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Differences in the Brain

A lot of neuroscience research on ADHD has shown that people with ADHD have differences in the prefrontal cortex 

  • The prefrontal cortex (shown in red in the right picture)
    regulates attention and behavior through connections

    with sensory and motor areas of the brain

  • Imaging studies have shown that people with ADHD
    have differences in how brain cells connect and
    communicate with each other 

  • Imaging studies also have shown that the prefrontal
    cortex is less activated in people with ADHD compared
    to neurotypical/allistic people (ref 1)

The prefrontal cortex needs a certain amount of two neurotransmitters (chemicals) for work at optimal levels: norepinephrine and dopamine 

  • Genetic studies have consistently shown differences in the genes of people with ADHD that impacts these two chemicals

  • Medications for ADHD increase these chemicals in the brain and allow the prefrontal cortex to work as it should


The most common type of medications for ADHD are stimulants

  • When people think of stimulants, they may think of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, which have a stimulating (activating) effect on behaviour

  • Medications for ADHD are stimulants, but the stimulating effect is on the chemicals in the brain

  • That is, they stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain so that the prefrontal cortex can work as it should (ref 2)

1 link to reference

2 link to reference

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