In ADHD, the intrinsic reward pathways are chronically under-stimulated. As a result, free-flowing dopamine levels fall, lowering the activity in the prefrontal cortex. This results in fewer rewards from our sense of pleasure. So why do stimulants calm ADHD? Let’s explore the research and the side effects. We’ll also look at the side effects of stimulants. But, first, let’s look at how these drugs affect the brain.
Increased levels of dopamine
Inflammation is a common cause of ADHD. These compounds increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which calms ADHD by reducing inflammation. The brain is highly sensitive to sensory input, so it is often on the brink of sensory overload, but it also tries to cope by seeking relief. New, novel stimuli can also cause discomfort, frustration, or irritability. But despite the many potential benefits of stimulants for ADHD, critics argue that they are over-the-top and don’t really have a cure for the disorder.
In addition to being over-the-top, many stimulants have a high potential for abuse. But these drugs have been used for over 50 years as a treatment for ADHD. Researchers have been studying the effects of stimulants without any negative side effects. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and her colleagues have used imaging studies to better understand the brain’s effects on ADHD. They compared brain scans of kids with ADHD before and after a year of stimulant treatment. The researchers found that the drugs increased the density of dopamine transporters in the brain, molecules that take action when dopamine is released.
Boosted levels of norepinephrine
Boosted levels of norepinenphrine in ADHD medications may be responsible for the calming effects of the drugs. These brain chemicals are associated with mood, attention, and behavior. In a recent study, researchers found that the rat PFC, accumbens, and medial septum all increased norepinephrine levels. However, these findings may not apply to everyone with ADHD.
While prescription stimulants are generally safe and effective in treating symptoms of ADHD, they also have the potential for misuse, especially by student athletes. Studies have shown that stimulant misuse has been linked to serious health issues, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, and sudden death. In addition, these drugs are often prescribed for long-term use, and there are few studies to prove their safety.
The widespread misuse of prescription stimulants is a serious public health issue. They have been linked to numerous side effects, including dry mouth, abdominal pain, headache, and insomnia. Additionally, some people who take stimulants for ADHD are unaware of the dangers of this type of drug. They might misidentify their symptoms as symptoms of ADHD. They may also mask other symptoms of the disorder, such as fatigue.
Regulated part of brain that controls ability to pay attention
The regulated part of brain that controls ability to pay attention in people with ADHD is believed to be involved in impulse control. The brain is continually coursing with thoughts, impulses, and sensory stimuli. The attention process is the ability to narrow attention to one stimulus, while resisting extraneous impulses. People with ADHD have poor impulse control and a reduced ability to regulate attention. This regulation is believed to be mediated by the cortical-striatal-thalamic circuit.
Scientists believe that most of the symptoms of ADHD are due to a malfunction of circuitry in the brain. These circuits are located in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia, which are clusters of nerve cells. If this part of the brain does not control attention, people with ADHD will have difficulty regulating their emotions. However, neuroimaging technology can show that fidgeting in the brain is a common symptom of ADHD.
Side effects of stimulants
One of the most common side effects of stimulants is withdrawal, especially for children on a high dose. This can be difficult to recognize in young children, so parents may interpret the phenomenon as normal. If the side effects persist, the doctor may need to adjust the dosage or consider stopping the medicine altogether. It’s important to keep a regular communication with your doctor so that you can correct any negative side effects and monitor the overall progress of your child’s treatment.
Acute stimulant effects may require dose reduction or a change in the release mechanism of the drug. Patients who experience tics may be prescribed a non-stimulant medication. Tics are sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscles of the face, mouth, neck, and shoulders. If they occur in the throat, they can lead to coughing, sniffing, or humming. Many children experience tics after starting a stimulant.