Persons who are clinically diagnosed with Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) tend to regulate by doing and/or reacting. To clarify, I am referring to a reaction or behavior that is often done “impulsively” as an effort to decrease symptoms of physical discomfort and irritability (e.g overthinking, worrying, fidgeting, over-eating).
This is because there is a reduced amount of dopamine in the brain and dopamine production is neither steady or abundant in the synapses that moderate neurotransmitter production.
And so, by reacting through various forms of action, the brain can enjoy a surge of dopamine, an increase in energy that improves attention, and a serotonin-based calming of restlessness.
If you skipped the lecture above and want to get to the summary this is it: The ADD/ADHD brain must work harder to produce the neurotransmitters non-ADD/ADHD brains produce organically.
Amy Pope-Latham, LCSW is a clinical psychotherapist in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.