Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADD / ADHD
An Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a complex neurodevelopmental condition, characterized by various symptoms linked to frontal lobe dysfunction or to their poor maturation. ADHD involves frequent and elevated levels of symptoms associated with inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity. Present since childhood, this condition can impede and compromise the functioning of an individual who suffers from it, whether a child or an adult.
Symptoms of ADHD mainly take their root in the frontal lobes where cerebral activity is diminished (dopamine, noradrenalin), but also in deeper regions connected to the brain like the striatum, which is believed to function inefficiently. Frontal lobes are of a particular importance because they receive a high number of signals from various regions of the brain, and send many more back toward diffuse regions of the brain in order to ensure that cognitive resources are used efficiently. In fact, the frontal lobes can be likened to the maestro of an orchestra, whose role it is to manage each musician and to coordinate their effort as a whole; however, when the maestro is unable to keep up the pace, directing each element of the orchestra in unison becomes a difficult task and dissonance often ensues. Our brains work in a similar fashion when we consider that cognitive resources as well as the flow of information between various parts of the brain are mismanaged by the frontal lobes in ADHD.
Indeed, because attention is constantly being solicited in our daily lives, ADHD often disrupts the cognitive functioning of individuals in various spheres of life. For example, one can think of academic learning and university studies, which require good listening and observation skills as well as a stable concentration over long periods of time; of the importance of alertness and attention to detail to ensure safety and efficiency in the workplace; of the management of time, finance and resources, which require proper planning and organization skills; of social relations, interpersonal and family dynamics that can be destabilized by poor emotional control or impulsive behaviour; of eventual self-esteem problems in the face of emerging feelings of incompetence or unpopularity, etc.