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-   -   "Sleepy Brain" (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188850)

CasioCurious 11-10-17 03:56 PM

"Sleepy Brain"
 
Folks,

Do you guys have this problem or is it just me? Ex: I can play ball or work out and I have energy physically but when it comes to doing some mental work like homework I'm brain dead. I've all been like this but it's getting worse for me as of late.


Do some of you have this problem too?

Barbrady1 11-10-17 05:02 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
When my medication isn't working, my mind is usually too foggy/blank to do anything mentally stimulating. It's quite an embarrassing situation.

Greyhound1 11-10-17 06:02 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CasioCurious (Post 1972031)
Folks,

Do you guys have this problem or is it just me? Ex: I can play ball or work out and I have energy physically but when it comes to doing some mental work like homework I'm brain dead. I've all been like this but it's getting worse for me as of late.


Do some of you have this problem too?

I had this problem big time when I was younger. I was very athletic and constantly played sports and worked out. I had tons of physical energy.

When it came to homework or was in class, I could barely keep my eyes open. After taking the S.A.T., I was totally brain dead and totally exhausted physically.

Over-exerting myself physically was much easier to overcome than overly mental exertion.

PoppnNSailinMan 11-10-17 10:36 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Greyhound1 (Post 1972046)
When it came to homework or was in class, I could barely keep my eyes open.

For most of my life, whenever I did reading or writing or other work that required a lot of mental effort or was very boring, I had difficulty sustaining my focus and usually started to get sleepy.

When I was in college, getting reading done for classes was a challenge. I wouldn't get very far into a book before I'd start to feel kind of drowsy.

For a while, I had a boring desk job at an insurance company where I spent all day long sitting by myself in a cubicle doing paperwork. By the early afternoon every work day, I felt like I could hardly keep my eyes open.

Even after I started taking Vyvanse about three months ago, I was kind of disappointed that I was still getting sleepy when I was trying to read sometimes. About a month and a half ago, I bought a new book by Stanford neurologist Robert Sapolsky called Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017). It's an examination of human behaviors and how they start in our brains and all the influences that have made each of our brains the way that they are, including genetics, hormones, ecological factors, evolution, etc.

It's a very interesting book, but it still required a lot of mental effort to read and understand, especially because of all it's unfamiliar brain terminology including a detailed description of the makeup of neurons and how they work (axons, dendritic spines, axon terminals, axon hillocks, action potentials, resting potentials, neurotransmitters, etc.) and parts of the brain (amygdala, prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, limbic system, etc.). I was only getting through about 4 pages every time I sat down to read it before I would start to get sleepy. At that rate, I'd never be able to finish this book which is over 700 pages long.

Then about three weeks ago, my doctor raised the dosage of the Vyvanse I'm on, and when I sat down a few days later to read this book by Sapolsky, I was startled to discover that it was much easier for me to read. I spent over three hours reading it that day with a sustained focus and didn't get sleepy. It was a really dramatic moment for me!!

CasioCurious 11-11-17 12:36 AM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Sorry I forget to mention this is only a problem when I am not medicated or ingested caffeine.

Sometimes it feels like a borderline boredom that turns into a depression of some sort.

CasioCurious 11-11-17 12:40 AM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan (Post 1972075)
For most of my life, whenever I did reading or writing or other work that required a lot of mental effort or was very boring, I had difficulty sustaining my focus and usually started to get sleepy.

When I was in college, getting reading done for classes was a challenge. I wouldn't get very far into a book before I'd start to feel kind of drowsy.

For a while, I had a boring desk job at an insurance company where I spent all day long sitting by myself in a cubicle doing paperwork. By the early afternoon every work day, I felt like I could hardly keep my eyes open.

Even after I started taking Vyvanse about three months ago, I was kind of disappointed that I was still getting sleepy when I was trying to read sometimes. About a month and a half ago, I bought a new book by Stanford neurologist Robert Sapolsky called Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017). It's an examination of human behaviors and how they start in our brains and all the influences that have made each of our brains the way that they are, including genetics, hormones, ecological factors, evolution, etc.

It's a very interesting book, but it still required a lot of mental effort to read and understand, especially because of all it's unfamiliar brain terminology including a detailed description of the makeup of neurons and how they work (axons, dendritic spines, axon terminals, axon hillocks, action potentials, resting potentials, neurotransmitters, etc.) and parts of the brain (amygdala, prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, limbic system, etc.). I was only getting through about 4 pages every time I sat down to read it before I would start to get sleepy. At that rate, I'd never be able to finish this book which is over 700 pages long.

Then about three weeks ago, my doctor raised the dosage of the Vyvanse I'm on, and when I sat down a few days later to read this book by Sapolsky, I was startled to discover that it was much easier for me to read. I spent over three hours reading it that day with a sustained focus and didn't get sleepy. It was a really dramatic moment for me!!

You described everything I'm going through right now, thanks for that. Maybe I need to get back on Adderall otherwise I wouldn't get out of this revolving door.

PoppnNSailinMan 11-11-17 02:03 AM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan (Post 1972075)
About a month and a half ago, I bought a new book by Stanford neurologist Robert Sapolsky called Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017)....It's a very interesting book, but it still required a lot of mental effort to read and understand, especially because of all it's unfamiliar brain terminology including a detailed description of the makeup of neurons and how they work (axons, dendritic spines, axon terminals, axon hillocks, action potentials, resting potentials, neurotransmitters, etc.) and parts of the brain (amygdala, prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, limbic system, etc.).

I just wanted to add that Behave by Sapolsky really is a good book. When I first bought it, I thought that it might be dry reading having been written by a neurologist. And I was a little bit intimidated by all the terminology. But the author has a real sense of humor in a lot of his comments.

For example, he describes the reward system in our brains which relies on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Everyone with ADHD should know about dopamine since that is what we supposedly don't have enough of and Sapolsky says that "drugs like cocaine, heroin, and alcohol release dopamine in the accumbens." And he should also have included methylphenidate and amphetamine based stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall in that list. He then says (pp. 65-66):

Quote:

Some rewards, such as sex, release dopamine in every species examined. For humans, just thinking about sex suffices.
Sapolsky then adds an interesting and humorous little footnote:

Quote:

And, in a fact that hints at a world of sex differences, dopaminergic responses to sexually arousing visual stimuli are greater in men than in women. Remarkably, this difference isn't specific to humans. Male rhesus monkeys will forgo the chance to drink water when thirsty in order to see pictures of - I'm not quite sure how else to say this - crotch shots of female rhesus monkeys (while not being interested in other rhesus-y pictures).

CasioCurious 11-11-17 04:50 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan (Post 1972099)
I just wanted to add that Behave by Sapolsky really is a good book. When I first bought it, I thought that it might be dry reading having been written by a neurologist. And I was a little bit intimidated by all the terminology. But the author has a real sense of humor in a lot of his comments.

For example, he describes the reward system in our brains which relies on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Everyone with ADHD should know about dopamine since that is what we supposedly don't have enough of and Sapolsky says that "drugs like cocaine, heroin, and alcohol release dopamine in the accumbens." And he should also have included methylphenidate and amphetamine based stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall in that list. He then says (pp. 65-66):



Sapolsky then adds an interesting and humorous little footnote:

I'm sure I have ruined my reward system pretty bad. I mean all of us folks with ADD have a problem with delaying gratification, but some of us have it real bad.

Lunacie 11-11-17 06:37 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan (Post 1972099)
I just wanted to add that Behave by Sapolsky really is a good book. When I first bought it, I thought that it might be dry reading having been written by a neurologist. And I was a little bit intimidated by all the terminology. But the author has a real sense of humor in a lot of his comments.

For example, he describes the reward system in our brains which relies on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Everyone with ADHD should know about dopamine since that is what we supposedly don't have enough of and Sapolsky says that "drugs like cocaine, heroin, and alcohol release dopamine in the accumbens." And he should also have included methylphenidate and amphetamine based stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall in that list. He then says (pp. 65-66):



Sapolsky then adds an interesting and humorous little footnote:

Hasn't there been recent research that somewhat disproves the idea that
females are not aroused by visual stimuli? It's just that while men are turned
on by "crotch shots," a woman may be turned on by looking at a man's hands
and imagining what those hands could be doing. Or what it would be like to
be kissed by those lips.

PoppnNSailinMan 11-11-17 08:10 PM

Re: "Sleepy Brain"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CasioCurious (Post 1972251)
I'm sure I have ruined my reward system pretty bad. I mean all of us folks with ADD have a problem with delaying gratification, but some of us have it real bad.

Sapolsky's book has a discussion of delayed gratification. In describing how our brains are organized, he starts off with the limbic system which includes the amygdala, the hippocampus, etc. This is a more primitive part of our brains that is implicated in feelings of fear or anxiety and other emotions, and in aggression.

Then there is the frontal cortex, especially the prefrontal cortex, which is the most recently evolved part of our brains and the more cognitive part of our brains. Sapolsky says (p. 45):

Quote:

What does the frontal cortex do? Its list of expertise includes working memory, executive function (organizing knowledge strategically, and then initiating an action based on an executive decision), gratification postponement, long-term planning, regulation of emotions, and reining in impulsivity.

This is a sprawling portfolio. I will group these varied functions under a single definition, pertinent to every page of this book: the frontal cortex makes you do the harder thing when it's the right thing to do.
Any person with ADHD who reads this must think, "There must be something wrong with my frontal cortex!"

Almost all our problems have to do with our frontal cortex not working correctly so that we have dysregulation in our emotions, bad working memory, faulty executive functions, difficulty postponing gratification, difficulty reining in our impulsivity, difficulty in long-term planning, and difficulty in doing the harder thing.

An important dopaminergic system in our brains arises in an ancient part of the brain near the brain stem called the "ventral tegmental area" or "tegmentum" which sends neuron projections to the limbic system, including the accumbens, amygdala and hippocampus, and this is called the "mesolimbic dopamine pathway." The tegmentum also sends projections to the more evolved and more cognitive prefrontal cortex in what is called the "mesocortical dopamine pathway."

Sapolsky then talks about the issue of delayed gratification (p. 74):

Quote:

Dopamine is not about the happiness of reward. It's about the happiness of the pursuit of reward that has a decent chance of occurring.

This is central to understanding the nature of motivation, as well as its failures (e.g. during depression, where there is an inhibition of dopamine signaling thanks to stress, or in anxiety, where such inhibition is caused by projections from the amygdala). It also tells us about the source of the frontocortical power behind willpower. In a task where one chooses between an immediate and a (larger) delayed reward, contemplating the immediate reward activates the limbic targets of dopamine (i.e., the mesolimbic pathway), whereas contemplating the delayed reward activates frontocortical targets (i.e. the mesocortical pathway). The greater the activation of the latter, the more likely there'll be gratification postponement.
So we either go along with what the more primitive limbic system tells us to do and choose the immediate reward or go along with what the more evolved part of our brains, the frontal cortex, tells us to do and choose to delay gratification for a bigger reward later. But apparently, the mesocortical dopamine pathway in people with ADHD must have weak signaling so that the prefrontal cortex isn't sufficiently activated. As a result, we go more often with what the areas of our brains in the more primitive limbic system such as the amygdala are telling us to do.

Sapolsky describes various studies which show how the frontal cortex is involved in something called "temporal discounting" which allows us to wait for delayed gratification since otherwise, "we don't like waiting."

Continuing, Sapolsky says (pp. 75-76):

Quote:

Collectively these studies show that our dopaminergic system, frontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and other members of the chorus code for differing aspects of reward magnitude, delay, and probability with varying degrees of accuracy, all influencing whether we manage to do the harder, more correct thing.

Individual differences among people in the capacity for gratification postponement arise from variation in the volume of these individual voices. For example, there are abnormalities in the dopamine response profiles during temporal discounting tasks in people with the maladaptive impulsiveness of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Similarly, addictive drugs bias the dopamine system toward impulsiveness.


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