ADHD and The Brain

Joy Lunt

Why People With ADHD Do What They Do

When Elaine was seeking non-prescriptive ways to enhance her child’s brain function, she came across a 20+year veteran in the field of neuro-feedback, and we’re thrilled to share Joy’s expertise with you here. Joy offers a very specific kind of ADHD parent support: she explains how the ADHD brain works, in language that is (mostly) easy to understand! This one is still a bit complicated, so you may want to read it twice. It’s worth it!

Why do People with ADHD Do what they Do? A Brain-based View

Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a way to see what was going on with ADHD and the brain at any moment? Better yet, if you could see those brain activities just when your child is exhibiting certain behaviors? Certainly, we would be much more understanding, and our patience would not be tested so often.

Well, until we find a way to get that information in real time, we can look at choices, behaviors and responses from a Brain-based View. An understanding of the mechanical workings of our brains, and its influence on our responses, can explain much of why folk with ADHD do what they do.

To pay attention, focus, or concentrate, brain waves (EEG) need to be arranged in specific patterns. Ideally, brain wave patterns respond to the task at hand. We don’t think about, it simply happens. Except for when it doesn’t. When brain wave patterns are not able to process and deal with information in an efficient and accurate way, we see the effect in our lives.

Slow brain wave activity leads to slow processing and inaccuracy. Fast brain wave activity also disrupts information processing. We don’t know why these patterns arrange themselves inefficiently, but it happens all the time with the brain and ADHD. It takes some effort to influence the brain to change them.

ADHD is not a choice, it is a pattern of brain wave activity, established in the individual’s brain. Understanding this experience helps us accept and manage our ADHD, and helps us deal with a child with ADHD.

Self-esteem is difficult for most of us, but if you find yourself constantly wondering why things did not happen as you intended, then you often feel that you have failed. Worse yet, you cannot figure out why or how to change it. Kids with ADHD feel this way a lot.

It helps to understand that your brain is not always successful in processing information accurately. It helps even more to figure out how to influence that.

Information processing differs for everyone. Having brain wave patterns that arrange themselves differently does not mean that people cannot learn, or be smart, or have fantastic personalities. The difficulty comes into play when they are expected to accomplish tasks in a particular way.

To meet the expectations of daily life, many people choose to teach their brain to produce wave patterns that allow for attention, focus and concentration. Our brains have the capacity to learn how to arrange these patterns on an as needed basis.

Neurofeedback is one way to learn this. It allows people to retain all of their special qualities, and adds the ability to process information accurately and efficiently. It does not happen over night, and takes a commitment to the process. But the results allow for increased independence and success.

Our knowledge of the brain grows daily. With more knowledge, our understanding of human behavior will expand. My own hope is that, as we understand more, we will grow more tolerant of our differences.

In the meantime, we can help people succeed, based on the individual’s definition of success, not on society’s views. We can use systems and structures, and we can teach the brain new tricks. At this point, it still takes a little extra effort.

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