The Brake and the Accelerator — ADHD Tip O the Day 908

A Little ADHD Science:

We have one amygdala deep in each side of the brain, a small group of nerve cells very involved with emotions.   The frontal lobe is a whole section of the brain, guess where?

Basically, the amygdala is the accelerator.  It’s always on, saying, “Go, go, go! Do it, do it, do it!”

The amygdala is connected to the frontal lobe, the brake, which is not always on, but when it is it says, “Hey, calm down, slow down.  Wait a minute.  Let’s think about this. What are the consequences, the pros and cons of this?” (Note the absence of !’s.)

Ideally, there’s a good connection and a balance between these two, but as we’ve been reading, not all of our ADHD connections, our networks, are in good shape.  This helps understand our impulsiveness.

ADHD Genes:

Recent research says ADHD is about seventy percent heritable. Most cases come from a compilation of a large number of genes with common mutations; the more of these gene mutations  you have the more likely you’ll have ADHD and the more severe it’s likely to be.  Many of these genes are involved in regulating the early development of the brain, including the networks.

To better identify which genes are ADHD involved, the researchers looked at genes involved in the many different types of intellectual impairment (retardation), each of which is usually caused by a rare mutation in a single gene, very different from ADHD.

They found that many of the retardation genes are among those which (with common mutations) are involved in ADHD, and are especially involved in sleep disturbance and hyperactivity.

I think the significance of the gene study is that it specifically identified some of the many genes that contribute to ADHD and opened the door to studying their specific effects on the brain and thus on symptoms.


Personal Notes O the Day:

  1. I’m not sure that I correctly understand anything I’ve said above and I welcome any comments about it.
  2. I’m making progress on both the novel and the ADHD book, creeping along.
  3. Retirement is a lot harder than I’d imagined; I haven’t adjusted to it yet.  I don’t miss the travel, the stress, the burden of responsibility, but I do miss the work itself.  This freedom is what I’d always imagined as heaven, nirvana, bliss, but the time has a tendency to fill up, to get just as busy as before.  It’s hard to balance being and doing, which is my goal now. And it feels like something is missing: zest, color, purpose, significance. Life seems a little bland now; maybe the amygdala is understimulated?  Maybe it’s been somewhat like this for people who’ve been out of work due to the virus?

Possibly Irrelevant Points O the Day:

  1. Sleep problems may be a specific symptom of ADHD. And if we do not get adequate sleep our symptoms get worse.
  2. Some researchers, not these, are using a new definition of intellectual impairment, which includes problems with things like focus and problem solving.  This could lead to interesting effects on research findings and particularly on ADHD.
  3. Many people with intellectual impairment ( the old definition) also have ADHD.  (Life is not fair.)

Coming Up:

I plan to do posts on sleep problems and on which ADHD symptoms are not helped by medication. Any other requests or suggestions?

ADHD Emotions

See in ADHD web sitemany ADHD articles

Ritalin – on, off, on, off

Nature therapy and more

#ADHD, @addstrategies, @adhdstrategies, @dougmkpdp


adult adhd, ADHD, adhd blog, adhs blogs, adhd excuses,

The Amygdala in Action





About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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6 Responses to The Brake and the Accelerator — ADHD Tip O the Day 908

  1. ram
    indeed. sorry you were subjected to that. no excuse for that.
    best wishes


  2. rammkatze says:

    Suggestions: irritability? I’ve been battling with that one, I’d love to hear more about it.
    Fortunately, I haven’t been irritable at work. But these weird times sometimes make it a challenge for me to go to the supermarket- I keep forgetting that people are panicky about the virus. And most of them don’t realize that if both of you are wearing a mask – and not talking with each other, to top it off – it’s perfectly ok to stand in front of the shelves next to each other just 1 foot away. It has caused some conflict that puts me in a very dark place, sometimes.

    (I mean, both government and scientists say, the mask is to be used whenever physical distance is _not possible_, but it’s like people heard “a mask is not enough! You must wear a mask AND stay as far away from everyone as possible, or else you and and your progeny for the next five generations are cursed!!”. 😐 )


    • Anonymous says:

      ram-irritability is a booger. meditation may help. trying to find a different way to view something may help- “no, she’s not trying to control me, she’s trying to help by giving what she thinks is good advice. ”
      i have other tools that are helpful, but i note they are ways to deal with irritation more than ways to avoid it
      I hope this won’t irritate you, but I am a fan of both the mask and the 6 feet. I think neither one is perfect, so the combination is better.
      thank you for your comment
      best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

      • rammkatze says:

        Thank, Doug. All good! Battling with irritation right now. The kind you/I can’t control with anything, rather, I just can do damage control and isolate myself to avoid disaster.
        It’s very annoying because the vanilla aggravating me right now ignores everything I’ve told her about dealing with me. In her mind, I need to learn to control myself and be apologetic and open and forget everything after a couple of minutes. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen! Best I can do is damage control as isolate myself until I feel able again.
        But vanillas don’t like that. They seem to see it as a critique of their behavior and I have to try my best to not go full sarcastic mode and say “oh I’m sorry! Is my poor well-being getting on the way if your well -being? Hehe, let me be the considerate one here and go out of my way to accommodate you!”
        So far, I’ve only thought that. To me, it’s a massive victory. To them, my self isolation is rude and I unreasonable.
        Sorry for the rant. It was being helpful to me right now. I’m looking very forward to my follow-up in a couple of weeks. My medication was changed. I’m not well. And I’m not getting better. 😦


      • rammkatze says:

        P.S. – I’m ok with people wanting both distance and mask, even if I don’t believe you need both. I’m ok with people getting scared and say “ma’am, keep your distance, you’re too close!”. I’m not ok with being aggressively shamed at the supermarket with lectures and “there’s enough room you jump on my ass, stay away” (that DID happen to me)

        Liked by 1 person

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