Stress Management > ADHD > Causes of ADHD > Neurotransmitter imbalance

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers within the brain. They transmit messages and information to and from different regions of the brain which is crucial to life.

There are certain pools of thought with scientific backing that has suggested that people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity have lower levels of particular neurotransmitters, including:

  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
  • Serotonin

Dopamine is known to be involved with the regulation of emotions, movement and logical reasoning. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in thinking about the consequences of actions and making decisions.

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter involved in the fight or flight response within the body. This natural response to a threat or mental stress has previously been attributed to the symptoms of distractibility and lack of sustained concentration.

Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter thought to aid relaxation and sleep while inhibiting overexertion. Additionally, GABA is thought to be involved in motor control, as such, it is thought it may be accountable for the symptoms of hyperactivity and the problems generating a calm and relaxed state experienced by people with ADHD.

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter believed to be depleted in the brains of ADHD sufferers. A reduced amount of serotonin within the brain can have severe effects on the memory's capacity to learn new information and conduct everyday cognitive processes. It is also this neurotransmitter that is thought to play a key role in moderating emotions, mood, sleep and appetite and is thought to be a fundimental cause of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are an antidepressant drug sometimes prescribed to treat these symptoms of ADHD.