How parts of the brain “light up,” or

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Last updated: December 26, 2019

How might a psychology professional help parents or teachers understand the neuroimaging techniques and brain areas associated with ADHD?Neuroimaging shows us what parts of the brain “light up,” or become active, when we are thinking, learning, or feeling. This permits researchers to map the brain showing us where specific kinds of information gets processed. Researchers can create a picture of normal brain and its functions to be able to get a better idea of how the brains of kids with various problems, such as ADHD, may differ from the brains of normally-developing kids. Understanding these differences may help out teachers and parents find ways to teach them differently that could benefit the kid.If a student has ADHD, what aspects of their school or personal lives might be impacted by problems with vigilance or cognitive control?Studies found that students with ADHD, compared to students without ADHD, had academic difficulties that resulted in lower average scores, more failed grades, more expulsions, increased dropout rates, and a lower rate of college undergraduate completion (Weiss & Hechtman as cited in Johnston, 2002; Ingersoll, 1988).

The disruptive behavior sometimes associated with the disorder may make students with ADHD more likely to be suspended and expelled. ADHD’s core symptoms make a school day much harder for the student. Students with ADHD often have difficulty sustaining attention to a task which may contribute to missing important details in assignments. Daydreaming during lectures and other activities also occurs and difficulty organizing assignments. Overall, students with ADHD may experience more problems with school performance.

What kinds of problems may arise in individuals taking ADHD medications when they do not have actual symptoms of the disorder?Some ADHD medication, particularly those with a stimulatory effect, can become addictive if abused. Many teens and young adults, who normally do not need prescribed ADHD medication, abuse them for the high they deliver when taken in extreme doses. Many ADHD drugs act by stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain.

Adjusting neurotransmitter levels can be highly effective in treating such disorders as ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Abuse is more commonly found in another stimulatory class of drugs: amphetamine-based ADHD medications. These include dextroamphetamine, such as Adderall, Dextrostat, Dexedrine, and lisdexamfetamine. Although it may seem illogical, stimulatory drugs like Adderall deliver a calming and focusing effect on people with ADHD. The opposite is true for those who take them without a physiological need. Many take them to improve sharpness or even to lose weight.

But when the drugs are crushed and then injected or snorted, they can produce a high with euphoric feelings and exaggerated self-confidence.

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