1. What does having ADD/ADHD mean to the average adult who doesn't know much about brain function and anatomy?
They are more likely to struggle at work, in their relationships and with their health if they do not get it properly treated.
2. How would you explain the biology and neurology of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis to an adult who has never heard of the condition?
ADD/ADHD is an inherited disorder that is associated with lower activity in the front part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex or PFC. Low activity in the PFC is associated with poor judgment, lack of forethought and planning and reduced impulse control.
3. How can getting a diagnosis be a positive thing for an adult?
Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment for ADD/ADHD can radically change someone’s life. I have seen people double or triple their income once they can focus and follow through on tasks. Their relationships often get better and their work life tends to significantly improve, as does their health.
4. There are different forms of ADD/ADHD. How do you distinguish which type a person has?
We use clinical histories and brain SPECT imaging to help us understand our ADD/ADHD patients and what brain type they may have. A long time ago, I described 6 different types of ADD. Three had already been described in the scientific literature:
- Classic ADD: short attention span, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- Inattentive ADD: primarily short attention span.
- Overfocused ADD, where ADD and getting stuck on negative thoughts go hand in hand.
- Limbic ADD, to show the connection between ADD and Depression.
- Temporal Lobe ADD, often seen post brain injuries and in learning disabilities
- Ring of Fire ADD, where the brain looks diffusely hyperactive, often associated with cyclic mood changes as well.
5. Explain the significant differences in brain scans of ADD/ADHD brains under proper medication. What do the colors on the scan mean?
With medication, in the classic and inattentive types we see low activity or blood flow in the PFC and cerebellum, in the back bottom part of the brain. The low activity is seen as holes on the SPECT scans. With treatment the holes fill in. The colors do not mean anything; it is the shape that is significant.
6. Why are nutrition and acupuncture insufficient to raise the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in a brain to where they should be to prevent the negative effects of ADD/ADHD?
There are indeed studies that show nutritional interventions can treat ADD effectively.
See: Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial. Pelsser LM, Frankena K, Toorman J, Savelkoul HF, Dubois AE, Pereira RR, Haagen TA, Rommelse NN, Buitelaar JK. Lancet. 2011 Feb 5;377(9764):494-503.