View Full Version : ADHD and dopamine


Delphine
10-28-15, 07:37 PM
Have just been browsing a thread from '03 on this subject with some fascination. (The poster suggests that low dopamine is more of a significant factor with Inattentive ADD).

I've been looking for more recent posts/threads on this subject and can't seem to find one.... but I suspect there must be a few that I'm missing.

My question today is this....

Have any of you found any real or significant support from boosting dopamine levels naturally?
....Exercise, particular foods and certain supplements (ie. L-Tyrosine), music, sleep etc.?

I found this article - it's fairly typical of the kind of info in similar articles.

http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/04/17/how-to-increase-dopamine-levels/

(quick quote - various conditions like Parkinsonís disease and ADHD tend to benefit from increasing dopamine concentrations. )

I can imagine that natural dopamine support might help a bit - but significantly enough to make a real difference?

I 'could do better' in all of these areas - diet, exercise, sunlight, sleep, supplements.... I've been making some headway, but not quite enough!!

Maybe if I knew for sure it would definitely make a big difference, I'd be more inclined to stick with the plan.

:) (I was interested too to read that background music can help with focus - I have fond memories of only being able to study (as a young student) with the radio on. My parents argued that 'pop music was a distraction' but I found the opposite!)

Would love to hear people's experiences with natural dopamine boosting. Thanks.

aeon
10-28-15, 07:49 PM
Iíve experienced real effects from music and sex.

But not lasting effects, and not significant enough to make any appreciable difference.

And Iíve tried the food precursor route too. No appreciable difference.

But thatís me, and my degree of ADHD-PI is severe, or so my doc says. YMMV.

And it must be said, dopamine is certainly involved in ADHD, but it isnít the whole picture, and perhaps not even the key variable.


Cheers,
Ian

sarahsweets
10-29-15, 04:38 AM
I read the first paragraph and saw that it mentioned stimulants as something that depletes dopamine. Thats when I tuned the rest of the article out. Anytime I see the phrase "long term use" when it comes to adhd medication I consider it suspect.

Delphine
10-29-15, 05:15 AM
Iíve experienced real effects from music and sex.

But not lasting effects, and not significant enough to make any appreciable difference.

And Iíve tried the food precursor route too. No appreciable difference.

But thatís me, and my degree of ADHD-PI is severe, or so my doc says. YMMV.

And it must be said, dopamine is certainly involved in ADHD, but it isnít the whole picture, and perhaps not even the key variable.


Cheers,
Ian

I knew there'd be people here with actual experience on this. There's a big difference between theory and real experience when it comes to the info in these articles.
:thankyou:

Delphine
10-29-15, 05:17 AM
I read the first paragraph and saw that it mentioned stimulants as something that depletes dopamine. Thats when I tuned the rest of the article out. Anytime I see the phrase "long term use" when it comes to adhd medication I consider it suspect.

:) I read it as long-term drug abuse, but I have a tendency to skim over the intro's of an article and scan for the specific info on the 'how to's'! Thanks a million.

Pilgrim
10-29-15, 05:25 AM
Exercise is the best natural way of increasing these levels. I think people with ADD are natural athletes.

Delphine
10-29-15, 05:32 AM
I've always resisted exercising - have to really push myself. Thinking about exercising is usually enough to get me started on any other task I've been procrastinating about.

:) Unless it's with somebody else.... I love a good brisk walk with a good friend. Perhaps I need their motivating influence or something.

It's odd that anyone would resist something that is so good for you.... but I do! All the time...

Pilgrim
10-30-15, 05:07 AM
I've always resisted exercising - have to really push myself. Thinking about exercising is usually enough to get me started on any other task I've been procrastinating about.

:) Unless it's with somebody else.... I love a good brisk walk with a good friend. Perhaps I need their motivating influence or something.

It's odd that anyone would resist something that is so good for you.... but I do! All the time...

Exercise is just as much a mental exercise as physical. You've got to be comfortable in your space and what your doing.

I've always had a competitive physical nature, but it's about me.

To me medication is wonderful, but where I really centre and relax is doing something a bit physical.

The trick is the mental thing, my advice might be pick something you liked when younger and do that.
Go slow if your out of wack, but I think adders get a number of benefits; increased fitness, mental clarity acuity, mind centred aerobic fitness and boosted serotonin levels.

oldtimer
10-30-15, 02:14 PM
Stimulants increase dopamine levels. It is not completely farfetched to swallow that extended heavy use might lower the level. Your body might need more stimulus to produce the same level of dopamine.

Pilgrim
10-30-15, 02:50 PM
Stimulants increase dopamine levels. It is not completely farfetched to swallow that extended heavy use might lower the level. Your body might need more stimulus to produce the same level of dopamine.

Good point

Shelsi
10-30-15, 10:20 PM
I always tell people that exercising changed my life & it's why I'm the successful person I am today. I started really exercising ~ 5 years ago. I didn't suspect I had ADHD until about 1.5 yrs ago & was just officially diagnosed only a little while ago. I realize now that exercise probably "changed my life" because it's what allowed me to get my act together on a daily basis and accomplish much more than I had before.

Granted there were still projects I never finished, I still had the worst memory ever for moving the laundry over, appointments, whatever I was going to say not 10 seconds ago, etc. However I started to not only finish tasks but to take pleasure in taking on challenges. Of course it all kind of snow balled & here I am today, back in school after a 15 yr break, I have a 4.0 in a very rigorous major, I just scored the internship of my dreams, and at 34 I'm finally becoming that person in my mind I always wanted to be but had failed to achieve.

And I know it's all from the exercise.

It was a slow process though. It's not like I started to work out and instantly felt like a super hero. And FTR, I did just start Adderall because I'm still too inattentive for my lab classes (set a cabinet on fire last week during a test!) so exercise, while helpful, isn't any more a "magic pill" than actual ADHD drugs are, kwim?

Polymorphed
10-30-15, 10:44 PM
Dopamine underpins the brain reward cascade ... ADHD is known to be connected to genetic polymorphisms of various dopamine receptors and a transporter. Insufficient and inefficient dopaminergic energy can severely inhibit our ability to develop positive associations with good behaviors.

Low levels of dopamine will also inhibit one's ability to derive pleasure from anything.

This video is pretty easy to digest and helps explain, although the angle is not specifically towards ADHD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EMz-9_zAyU

People with ADHD STRIVE to engage their reward cascade as a result of chronic starvation of dopamine. Physical challenges (exercise) offer a quantifiable pathway towards positive association, which is assisted by the release of endorphins.

Strength training was my thing up until my body became far too out of balance to be able to safely continue. I have bursitis, carpal tunnel, chronic inflammation and a whole list of issues that can be linked to a chronically over-activated SNS. I really look forward to getting my physical health back into gear so that I can use my newfound focus (recent adult diagnosis resulting in a Ritalin prescription) to really work on my strength again.

Exercise is great if you approach it with the right* attitude. *This is all down to you!

Polymorphed
10-31-15, 01:55 AM
I think it may also be worth mentioning that MPH works despite not introducing any dopamine or invoking dopamine release like amphetamine does. This is because reuptake inhibitors increase the duration that dopamine is exposed within the synaptic cleft and so the problem is clearly not just inadequate supply of dopamibe, but a problem also in efficiency at the nuerotransmitter level.

Pilgrim
11-20-15, 05:49 PM
I think it may also be worth mentioning that MPH works despite not introducing any dopamine or invoking dopamine release like amphetamine does. This is because reuptake inhibitors increase the duration that dopamine is exposed within the synaptic cleft and so the problem is clearly not just inadequate supply of dopamibe, but a problem also in efficiency at the nuerotransmitter level.

ADD is a really complex disorder working on a number of levels. I read somewhere here sub cortical structures on the base of the brain are slightly different. Just have to work within our limits I guess.

Abcdef
11-20-15, 06:48 PM
Stimulants increase dopamine levels. It is not completely farfetched to swallow that extended heavy use might lower the level. Your body might need more stimulus to produce the same level of dopamine.

Not all of them increase dopamine levels....MPH acts by blocking the release instead of increasing.

I read studies that people who have been on MPH for years and then stopped have shown to have increased dopamine levels in there brain, more so than b4.

Whether it is long lasting who knows.

But Id say MPH is safer and more beneficial in the long run.

roflwaffle
11-21-15, 09:11 PM
I think exercise, music, socializing, and so on, all help. I don't think it was a coincidence that I met my wife when I had a job where I was out and about, talking to people throughout the day, and getting a little (or a lot of) exercise to boot.

Methylphenidate (MPH) has helped me a great deal, especially since my current job consists of me flying a desk 98% of the time, but I've also noticed how much better I feel when I get some exercise/go out/etc. I'm guessing that those activities help promote the release of dopamine, which takes even longer to get soaked up by the dopamine transporters the MPH hasn't plugged up.

bluelephant
11-28-15, 11:09 PM
Working out is absolutely my answer. But I would have to do it twice a day, every day for it to be sustained. Also waking up early, going to bed early. And for me, just trying to be generally happy. My symptoms are always worse when I am stressed out.