Eli5:why there is no permanent cure for ADHD?



Could long term use of meds actually restore your brain to work like a NT brain?

In: Chemistry

Not a researcher in this area, but just read up a lot about ADHD. If it is a reduction in the brain’s ability to produce dopamine, medication won’t really fix that right. What ADHD medications really do is allow the brain to produce more dopamine which helps control the symptoms of ADHD. I think for a more ‘permanent’ cure we would have to have a way of fixing the brain’s ability to produce dopamine and I don’t think we know how to do that.

Didn’t the Doctor that coined ADHD admit that’s its not really a disease or condition by itself, that it really is a phrase that combines many conditions into one?.. I might be wrong, but if not, that would explain why.

It’s not a disease like the common cold. It’s a change in brain chemistry and brain processing. And if you do too much to the brain to try to make a “cure”, likely you’d cause a lot of neurological damage.

> Could long term use of meds actually restore your brain to work like a NT brain?

You can’t “restore” your brain to something that it never was.

ADHD, like autism, is a developmental disorder. It affects the way the brain and therefore the person developers in the first place. It’s not something that’s added on top of an otherwise neurotypical brain. You can’t take away the ADHD and expect there to be a normally functioning person left–the ADHD is part of who that person is and how they think. Get rid of the ADHD, it’s not the same person anymore.

Medicine can help with the more troubling symptoms but ADHD isn’t just the symptoms. You can’t cure the way a person thinks.

Even if you get rid of the most obvious symptoms, that’s still a person who’s lived with ADHD and the affects of it their entire life and those effects are still going to show. They’re not going to be neurotypical–which, incidentally, is fine. Being neurodivergent isn’t a bad thing. ADHD is not an inherently harmful thing, the reason it’s a disability is because of society’s failure to accommodate people with ADHD, and largely not because of anything inherent to the condition itself.

With ADHD and autism, it’s not that we haven’t worked out how to make a cure, it’s that the whole idea of a cure is incompatible with what the condition actually is.

Because researchers keep getting distracted and procrastinating, then start researching a totally different field.

One of the issues that is associated with ADHD is the brain’s deficiency in producing dopamine and/or being desensitizes with it.

Let’s focus on the second cause (desensitization to dopamine). Most adhd medications like adderall and Ritalin work, by inhibiting the “reuptake” of dopamine by the pre synaptic neuron.

The pre synaptic neuron releases dopamine into something called the synapse (space between neurons). It is here that the post synaptic neuron is able to absorb it and continue the message. However, while that is happening the pre synaptic neuron actually has little transporters that take back the dopamine to either recycle it or prevent overstimulation of the post synaptic neuron.

Medications like adderall or Ritalin work by binding to these transporters which blocks the dopamine’s entry back into the pre synaptic neuron. This blockage allows the post synaptic neuron to have more exposure and time with absorbing the dopamine.

The difference between someone with ADHD and non-ADHD might come to stimulation. Both people have the same “threshold” to be stimulated. However someone with ADHD has a relatively lower “baseline” of stimulation. This can explain why some patients might show fidgety motions or get distracted easily, they are forcing themselves to be stimulated to compensate for their lower “baseline”.