ADHD Brain Differs From Normal Brain

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In a report of a study that was printed in the Biological Psychiatry,researchers apparently have found that there are certain diffferences between the brain reward system for patients with ADHD and children with no signs of the ADHD disorder.  

In a small study, Spanish researchers used MRI to scan the brains of 84 children, half with ADHD and half with no signs of ADHD.  They concluded that the ventral striatum, a small place in the brain that is responsible for reward, decisions, and risk was smaller, particularly on the right side, in those children with ADHD.  This part of the brain maintains levels of motivation when a person starts a task and continues to maintain motivation until the task is completed.

These findings support results from previous studies in animals in which researchers identified an association between this part of the brain with impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.

The researchers conclude that ADHD is not only caused by brain alterations that affect cognitive processes, but is also calsued by brain irregularities that cause problems with motivation.

ADHD brain regions do not work well together

A study by Rubicon grant winner Ali Mazaheri has shown that a lack of communication between brain regions may result in ADHD symptoms. His conclusions add further support to the idea that ADHD is not due to a defect in the brain regions. […]

ADHD Brain May Be a Little Different

image of the human brain THURSDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) — A link appears to exist between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anomalies in the brain’s reward system, a new study suggests. […]   

Brain Reward System Tied to ADHD

New research suggests a new brain circuit may influence the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Historically, ADHD was believed to.  

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Similarity between ADHD and Bipolar

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Interestingly enough, there are many similarities between ADHD and bipolar syndrome which should be recognized when attempting to diagnose a child behavior.

Both ADHD and Bipolar share similar characteristics such as impulsivity, inattention, hyperactivity, sudden behavior changes, defiant conduct, and learning problems.  Many experience motor restlessness at night (this occurs to bipolar children when in a "manic" phase). 

In many cases, psychostimulants or antidepressants can be prescribed to treat both disorders.  For this reason, in many cases, it is hard to tell these conditions apart.

So, how can you tell the difference?  Well, for one, when it comes to destructiveness, an ADHD child will break things carelessly while playing while the bipolar individual breaks things as a result of anger.   Children who are bipolar may exhibit severe temper tantrums  where they release manic quantities of emotional and physical energy, sometimes with violent results.

The duration of the outburst will also tend to be longer with children who are bipolar, lasting for over 30 minutes to up to 2-4 hours.  An ADHD child, on the other hand, generally calms down withn 20-30 minutes.

Tantrums by bipolar children are generally triggered by limit-setting conflicts with authority figures, whereas ADHD are fueled by sensory and overstimulation.

It should also be noted that children with bipolar disorder exhibit intentional misbehavior, such as crashing into a wall on purpose while a child with ADHD may crash into the wall accidentally.  The same thing goes for fighting – an ADHD child may inadvertently get into a fight while the bipolar child looks for the fight and the power struggle that goes along with it.

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