View Full Version : Dopamine

07-22-11, 07:43 AM
Is it possible to have ASD and also dopamine deficiency?

I've been treated for ADHD for three years, but my new psychiatrist (who comes highly recommended) thinks I might have ASD, and the "rule" is that you can't be officially diagnosed with both.

So far I'm just taking Strattera (with Valdoxan for anxiety), but I have almost all the symptoms of dopamine deficiency. I thought that ASD meant that dopamine was too high. I've done my best to research ASD symptoms, but it's a very mixed picture at the moment. From the varied reports I've found online, there's very little consistency, and it almost looks like ADHD is a subset of ASD.

07-22-11, 10:06 AM
Well, ADHD is caused by dopamine under-activity, so I suppose you're asking whether you can have AS and ADHD? The answer would be yes, a few of us here have a dual diagnosis.

Too much dopamine is what causes schizophrenia, with the delusions and hallucinations, etc.

07-22-11, 07:40 PM
My psychiatrist didn't obey the official rule than because he diagnosed me both with autism and ADHD.
Hmm, I don't know if ASD has a dopamine deficiency. I certainly feel like I have one. There are executive dysfunction issues in autism.

eclectic beagle
07-23-11, 06:53 PM
Well, ADHD is caused by dopamine under-activity, so I suppose you're asking whether you can have AS and ADHD? The answer would be yes, a few of us here have a dual diagnosis.

Too much dopamine is what causes schizophrenia, with the delusions and hallucinations, etc.

Not only that, but dopamine encodes the salience (importance) of experience. The "hyperlearning hypothesis" heavily suggests dopamine over-abundance causes too much memory building. As in, a normal human brain functionally forgets irrelevant information, well perhaps not so much that, but it forgets enough so that it remains functional. "schizophrenic memory" might take on a whole new meaning.

07-24-11, 03:31 AM
My point was that he said the usual treatment for ASD is anti-depressants and/or anti-psychotics. Both of these will lead (directly or indirectly) to lower dopamine activity, suggesting that ASD is somehow connected with too much dopamine. So if ADHD is a low-dopamine condition, and ASD is a high-dopamine condition, then I'm not sure how you can have both.

But since both are also PDDs, maybe it's possible to have ADHD from low dopamine (and/or low norepinephrine), and some aspects of ASD caused by problems during early brain development.

I'm still new to the ASD thing, just trying to get a handle on exactly what it is. I'm worried that if he gives me an anti-psychotic, and I already have low dopamine, it will completely crush me.

07-26-11, 04:27 PM
The DSM-IV says that you're not supposed to diagnose both in the same person. The DSM-V will apparently dispense with this.

As far as I know, there is no medication that treats autism, although people have found some medications treat certain elements (like meltdowns, repetitive behaviors, etc). I woulden't draw too many conclusions based on medications used, however.

As far as it goes, at least two separate studies have found that a majority of people on the autistic spectrum also fit the criteria for ADHD, and I believe that research also found that stimulant medication is helpful them.

Oh, and I am diagnosed with an ASD and ADHD, too.

07-26-11, 08:30 PM
No one knows the single cause of autism or if there is one or if the brains of each autistic individual is the same. My opinion is that something goes wrong in the womb as such was the case with me. Most of these disorders that affect the pre frontal cortex can have similarities so you could be diagnosed with either one, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Or you could be diagnosed with three such conditions.

It's interesting to me that autism is said to be about under activity int he pre frontal cortex thus the rest of the brain doesn't work as smoothly as it should but in dyslexia there is an over activity of the pre frontal cortex, yet a person can be diagnosed with both.

Amazing thing, the brain is. There is not one single reason or difference in a brain for a disorder such as autism. There are many theories surrounding it, one being a high level of dopamine which I have seldom heard about. The popular theories are either a small brain, a larger one, the amygdala grows too fast then stops growing prematurely, there is too much gray matter and too little white matter or vice versa.
I think when you get down to it autism is a set of symptoms that can be caused by many things and each brain is different from not just the NT brain but any one autistic brain too.

It's like the damn theory of everything or the various string theory models.

That's my opinion at least.

08-05-11, 09:07 AM
Thanks everyone for your comments. I've looked into it much more now, and see there's a possibility that I might have a mild ASD, so I've agreed to my psychiatrist's request to get more diagnosis work done. Although he did mention anti-psychotic medication at the beginning, he didn't think it would be appropriate for me anyway, and we just added Dexamphetamine to my existing Strattera, which is perfect, so far.

08-05-11, 09:40 AM
Technically I think the DSM-IV calls for ADHD symptoms to not be better explained by ASD or other disorders.

They aren't mutually exclusive. Think of them each as a spectrum, running at an angle to each other. You can have both, neither, one, or a mix. ADHD seems to be usually primarily chemical.

Even some of the shared symptoms come from different causes. Eg., both can cause social skill problems. In ADHD, it's usually because of lack of attention, self-monitoring, or impulsive behaviour -- or something like that. In ASD, it might be an inability to understand facial expressions. Someone with pure ADHD might understand facial expressions perfectly, if they happen to pay attention to them.

For someone with mild ASD who has a minor deficit in facial recognition, and ADHD on top of it, not paying attention to expressions can make the deficit seem worse. For instance.

Sometimes the high risk taking and sensation-seeking of some ADHDers sound like the opposite of some ASD cases. In other cases, no. Brains, man. They're complicated.