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Connecting Life With ADD - Dopamine, Life & ADD

Posted 03-24-08 at 10:10 PM by SMSPirate
Dopamine, Life, and ADD

So, let's go back to our simplified model and discussion about dopamine and adrenaline. People who have the power to reward and/or punish, and especially those who control and dispense large amounts of public funds and money, get to make a lot of the rules down here on planet earth. Basically, in today's world, they're the gatekeepers for dispensing dopamine to the public. People who don't have that power – you guessed it – get controlled and/or punished. If you're getting controlled, or you are getting punished for things you don't understand or don't agree with, you can bet on two human response things happening: shut down, or melt down. These are especially noticeable responses when you're talking about someone who has ADD. This is also the reason we used to think there was an inattentive subtype ADD, and a very different kind that wasn't. What we're finding out is that the ADD is wired in – the "inattentive" or "hyperactive" stuff happens mostly because of that 100% genetic/100% environment mix.

Research presented in the Jan. 8, 2002 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, suggests that typical ADD behavior in a classroom may be related to behavior that once helped humans overcome their environment, with a “significant positive selection for the genetic variation associated with ADHD and novelty-seeking behavior in the human genome." In an article titled, “Attention-Deficit Disorder Related To Advantageous Gene” the UC Irvine news release indicated, "This study strengthens significantly the connection between genetic variations and ADHD. It also provides a clue as to why ADHD is so pervasive and may show us a way to provide more effective ADHD treatments."

Research today is backing up this study. Recent evidence suggests that people wired for what we call ADD, are genetically wired with less ability to create and sustain dopamine (so, THAT's why those stimulant meds seem to work?). Some of the key research out there today shows that ADDers lack sufficient levels of phenylalanine to produce the "right" amounts of dopamine. There are plenty of arguments and discussions taking place about what that "right" amount of dopamine looks like, or what it is. But for the purposes of the rest of this book, we'll let the arguments continue around us and get down to what those findings might actually mean in today's world.
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  1. Old
    Carla B.'s Avatar
    Great summary! On top of what you note there is also recent news about quirks at the synapse that may effect whether dopamine (or other neuro-t's) even make it across the gap, which may also help explain the "paradoxical" effect of stimulants. Meanwhile, for those who remember Thom Hartmann and his Hunter/Farmer model in the 90s it's a grin to see the adaptive evolutionary angle surface again as if it was a "new" hypothesis. But I guess that goes to show that it is a durable theory ;->
    Posted 07-12-08 at 05:10 PM by Carla B. Carla B. is offline
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