By Annette Miller: For Entire Post, Go Here…
The neuroscience of ADHD reveals counterintuitive realities.
At 29 years old, sitting in a poorly lit graduate program classroom, I suddenly saw why my lifetime of struggles with depression didn’t fit neatly into a single circle.
“Maybe I do have ADHD,” I thought.
By this time, I was independently learning about the translational research that connects basic cognitive research with applied clinical practice. I’d previously learned the basics of how the brain works. I knew my stuff. My undergraduate education is in Behavioral Neuroscience and I did animal research for my senior thesis project.
I’ve lost count of how many times I have been tested on basic neurobiological concepts. The synaptic cleft, myelinated sheath, dopaminergic pathways, and cannabinoid receptors. Ionized channels. Functions of the amygdala, and so on and so on.
What I did not yet know was that certain neurobiological interactions can have a camouflaging effect.
What does this mean?
Symptoms are categorized in the process of assessing a client’s overall functioning. This can lead to unintentional symptom misattribution and misdiagnosis of mental health disorders. In fact, ADHD is frequently — erroneously — diagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder or various anxiety disorders. More confusing still, ADHD can (and often does) co-exist with these secondary disorders.
That was my experience.
This Venn diagram details the neuroscience underlying individual symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD.