Understanding Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Ellen Christian

Parents who have raised children with ADHD have probably wondered in what ways an ADHD brain is different from a brain without ADHD. As a mom who has raised a daughter with ADD and a son with ADHD, I can tell you that there are differences in how they think, act, and respond to everyday situations. Since I do not have ADHD myself, it was a challenge for quite a while to understand how to help.

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Ways an ADHD Brain is Different

So, what are the ways an ADHD brain is different? Put simply, ADHD impacts how the brain develops. It is not related to how intelligent a person is, just how the brain develops. ADHD affects attention span and emotions and can also impact organizational skills, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

4 Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

ADHD brain chemistry

People that have ADHD tend to have lower levels of norepinephrine which is a neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine is also connected to dopamine which helps control the area of your brain that handles rewards and pleasure. In an ADHD brain, dopamine is not well regulated.

4 Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

ADHD brain differences

An ADHD brain is different in several ways. Some studies have shown that people with ADHD mature more slowly than people who do not have ADHD. The difference is most noticeable in children but there is a difference even in adults. The area of the brain that handles impulsivity and emotional control is smaller in people with ADHD than in those without.

4 Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

Where does ADHD affect the brain?

It’s not as simple as pointing to one area of the brain that is different. ADHD affects how the brain develops and responds in many ways. Overall, children and adults with ADHD struggle with emotional control and developing coping skills to handle impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Teaching children these skills can be a challenge especially when it’s a parent or educator trying to manage the child’s behavior. Children need to learn these coping skills on their own.

Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

Mightier is a kids’ behavioral health company out of Boston Children’s Hospital. Mightier was developed and tested across seven years at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School to give kids a safe place to practice emotional control, develop coping skills, and build the emotional muscle memory they need to help respond to life’s challenges.

How Mightier can help kids with ADHD

Kids wear a Mighty Band heart rate monitor as they play bioresponsive video games that respond to changes in heart rate in real time. As heart rates go up, the games get harder to play. The more kids learn to stay calm, the more they succeed.

Of course, Mightier is more than a monitor and a game. All Mightier families are matched with a Masters level clinical coach to help families navigate their journey. Families count on their coach as a sounding board and resource for tools, information, and an expert, outside perspective.

Ways an ADHD Brain is Different and Unique

Three clinical trials at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital showed significant improvements in impulsive behaviors and household stress for kids with elevated levels of anger.

After 12 weeks of the Mightier program, the participants saw a 62% reduction in outbursts, a 40% reduction in oppositional behaviors, and a 19% reduction in parent stress. Pilot trials in schools saw children three times better able to remain in classrooms.

It’s clear that Mightier is having great success in helping children with ADHD learn the skills they need to cope. Visit their site today and learn how Mightier can help your child develop the skills they need to succeed.

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