About Sarah Jane
How does ADHD feel?
What does the research say?
Women and ADHD
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What is Pseudo ADHD?
Mabel Retires witn ADD
Coaching for ADHD
What you can do
ADHD Symptoms - What ADHD feels like
How the brain with ADHD relates to behavioral symptoms
ADHD symptoms start in the brain. The brain is a complex organism with many parts like the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex, the caudate nucleus…Uh oh, I've already lost you. Words like that are better than the snooze button, so lets talk about something you are more familiar with: a car.
- You take a firm grip on the steering wheel (prefrontal cortex of your brain) to go left and right to your destination. With ADHD you may feel that your steering wheel doesn't work. You set out to buy groceries instead you find yourself at the sales. You know you have to leave at 9:30 to get to the most important interview in your life, but you just have to feed the dog, water the flowers, make a telephone call before you leave, and of course you arrive late, as usual, for the interview. Your steering wheel simply won't take you where you want to go, a typical ADHD symptom. But it might take you on a great adventure.
- Have you ever tried to drive a car stuck in 2nd gear? With ADHD, you feel that your brain's gear shift (anterior cingulate gyrus) gets stuck too. Does your partner get stuck in work mode, hyperfocusing another ADHD symptom? He never leaves the office before 10:00pm. When he does come home, he can only talk about work. His boss thinks he's a great worker, but you are ready to walk out.
- Sometimes an old car develops a slipping clutch. When you press on the accelerator, the engine vrooms, but the old car doesn't move. The brain's gear shift can slip too. Getting started is a big ADHD problem. You say to yourself "O.k.: now it's time to clear out the closet, or pay the bills", but the body doesn't move. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me frequently.
- Does your car purr softly while you are waiting at a red light? Or does it race madly or stall when you take your foot off the accelerator? For people with ADHD, the brain's idle (basal ganglia) mechanism determines the smooth integration of feelings, thoughts and movement. A high idle setting, ADHD emotivity, causes a high level of anxiety and chokes off movement. A low setting inhibits self-expression and small motor movements as in hand writing.
- You have your favorite radio (limbic system) stations set to play pop or classical music. Your brain's radio plays your moods, blue and depressed, negative thinking another ADHD symptom , or rosy and positive. Your emotions play an important role in your behavior. ADHD brains are often set to play blue music with negative lyrics.
- How would you feel if your accelerator (temporal lobes) suddenly went to the floor all by itself, from zero to sixty while the car in front was just oozing forward? Wow, scary thought! Could it happen? Anger, even violence against others or oneself including suicide attempts may be the result when your accelerator suddenly decides to do its own thing. Some people with ADHD impulsiveness have an anger flash point that does just that.
Many people have such symptoms from time to time, but in the crunch they are able to just do it.
For people with ADHD the problem is persistent and pervasive and is a source of frustration and failure. The harder they try the worse it gets. They can not just do it.
Scientists now see Attention Deficit with or without Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms as a problem with the executive functions: planning, goal setting, prioritizing, organizing, and following through. It affects adults as well as children.
If your car had such problems, you would take it to the garage to be fixed. What do you do for your brain? I hope this little explanation has given you an idea of what it feels like to have ADHD.
Want to know more about ADHD? Contact me for a free talk or take time to browse this site. It contains information about the many options you have available to live a life you love. (What you can do)
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