The ADHD Brain

By Reagan M.


By Reagan M.

Have you ever wondered if there is really a difference between the brain of an ADHD affected person and the brain of a person who does not have ADHD? Actually, there’s a BIG difference! Let’s take a look!

What is ADHD??

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD affects the parts of the brain that controls attention, concentration, impulsivity, memory, and activity levels. ADHD causes people to become unfocused.

The Bizarre Brain

ADHD is caused by messages not connecting to the brain. A healthy brain has 100 billion nerve cells. An ADHD brain does not have that many. A healthy brain’s nerve cells respond to “hungry” or “sleepy”, and you react appropriately. All nerve cells have fibers called dendrites and axons. Dendrites send messages to the cell body. Axons relay messages away from cells. The connection of dendrites and axons are called the synapse. Nerve signals have to cross one synapse after another. Neurotransmitters carry messages across the synapse. The ADHD brain has a chemical imbalance in the brain and uses neurotransmitters differently than a brain without ADHD. There may be fewer neurotransmitters to carry messages, so messages are blocked. This may explain why ADHD kids have trouble focusing. Their brain is not getting the messages delivered that they need. Messages telling them to pay attention are not connecting.

Potential Causes

ADHD can also be caused by lead poisoning. 68 million children have been exposed to fumes from lead in gasoline! Also, some houses were painted with lead in the paint. The good news is that they have stopped using lead based paints. The bad news is that the paint has not been removed. Therefore, little kids have eaten paint chips off of walls and or windowsills. Experts believe there is a connections between ADHD and lead poisoning.

ADHD can also be caused by genetic transmission. Characteristics can be passed down from the parents’ genes to the child. Certain genes control how the brain works.

Another cause of ADHD can be premature birth. The child wouldn’t have time to develop, so, they would have health problems. There are some causes of ADHD and there may be more as well.


Corbin Maxon has ADHD. He has to take medicine 2 times a day!! “The medicine helps me focus in school and helps me stop and think before getting in trouble”, Corbin says. Corbin and other kids just like him are working together with their parents and professional doctors to find the right medicine. Corbin knows from experience that you won’t always find the right medicine the first time you try one, you have to find one that works. Some examples of medicines are Focalin, Focalin XR, and Ritalin. Corbin takes Focalin.

Side Effects

While taking medicines, you need to look out for any side effects. If you have any side effects, your doctor might change the time you take your medicine, the certain food you eat with it, or just the medicine itself.

To Conclude...

The ADHD brain is different from a brain without ADHD because it uses fewer neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters are used differently. Messages in the ADHD brain telling people to focus and pay attention are not connecting. Although there may be some similarities between an ADHD brain and a brain without ADHD, there are still many differences too. One things is for sure, a person with ADHD has obstacles to overcome in life but it is good to know that there are scientists studying the brain and working towards understanding ADHD better.


Taylor, John F. The Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub., 2006. Print. Citation 1

Capaccio, George. ADD and ADHD. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008. Print. Citation 2

"ADHD Medication Chart: Compare Drugs for ADD and ADHD." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

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