Adhd bad memory

Surprising Facts About ADHD - Tooth Grinding, Poor Memory

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 3 to 7 percent of school-aged children. And while the number of children who receive an ADHD diagnosis increases every day, there are still many little-known facts out there that most parents don’t know. Understanding all aspects of ADHD is important, because research shows that the childhood disorder can persist into adulthood, and adults with untreated ADHD have higher than average rates of divorce, unemployment, substance abuse, and disability. Check out these five surprising facts about ADHD that can help you better understand your child’s condition:

1. Tooth Grinding Is Linked to ADHD

Turns out your child’s ADHD anxiety doesn’t sleep when your kid does. Research suggests that children with the habit of involuntarily grinding their teeth, known as bruxism, are more likely to develop anxiety, stress and hyperactivity, and bruxism has also been linked to ADHD.

A 2009 study published in Sleep found that teens diagnosed with ADHD earlier in life were more likely to have sleep problems and disorders, such as such as insomnia, sleep terrors, snoring, and bruxism. The study, which involved 281 children between 10 and 17 years old with ADHD and 185 similar children who did not have the condition, revealed these sleep problems occurred regardless of the severity of the teens’ ADHD symptoms.

2. ADHD Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Diagnosis

There is more than one type of ADHD. In fact, there are three types, and diagnosis depends on the visible ADHD symptoms:

  • Inattentiveness: Includes not listening when spoken to, being easily distracted, having trouble paying attention and organizing activities, and avoiding activities that require focus and concentration.
  • Hyperactivity: Includes fidgeting, excessive and inappropriate running or climbing when it's not appropriate, trouble with quiet play or activities.
  • Impulsivity: Includes having trouble waiting, saying inappropriate things without thinking, or interrupting.

Only some kids with ADHD are hyperactive. Others, particularly girls, may be calm, but have a form of ADHD that makes it harder for them to focus or pay attention. The American Psychiatric Association established guidelines based on these three types to help doctors more accurately diagnose and treat ADHD.

3. ADHD Is Often Mistaken for Other Conditions

A number of other health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, have symptoms that are similar to those of ADHD. Other mental disorders, such as mood disorder, personality disorder, or OCD, may also be misdiagnosed as ADHD.

In some cases, children's circumstances may cause them to behave in ways that can be misinterpreted as ADHD. As a result, doctors must determine whether or not a sudden change or stressor in children's lives — such as the death of a family member or divorce — is affecting their behavior.

4. ADHD Is Associated With Short-Term Memory Problems

Although they do not have problems with long-term memories, people with ADHD may have impaired short-term — or working — memory, research shows. As a result, they may have difficulty remembering assignments or completing tasks that require focus or concentration.

A 2012 review published in Clinical Psychology Review found that children with ADHD have statistically significant, large magnitude working memory problems compared to similar children who did not have ADHD.

5. Sugar and TV Do Not Cause ADHD

Although sugar intake, watching too much TV, and a chaotic family life can worsen symptoms of ADHD, research does not show they actually cause the condition. ADHD does, however, appear to run in families. Research involving families, twins, and children who were adopted suggest there is a strong genetic influence in ADHD risk.

There is no quick fix for ADHD. Although medication can help treat people’s symptoms, it's only part of an overall ADHD treatment strategy. Behavior therapy, including help staying organized and making positive choices, also plays a role in managing the condition. Treatment strategies for ADHD must be monitored and adjusted over time, just like medications.

ADHD and Memory Loss: What to Know

Written by Stephanie Langmaid

In this Article

  • ADHD and Memory
  • What Causes Memory Loss?
  • How Can You Tell if It’s ADHD or Something Else?
  • ADHD and Dementia
  • When to See Your Doctor

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), forgetfulness is probably something you’ve dealt with your whole life. But maybe your memory problems are starting to feel different. You’re forgetting things more often. You’re losing the thread of conversations or grasping for the right word.

There are a lot of reasons for memory loss. Some of them are serious, some are easy to treat. Here are some ways to tell whether what you’re experiencing is ADHD, or something else.

ADHD and Memory

When you have ADHD, memory problems tend to show up in ways like missing appointments, or forgetting where you put your phone or keys. ADHD affects two different kinds of memory:

Working memory. This is the part of your memory that allows you to turn information you learn into action, for example: remembering instructions long enough to finish a task. Studies show working memory is less effective in children and adults who have ADHD than in those who don’t.

Long-term memory. People with ADHD often don’t do well on tests of long-term memory. But scientists believe that has to do with how they process information. When you have ADHD, distractions may prevent you from taking in information, or your brain may store it in a disorganized way. Memories aren’t lost, they aren’t made in the first place.

What Causes Memory Loss?

If you’re noticing memory problems, your fears may go straight to dementia. But many other things – including normal aging – can cause memory loss. Other causes can include:

  • Mental health issues, including stress, trauma, and depression
  • Lack of sleep or sleep apnea
  • Not enough of certain vitamins, particularly B1 and B12
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications, including:
    • Antidepressants
    • Antihistamines
    • Narcotic pain killers
    • Drugs for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, incontinence, and seizures
  • Menopause
  • Underactive or overactive thyroid

If you can find out and treat the underlying cause, your memory may go back to normal.

More serious conditions can cause memory loss, too, including:

  • Brain injury from an accident, infection, stroke, or tumor
  • Illnesses that involve the brain, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and HIV

If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor about your memory problems.

How Can You Tell if It’s ADHD or Something Else?

Memory loss can look and feel the same whether it’s a symptom of ADHD or something else. But there are some clues that can help you and your doctor figure out what’s causing it.

When did the problem start?ADHD symptoms start in childhood. If your memory loss is a new problem, it could have a different cause. Most people lose some amount of brain function as a natural part of aging, starting in your 30s and 40s. Your brain’s function shrinks even more by age 60. Your brain goes through physical changes, and brain cells have a harder time communicating. You may learn new information more slowly and have trouble with multitasking.

Dementia usually starts to appear after age 65. Symptoms tend to start slowly and gradually get worse until you’re no longer able to manage your daily life.

Has something changed? ADHD symptoms don’t get worse over time, but they can become more noticeable under certain circumstances. If you’ve just retired, losing the structure of the workday can cause old problems to crop up again, like managing your time and focusing on a task long enough to finish it. The hormone changes of menopause can highlight ADHD symptoms.

Have you recently been through a stressful situation or traumatic event? Did you hit your head in a fall? Did you start a new medication? Identifying changes in your life may point you to the reason for your memory loss.

Do you have other symptoms? If your memory loss has a physical cause, you’re likely to have other issues, too. Do you have headaches? Blurred vision? Muscle weakness or paralysis? Those could mean a problem with your brain, like an injury, blood clot, or tumor. See your doctor or get emergency care, especially if these symptoms come on suddenly.

Thyroid problems can cause low energy and weight gain. A B12 deficiency can cause balance problems.

What kind of things do you forget? With ADHD, you may not remember where your car keys are because you were distracted when you put them down. But with dementia, you may be driving somewhere you’ve been a hundred times, and suddenly get lost.

In the early stages of dementia, your working memory may be fine, but you don’t remember recent events, like a conversation you had earlier in the day.

Normal aging can make it harder for you to learn new things, so you may not recall the name of someone you just met.

ADHD and Dementia

More and more often, older people are going to the doctor because they think they’re developing dementia, only to find out they have ADHD. The learning disorder is believed to be underdiagnosed in adults. The standards used to identify ADHD in kids don’t apply as well to older people. And over time, some people get very good at making up for their processing problems.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the earliest stage of dementia. It shares many symptoms with ADHD, but there are some important differences.

People with ADHD and people with MCI may both have:

  • Problems with so-called executive functions, like paying attention and processing information
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble with impulse control
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

But the conditions are also different in many ways:

  • Symptoms of ADHD begin in childhood. MCI starts when you’re older.
  • Symptoms of ADHD generally stay the same or become less noticeable in adulthood. MCI gets worse over time.
  • People with ADHD are usually fully aware of their memory problems and can describe their symptoms and notice changes. With dementia, it’s more likely to be a caregiver who first spots the problem.
  • Medications that can improve the brain function of people with MCI don’t work on ADHD. And the stimulants that help with ADHD have no effect on dementia.

There’s some evidence that people with ADHD may be more likely to develop dementia as they age, particularly the disease called Lewy body dementia. People with both disorders share some of the same brain chemistry differences. And some behaviors that are common in people with ADHD, like smoking and drinking too much alcohol, are known to put you at risk for cognitive decline.

But the jury is still out on whether people with ADHD actually get dementia any more often than people without ADHD.

When to See Your Doctor

Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your memory loss, especially if it’s gone on for some time or if it’s affecting your daily life.

They can do several kinds of tests to try to get to the bottom of it. You may get:

  • Mental status tests, where you’re asked to do things like repeat a list of words, name objects, follow multistep commands and answer questions about the past
  • Neurological tests
  • Imaging tests like an MRI
  • Blood or urine tests

Many causes of memory loss are temporary and treatable. If it turns out your memory issues are a symptom of your ADHD, there are still things you can do. Your doctor may adjust your medication or try a different one. Or you may try behavioral therapy or counseling.

How are working memory problems related to mental disorders? - Knife

Poor spatial and auditory memory

ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Phil seemed like an ordinary child, restless, eager to explore the world around him. He carried out experiments with interest in the company of his peers, wrote down the childishly naive results, tried to quench his constant thirst for knowledge. When it was time to go to school, the parents breathed a sigh of relief: finally, Phil would have access to what he was so actively looking for - information.


However, things weren't going well at school. The teachers complained about Phil: he constantly fidgeted in his chair, swayed, and asked non-stop questions that were far from always related to the topic being studied. The child was distracted all the time, could not concentrate, did problems and tests poorly, and made many mistakes in homework. Soon the teachers noted that he reads and counts worse than the others, but no one argued that the child is very smart. At home, Phil did not stop doing his experiments, but now his parents noticed that he rarely brought them to the end. Moreover, the boy began to complain more often about fatigue and poor sleep.

What is working memory and how it works

Anatomy of decision making: what is working memory and can it be improved

Teachers invited parents for a talk. They claimed that Phil had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The idea that their child was considered "abnormal" outraged the parents. A few months later, Phil was transferred to another school, where the situation repeated itself ...

In the end, the parents listened to the teachers' advice, because the complaints against Phil did not stop. Despite the stereotype rooted in the minds of parents that going to a psychologist is actually a recognition of "abnormality", they nevertheless decided to take this step.

The neurologist asked the parents to carefully observe the child's behavior, he conducted numerous interviews with Phil and his teachers, and made the boy perform various psychological tests. After 6 months of work, he diagnosed ADHD, because at least 6 symptoms of this disorder necessarily manifested themselves during the entire period of the examination.

American psychologist Violet Oaklander wrote that children like Phil "have no control over their bodies", "are fussy and move around a lot", "experience learning difficulties caused by insufficient ability to perceive visual, auditory, and sometimes tactile images ". ADHD is a disorder that needs to be dealt with as neglect often results in educational and social problems.

Phil soon found himself in the laboratory of Francisco Castellanos, who is studying the neurological basis of ADHD. The scientist conducted studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and with its help demonstrated that Phil and other similar children have slightly different brain anatomy: the volume of the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum is slightly smaller than in ordinary children. However, by the age of 15, the difference had leveled off. Castellanos also showed that people with lesions in these areas never develop ADHD.

Researcher Russell Barclay, observing the development of the situation, offered his interpretation of events. Since the prefrontal cortex is associated with working memory, it is possible that its violations underlie ADHD. This idea was taken up by another scientist, Larry Siedmann, who, using a working memory task (n-back task), showed that adults with ADHD had less activity in the left inferior occipital lobe and cerebellum.

The N-back task allows you to check the ability of working memory to update its contents. Participants are shown a series of letters (sounds, images, etc.). They have to say if the given stimulus is the same as N steps back. Accordingly, N can be equal to one, two, three, etc. The larger N, the more difficult the task.

Working memory model by Alan Baddeley. Source
During his research, Phil grew up and became involved in scientific research himself. He became interested in the idea of ​​problems with working memory and studied the model of working memory proposed by Alan Baddeley.

Because children with ADHD performed poorly on the auditory-spatial memory task, the researchers concluded that ADHD was caused by problems in the development of the phonological loop, a component responsible for processing verbal and object information.

Further digging into working memory problems in ADHD has revealed that the disorder may be associated with impaired metabolism of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the frontal cortex and cerebellar problems. And this meant that if you somehow influence them, then you can save a person from this syndrome.

Phil was surprised to find out. He already knew that working memory depends primarily on the activity of the fronto-parietal network . However, as he delved deeper into ADHD research, he became convinced that the cerebellum, long considered the exclusive motor center of our body, also plays a significant role in working memory. Although scientists usually did not pay due attention to this part of the brain.

So, thanks in part to the study of ADHD patients, scientists have discovered another area involved in working memory, the cerebellum. At the same time, by studying working memory, they were able to discover possible mechanisms for the development of ADHD - problems of the phonological loop.

By the way, Phil is free from ADHD. Gradually, it became easier for him to concentrate, communicate and learn.

Doctors learned that Phil, based on scientific data, used other pedagogical formats for teaching - mainly auditory and motor, which allowed not only to train the phonological loop, but also to spend body energy. At the same time, he used various exercises for the development of working memory and attention .

Phil also worked for a while with psychologist Violet Oaklander. In class, she used calming activities that relieved psychological stress: working with clay, sand, water, finger painting with paints. In her practice, Oaklander also used work with wood (construction, modeling) - this helped children activate kinesthetics. Of course, all this time, Phil took a number of drugs that allowed him to control the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.

As a result, liberation from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was the result of both psychotherapeutic and medicinal effects. But what played a greater role, Phil does not know.

Learning Disorders

Phil now works at a school teaching children with special needs. And at the same time, he studies them, trying to identify problems in working memory and their relationship with the ability to learn. More and more parents come to Phil who complain about the school results of their children. Surprisingly, as a rule, these results are not associated with ADHD, and intelligence tests say that children are smart and capable of a lot.


Phil suggested that these children have learning disabilities. They are almost no different from their peers, but it is much more difficult for them to read, count and write. After studying the literature, Phil learned about the existence of 4 such disorders:

Because of these problems, children learn worse and slower. The successes that they theoretically could achieve, in practice, turn out to be much more modest than expected.

These children score moderate to high on intelligence tests, but have difficulty with correct pronunciation, speed reading, spelling, and counting.

Phil met the famous researcher Lee Swenson, who devoted himself to the study of working memory disorders. Swenson suggested that reading, writing, and counting all depend on working memory. It is logical that the phonological loop also serves as the core of the development of such disorders, because all these problems are associated with symbols and words.

Both reading and writing require a person to keep meaning in the active memory zone, extract word meanings from long-term storage, and integrate them with the information received. All this happens in working memory.

Based on this assumption, Swenson developed a range of working memory tests that can be used to diagnose current or future learning problems. One of the tasks often used by scientists is filling in the gaps in the text. Its implementation requires both understanding the text and presenting its semantic picture, as well as searching for the right word and coding it into a series of small motor actions carried out when writing.

Phil later met with Wayne Lazar and Frank Yatchik, who demonstrated that learning disorders can be associated with the frontal cortex, the left parietal cortex, and the area of ​​the brain that links the two hemispheres, the corpus callosum.

See also

How do depression and epilepsy affect memory?

The left hemisphere of the brain is most often activated when performing verbal communication tests, so the idea of ​​the influence of problems in the development of the phonological loop has become widespread. Swenson suggested that children who find it difficult to read may not speak the text to themselves, because of which they have impaired short-term memory. And here we need to remember about speed reading, within the framework of which it is pronunciation to oneself that is considered the main reason for the slow pace of reading.

Fila wondered why people with problems in the verbal component of working memory do not have problems with intelligence. Swenson suggested that perhaps such patients use different compensatory strategies, such as relying on visual memory instead of auditory memory when learning.

Subsequent experiments showed Phil that not only the phonological loop is the cause of all the troubles of his students. In fact, students with learning disabilities also had problems with another component of working memory, the visual-spatial notebook. They performed poorly on visual memory tests if they had problems with numeracy, and vice versa.

Phil found a graph that clearly shows that children with reading or numeracy problems perform worse on verbal memory tasks, and if both disorders appear together, then verbal working memory worsens even more. At the same time, visual working memory proper only affects counting skills and the situation when both impairments are present.

Source: Cognitive Risk Factors for Specific Learning Disorder: Processing Speed, Temporal Processing, and Working Memory, PubMed (

Phil delved into the study of the visual-spatial component and found that it can be impaired in children with another symptom - developmental coordination disorder (~ 6% of the population). Alex, a boy from Phil's class with such a disorder, is very clumsy. His drawings look strange because he has difficulty drawing details. He has poor control over his body and his postures, which makes it difficult to communicate with him. In gym class, Alex often becomes the object of ridicule because he can't even throw and catch a ball.

In addition, Alex has bad posture, and sometimes he cannot figure out which hand to use to solve a particular problem.

Longitudinal (long-term) studies of such children for 3 years have shown that they subsequently develop problems with reading and understanding speech. Therefore, it is important to notice a developing disorder in time and develop an individual child education program. Tracey Alloway has shown that children with these problems find it difficult to solve problems where it is necessary to determine the size of an object, its position in space, or the distance to an object.

From a neurological point of view, the coordination disorder may be due to the immaturity of the motor part of the neocortex, which is responsible for transmitting motor commands to the body. Unfortunately, this underdevelopment of the cortex often persists into adulthood, leading to social and emotional problems.

Apparently, the underdevelopment of the visual-spatial notebook gradually covers the entire working memory, affecting the phonological loop as well, which causes problems with reading.

Phil realized that the association of impairments in working memory components with learning disorders can be used to detect the latter in a timely manner. He began to use a special battery of tests for working memory (Working memory test battery for children) to diagnose disorders and develop special training programs.

Such programs include special exercises aimed at training motor skills and attention. In addition, since there are few treatment options today, Phil suggested physical therapy, the main idea of ​​\u200b\u200bwhich is that the more you move, the more you learn to do it right. He tried to create a favorable and comfortable environment in his classes, because one of the problems of such children is low self-esteem, which is formed partly due to the ridicule of peers. Phil encourages children to be resourceful: for example, if they can't write something down, he suggests using other means of memory - a voice recorder, a whiteboard, etc.

The example of Phil and his students shows that poor working memory can be a risk factor in the development of learning disorders. And this means that it can be used to screen such children in order to develop special training programs for them in time to help compensate for cognitive deficiencies.

Information Processing Disorders

Depression and Ruminations

Franz, Ernst, and Edgar are three talents who, in adulthood, faced a serious disorder that robs working memory of resources. They suffered from sudden mood swings, felt oppressive loneliness, and sometimes could not force themselves to do anything, even eat. Psychiatrists labeled all the symptoms with a simple but meaningful name - major depressive disorder.


Three young people, as well as people with similar diagnoses, were asked by scientists to undergo a study. The goal was to understand how their disease affects working memory. To do this, we used the “n-back-task” technique described above.

It turned out that in patients with depression, the activity of the prefrontal cortex was significantly higher than in ordinary subjects .

However, this did not affect the results of the task. Additionally, patients showed strong activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus.

Fronto-parietal network and cingulate gyrus. Source

The prefrontal cortex is the hub of many cognitive functions, it plays an important role in organizing the communication of cerebral cortex neurons with the ancient limbic structures of the brain that we traditionally associate with emotions. It is this area of ​​the brain that is identified with the central processing unit of working memory, which was identified by Alan Baddeley. Disruptions in the work of the central processor can lead to pathological changes in this area (decrease in neurons and their connections with each other), and cause problems of emotional control.

What is the reason for the increased activity in this area? Apparently, this is an attempt by the brain to compensate for emotional influences, to slow down unnecessary thoughts so that working memory manifests itself at full capacity. Moreover, hyperactivation may be a brain strategy to compensate for the decrease in neuronal size that occurs with depression. Similar observations were later confirmed in metastudies.

Three of our heroes - Edgar, Ernst and Franz - also hyperactivated some other zones (for example, the right temporal gyrus). However, a number of areas with reduced activity (insular cortex) were also observed. Moreover, it has been shown that the degree of hyperactivation correlates with the level of complexity of the task being solved.

Perhaps, as Joseph Callicot suggested, this is a kind of signal of neural inefficiency: the brain is not able to control its hypernetwork, which is why different areas of the brain are turned on to perform the same task, the activity of which can overlap - contribute to each other or interfere.

Maybe interesting

Where our memory is stored, how the brain can be mapped and why attention is a fiction

The specific pattern of brain activity distribution in depressive disorder serves as a way to diagnose it. It is logical to assume that if you normalize brain activity in certain areas, then you can reduce the symptoms of depression. Such inhibition is carried out with the help of medications and transcranial electrical stimulation, in which a weak electrical current is supplied to the desired area of ​​the brain. It changes the ability of neurons to excite (their activation threshold).

Bipolar personality disorder Source

Vincent and Abraham decided to take part in the study of working memory because at times they felt they couldn't remember anything. In this study, they met Frank, Ernst and Edgar, who had a depressive disorder combined with a bipolar disorder.

All of them from time to time experienced an oppressive feeling of the futility of being, which was replaced by manic hyperactivity, a feeling of endless internal energy and an unbridled desire to move.

The scientists asked them to test their working memory with the Ray Complex Figure task. Participants are shown a drawing of a large number of details. You need to remember it, and after a while draw it from memory.


It turned out that participants perform worse on a memory task, which, in fact, involves all components of working memory. Also, low results were demonstrated when performing verbal and visual tests. At the same time, increased activity was observed in the prefrontal region, temporal cortex, and posterior parietal cortex. Scientists have suggested that this is an artifact of the brain. Perhaps these results indicate that these patients generally remember differently, using different strategies. All this points to disturbances in the work of the central processor, which controls selective attention.

What if everything goes wrong all at once?

OCD - obsessive-compulsive disorder Source

Doctors diagnosed Nikola with OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. A talented person is afraid of germs, constantly washes his hands and avoids round objects. Such strange behavior occurs because a person is seized by an obsessive thought (obsession) that causes an obsessive action (compulsion): “A microbe from this fork can provoke a terrible disease, you need to urgently wipe everything with an alcohol wipe.” For some, ritual actions are an obsessive check of something (“Did I close the door?”), For some, it is a constant cleaning of oneself and surrounding objects.

See also

Compulsion, addiction, or impulse control problems: do you have an obsessive-compulsive disorder

Since some thought is constantly swirling around in your head and causing compulsions, it is possible that such a condition manifests itself in the form of hyperactivation of the working memory network. At the same time, a certain signal (pattern) is repeated in the head - “an obsessive thought is spinning”. Scientists observe activity in different areas of the brain depending on the nature of the compulsive actions.

The researchers found that Nikolai had problems with cognitive function - inhibition. Studies have shown that patients with "check" rituals showed lower results on the Stroop test (inhibition task) and GO / NO-GO tasks than patients with "cleansing" rituals.

Visual-spatial working memory impairment is more common in OCD. However, a number of scientists suggest that the violations are not specific, but show working memory problems in general and depend on the complexity of the task. It is possible to diagnose OCD by testing working memory not only in patients, but also in immediate family members, since this disorder is believed to be genetic in nature.

Knowing that the central processing unit of working memory suffers in such patients, try to guess which area of ​​the brain will show altered activity? That's right - prefrontal.

We already know that working memory tests can identify areas of the brain with impaired activity. Patients with OCD and their relatives show increased activity in the fronto-parietal network, and this may support the idea that OCD is associated with all components of working memory, including the episodic buffer that links current information with knowledge from long-term memory.

Perhaps this activity is related to the need to retain irrelevant thoughts that come into working memory, in part due to the influence of memories stored in long-term memory. And in this case, as with other disorders, there is drug therapy that allows you to slow down the brain, as well as behavioral therapy based on training the brain and working memory (cognitive training), which allows you to better control thoughts.


The connection of all the above disorders with working memory allows you to diagnose problems in time and monitor their impact on a person. Working memory is thus at the center of personality psychology. It is obvious that with its help it is possible to understand the causes of the development of the described disorders and, more importantly, to suggest timely strategies for memory training, drug or stimulation treatment, and prevention.

However, what is really behind the altered brain activity is a mystery that has yet to be unraveled. Why did Vincent, Franz, Edgar and Ernst, suffering from significant emotional problems and cognitive dysfunctions, create masterpieces that we read or admire to this day? Why did Abraham become famous as one of the most prominent political figures? Why did Nikola become a symbol of genius and define the shape of today's electrical industry? It's hard to see why problems go hand in hand with genius. Perhaps, in fact, any violation is a gift?

What is ADHD and why the diagnosis is not a sentence

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder occurs in every tenth child. However, not all doctors can diagnose it. Without treatment, it progresses, worsening the quality of life. So how can you help ADHD patients?

What is ADHD

Attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological-behavioral developmental disorder that begins in childhood. Pathology has more than a dozen symptoms. The most common are the inability to concentrate for a long time, absent-mindedness, inattention, restlessness, irascibility, poor memory. From the side it seems that such a person seems to be “flying in the clouds”.

Doctors distinguish three types of mental disorders.

  • The first - with a predominance of attention deficit. The person cannot concentrate, is distracted, forgetful.
  • The second is hyperactive and impulsive. When it is difficult to stay in one position for a long time and restrain emotional impulses.
  • Third - mixed. Combines the features of the first and second. Occurs most often.

The listed symptoms are attributed to character traits, accusing a person or oneself of laziness, procrastination and conflict. In fact, it is not the individual who is “guilty”, but his brain and nervous system. According to the International Classification of Diseases, ADHD is classified as a hyperkinetic disorder.

In Russia, the syndrome is not well understood. Not all specialists are aware of it and know the evaluation criteria. Many do not understand how to diagnose and treat a disease, Olga Demyanenko, a family and child psychologist of the highest category, told RBC. This leads to the fact that sometimes healthy children are given this diagnosis erroneously. And those who really suffer from ADHD do not get the help they need.

How to recognize ADHD in children

Some specialists can diagnose ADHD even in children under one year old. The main symptoms are severe excitability and hyperactivity. Babies often cry, scream, twitch their arms and legs, says Olga Demyanenko. In older children (4-5 years), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is more pronounced.

“The child is constantly on the move, it is difficult for him to sit still. And this is not connected with some kind of game - he needs movement in itself. He switches very quickly. He took one toy, played, then another. Also, he cannot keep his attention on something for a long time. He needs a switch, he gets tired quickly. Plus, it’s hard to calm down, he can’t fall asleep for a long time, ”says Demyanenko.

A child with ADHD finds it difficult to follow instructions and often does not even hear what is being said to him. Also, a small person cannot behave quietly and with restraint, even when there is no reason for concern. He talks loudly, laughs loudly, screams.

How common is ADHD

The disorder affects approximately 2-10% of children. Research data on this matter vary. In boys, pathology is diagnosed several times more often than in girls.

Some children outgrow this syndrome. That is, mental functions are restored as they grow older. But this is not always the case. In adulthood, the syndrome is present in 2-4% of people, French researchers report in their work. More than half of the people who were diagnosed with ADHD in childhood have symptoms of the disease that persist into adulthood, Anna Portnova, head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, a branch of the National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and narcology named after V.P. Serbsky" of the Ministry of Health of Russia.

Adults show the same symptoms, including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and emotional dysregulation. If left untreated, in adulthood ADHD is superimposed in 80% of cases by other psychiatric disorders - anxiety disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders associated with the use of psychoactive substances, sleep disorders, restless legs syndrome. It's hard for people like that. All spheres of life "suffer" from this disease.

The degree of influence of ADHD on a person depends on his personal characteristics. One will be able to adapt and live normally, the other will go downhill. According to a recent study, among youth and adult offenders in police custody, prisons, probation and forensic psychiatric institutions, about 25% suffer from ADHD. They are at a disadvantage in the system because their symptoms are not recognized or misunderstood. Instead of providing psychiatric care, disciplinary sanctions are applied to them, which does not help.

Causes of ADHD

The work of the brain in children with ADHD and in healthy children is different, scientists from the Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after. M.V. Lomonosov. With a mental disorder, the energy metabolism in the frontal sections of the brain changes. They are the key links in the regulation of behavior and emotions, and are also responsible for the function of programming and control. There is a decrease in metabolism and a decrease in the functional connections of the frontal regions with other brain structures. With ADHD, the left and right hemispheres do not “get along” well with each other, the connections between them are broken. “Imbalances in the relations of regulatory subcortical-stem structures” are noted.

Doctors have not yet determined the exact cause of these disorders. It is believed that a significant role is played by hereditary predisposition. Also, ADHD in a child may develop due to the fact that his mother smoked during pregnancy, drank alcohol or drugs. The disorder may occur due to complications in childbirth or chronic illnesses of the mother.

Scientists from the Rostov State Medical University conducted a study and found that the uncontrolled use of digital technologies in childhood increases the symptoms of ADHD. And also leads to increased aggression and irritability, isolation, inability to control emotions, increased feelings of anxiety, anxiety and fear.

How to treat ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder needs to be diagnosed by several specialists. This is a neurologist or neuropathologist, as well as a neuropsychologist or clinical psychologist and psychiatrist. Only after making sure that the diagnosis is correct, you need to take action.

Not only drugs are important for a child, but also the right psychological and pedagogical approach, warns Anna Portnova. According to her, a good teacher will put such a student on the first desk and will try to keep his attention. And the bad one will send him to the last one and will constantly make comments, thereby aggravating the child’s condition.

Cognitive behavioral therapy performed by a psychologist or psychiatrist is also effective in the diagnosis of ADHD.

There are drugs that improve brain function and activate attention function. But in Russia there are few registered. We simply do not have many drugs that have proven effectiveness, says Portnova. And this is a big problem.

Therapy with a psychologist is a more affordable option for the correction of ADHD symptoms for Russians. And it is quite effective in most cases.

A still from the series The Good Doctor. Caption: The character on the show, Salen Morrison, has ADHD. She uses original methods for concentration: meditation, playing the ukulele, as well as many gadgets - fitness bracelets, tablets, etc.

How to live with ADHD as an adult

Attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder persists into adulthood. Experts say it is possible to adapt to this condition, even without the use of medication. A person with ADHD can be successful both in his personal life and in his profession. This can be achieved by controlling your habits, learning to recognize and use your strengths, and controlling your behavior.

Psychologists advise a person with ADHD to properly organize their workspace by removing unnecessary items from the table. For example, a stack of unnecessary papers or books. In order not to forget anything, you can make a to-do list every day. A great help for a person with this disorder can be a day planner, a calendar on a smartphone or computer. People with ADHD like to procrastinate. To avoid this, follow the principle: if a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it now.

People with ADHD find it difficult to manage their time properly. To avoid this, psychologists advise using a watch. When you start doing work, write down the time and say it out loud. For each task, it is necessary to allocate a certain time period. This is easy to do using a timer or an alarm clock. Let it fire at regular intervals. This makes it harder to lose track of time, a common problem for people with ADHD.

Adults with Attention Deficit and/or Hyperactivity Disorder are often overly impulsive. They jump from one task to another. This may interfere with work. Experts recommend always starting with the most important task.

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