampus were relatively smaller in children with ADHD. These regions are responsible for regulating emotion and memory which affect motivation.
ADHD can significantly delay the maturation of the frontal cortex, the brain region responsible for organizational skills and attention.
The frontal lobe also tends to develop slower in ADHD brains, the region responsible for attention, impulsivity, and social skills.
On the other hand, the motor cortex matures quicker in children with ADHD, which can lead to fidgeting and hyperactivity.
The premotor cortex is generally less active in ADHD brains, which affects attention span.
How To Treat ADHD?
ADHD is typically diagnosed in children. However, it is very common for adults to live with the condition undiagnosed.
If you are an adult who exhibits symptoms of ADHD, consider speaking to your doctor about it. ADHD treatment could significantly better your quality of life.
After diagnosis, treatment usually entails medication prescribed by a doctor. Adderall, Focalin, and Ritalin are examples of commonly prescribed meds to treat patients.
Most doctors will require frequent follow-up visits (3-6 months) to check in on medication effectiveness and adjust dosage accordingly.
Therapy is another route some patients might prefer to take or a combination of the two.
Medication can be very beneficial for people struggling with ADHD symptoms.
Natural Remedy For ADHD
For people with ADHD who do not want to go the medication route, natural remedies for the disorder may be a better option.
Eating healthy and getting enough essential nutrients can lessen ADHD symptoms.
Daily physical activity, and getting enough sleep are other ways to improve symptoms.
What Is ADHD Paralysis?
What is ADHD paralysis?
It is a term used to describe how someone with ADHD may respond to stressful and uncertain situations.
ADHD Paralysis can appear in different forms although the principle remains the same.
For example, if someone with ADHD has a dentist appointment at 2:00 PM, it can feel impossible to do anything productive until after the dentist appointment. Even if they woke up at 8:00 AM, the small amount of stress caused by the dentist appointment is enough to “paralyze” them for most of the day.
Another example would be if someone with ADHD has a week-long project due on Friday, the time is currently 8:30 PM on Thursday, and they have not yet started the project. Instead of working on the project, ADHD brains are more likely to distract themselves with dopamine-releasing activities.
Though different, both examples exhibit similar mechanisms. Instead of allowing a stressful thought to linger in the brain, people with ADHD opt to distract themselves, taking their minds off the stress.
Difference Between ADD And ADHD
The difference between ADD and ADHD is simple… there is no difference.
In 1994, doctors determined that both ADD and ADHD would classify under ADHD.
ADHD appears in three types/forms, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyper-Active Presentation, and Combined Presentation.
1.) Predominantly Inattentive Presentation is what we previously called ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder). Causes difficulty with completing tasks, organization, short-term memory, daily routines, following instructions, conversation, etc.
2.) Predominantly Hyper-Active Presentation typically causes trouble sitting still and may make you fidget frequently. Causes difficulty with impulsivity, speaking out of turn, and lead to more frequent injuries.
3.) Combined Presentation (you guessed it) is a combination of both.
What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter used by the brain to signal the body to feel pleasure. It plays a role in regulating emotion, and taking action, and is a big part of what makes humans able to think effectively.
Motivation is heavily driven by the release of dopamine. The brain is more inclined to perform a task it anticipates will release dopamine.
Dopamine levels vary from person to person. Too much or too little dopamine can be problematic.
Signs of A Good Dopamine Balance
Symptoms of High Dopamine
Symptoms of Low Dopamine
Dopamine Effect On Brain
Dopamine significantly impacts brain function. It interacts with brain cells and generates the feeling of pleasure.
Decision-making is heavily influenced by motivation. The brain is naturally programmed to seek pleasurable activities.
Dopamine acts as the brain’s reward system. Think of yourself training a puppy to roll over, as your brain teaches you to act a certain way.
When the puppy rolls over you reward them with a treat. Similarly, when you do a dopamine-releasing activity, your brain rewards you with the feeling of pleasure.
This reward system is a natural adaptation of the brain over time, to better humans’ chance of survival.
In modern society, high dopamine-releasing activities are accessible at the click of a button. Over-exposure to dopamine can worsen executive function and cause difficulty with impulse control.
On the other hand, having chronically-low dopamine levels can lead to anxiety, depression, low sex drive, mood swings, and low self-esteem.
Significance of Dopamine
Dopamine is significant in many ways. It affects motivation, mood, attention, learning, sleep, and many other brain functions.
Dopamine has physical effects on people too. It affects the kidneys, heart rate, blood pressure, pain levels, and movement.
Studies show that dopamine can make humans perform more difficult physical tasks.
Ways To Release Dopamine
Make Dopamine Work For You
The knowledge surrounding dopamine, and how it works can give you the power to use dopamine for productivity.
When seeking productivity, the first step is to remove all dopamine-emitting distractions from your work environment.
Turn off phone notifications, and put it out of reach.
Next, develop a reward system to motivate your brain. With each completed task, cross it off on a To-Do list. Another example could be treating yourself to Starbucks after a long day at work.
Crossing a task off a list or getting a coffee both release some amount of dopamine.
After some time, your brain will associate the task you completed with the dopamine released. This method can be very beneficial for motivation.
A 2020 study published by Dr. Michael Frank of Brown University looked to answer if dopamine levels in the brain affected motivation.
The study used 50 participants aged 18-43.
First, the natural dopamine levels of each participant were measured. Next, participants were asked to pick a memory task of varying difficulty. More difficult tasks were rewarded with more money.
This study found that people with higher levels of dopamine focused more on the reward ($) and less on task difficulty. Those with lower levels of dopamine were the opposite.
Others sought to discover the link between ADHD and dopamine.
Relationship Between Dopamine And ADHD
Dopamine and ADHD have a direct relationship.
Studies have found that people with ADHD have different dopamine levels than those who do not. ADHD brains tend to have an increased concentration of dopamine receptors.
Some believe this is why people with ADHD have more difficulty regulating dopamine levels. A person with ADHD may experience symptoms of high-dopamine levels and/or dopamine levels more than the average person.
Doctors believe that ADHD symptoms may be caused by irregular dopamine levels.
Ways To Improve Motivation With Dopamine And ADHD
Motivation can be dramatically affected by ADHD. This symptom of ADHD can be extremely challenging to overcome although it is possible.
Momentum is a significant factor of success for people with ADHD. Starting your day with something as simple as making your bed can be all it takes to create momentum for the day. Momentum builds upon itself throughout the day with each completed task, each small victory leading to the next.
This can also make dealing with setbacks, big or small, very challenging for people with ADHD.
Mindfulness and gratitude can be beneficial practices to help overcome setbacks, and maintain momentum.
A dopamine detox is when a person intentionally avoids any dopamine triggers for some time.
The idea behind a dopamine detox is that afterward, you will be less influenced by dopamine-emitting distractions.
Although a dopamine detox may pose benefits, eliminating dopamine is not possible.
Do not take the phrase dopamine detox literally. Instead, think of it as disconnecting from the world to heighten your mindfulness.
An effective dopamine detox can be a daily practice in which you avoid all high dopamine emitting sources for a set period.
This practice is similar to meditation and can have tremendous benefits.
Benefits include heightened mindfulness, better impulse control, and increased productivity.
Dopamine Detox Book
If the concept of a dopamine detox interests you, I recommend you check out this book in which the author takes a deep dive into the subject.
In this dopamine detox book, you will find new and effective ways of training your mind for success.
Why Am I Not Motivated To Work?
You could be unmotivated to work for a range of reasons.
It could be an overwhelming task, uncertainty, or maybe you just are not doing something you find interesting.
Whatever the reason is, there are some strategies to use to fix your motivation.
Why Am I Not Motivated To Workout Anymore?
One of the most difficult parts of going to the gym is finding the motivation to get there.
With each gym session, momentum grows, making the motivation for going to the gym automatic over time.
Although, the momentum can stop. Injury, illness, family issues, financial trouble, or another setback can end your gym motivation.
Once lost, getting that motivation back can be a real struggle although it is far from impossible.
Use any combination of these practices to reignite your motivation for the gym:
How To Increase Dopamine While Studying?
Most people will need to devote significant time to study at some point in their lives.
It is no secret that studying can be boring and uninteresting. Studying, in most cases, is considered a low dopamine-emitting activity.
Implementing methods into your study routine to release more dopamine will make studying a much more pleasurable experience.
What Is Dopamine Brain Food?
Dopamine Brain Food is a supplement by Natural Stacks, used to enhance focus and productivity.
It is a combination of vitamins and amino acids, which naturally boosts dopamine production in the brain. No additional hormones and the boost is considered very safe.
Dopamine Brain Food can be very effective in treating ADHD symptoms.
The main drawback to Dopamine Brain Food is the cost. Natural Stacks has a money-back guaranteed policy, so if you are unsatisfied with Dopamine Brain Food’s effectiveness, send it back.
What Are Dopamine Brain Food Side Effects?
When it comes to Dopamine Brain Food side effects, there are no significant health concerns.
That being said, it is always recommended to speak with a doctor before starting a new supplement.
Cleveland Clinic – https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22581-dopamine
Into Action Recovery Centers – https://www.intoactionrecovery.com/how-dopamine-drives-our-behavior
Habit Growth – https://habitgrowth.com/dopamine/
National Institutes of Health – https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/dopamine-affects-how-brain-decides-whether-goal-worth-effort
Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-dopamine