I stopped life long crushing depression by doing an autoimmune version of the paleo diet (back/neck pain largely went away as well). I also more then cut in half my generalized anxiety (both along w/ADD diagnosed at Amen Clinic). However, my ADD has only been tempered somewhat. I know that there are up to 7 genes involved in ADD so perhaps it's just something I'm stuck with? My cortisol level is flipped and is below average in morning and above average at night. I used to also have low testosterone but have more than tripled it into the low/average level. I really dig the answers you have given on this website and thought I'd run this by you. I am also asking as I'm sure there are others in the paleohacks community who could benefit.
ADD is a disorder with no known cause but with several very interesting associations. I personally believe based upon my readings that it is an epigenetic condition caused by hypermethylation of genes involved in dopamine transport proteins. That does not end the story. I think the disease is made worse as one ages because patients also have comorbid sleep disorder. To date no one scientist can accurately state what the purpose of sleep is but there are many theories. My belief is that sleeps main purpose is to allow the brain to thin slice data coded that is "hard.". What? If you learn something tied to emotion or that is stressed or learned in stress this hard data is thin sliced into our association cortex for use in the forebrain bundle to help us build a relational database of our envirnoment that will help us understand our surroundings and make better predictions on how to live within it and how to associate things to other soft and hard concepts. Sleep in humans is set to a circadian rhythm of close to eight hrs. Humans need that amount of sleep due to the shear size and number of nerve cells. It takes a lot of time for the brain to perform housekeeping on these cells for plasticity of learning and to strengthen the distal synapses where 99% of energy utilization occurs during awakeness. The protein transcription occurs and has to travel substantial distances to replenish and strengthen the machinery. In ADD you have already defective machinery and disordered sleep. A double whammy. This is why ADD seems to get worse as we age and usually ends in depression but begins with problems of inattention to our surroundings and impulsivity. This makes it tough to build a relational database of our environment. Since the environment is not properly coded for in memory extra circuitry is need to bridge gaps. Serotonin becomes a big problem because it get overwhelmed since the dopamine tracts can't code memory in the medial temporal lobe. This leads to an imbalance of serotonin and eventual depression and worsens the issue further. Depression becomes the main issue later not impulsivity because their is a temporal issue for building your three dimensional reality of the world. The more disordered it becomes the more dysfunction the animal is and the more depression results because reward circuits are not naturally selected for when our surroundings can't be coded properly. Failure circuits become hyperactive. This is seen in PET scans of older ADD patients. The rest here is from wiki. It includes the gene variants that we see in kids with this. The ADD subtypes that respond to adderal make up a very small percentage (9%) of cases due to a specific epigentic change in LPHN3. That it why i am not a fan of treating all kids with stimulants. Stimulants also have big unintended side effect of uncoupling metobolism from leptin signalling so these kids always grow up with weight and thyroid issues compounding their clinical picture. The worst reverse T3 levels i have seen are in ADD adults. That makes dealing with their diets real tough. The data on transporters is copied from wiki.....enjoy! Twin studies indicate that the disorder is highly heritable and that genetics are a factor in about 75 percent of all cases. Hyperactivity also seems to be primarily a genetic condition; however, other causes do have an effect. Researchers believe that a large majority of ADHD cases arise from a combination of various genes, many of which affect dopamine transporters. Candidate genes include α2A adrenergic receptor, dopamine transporter, dopamine receptors D2/D3, dopamine beta-hydroxylase monoamine oxidase A, catecholamine-methyl transferase, serotonin transporter promoter (SLC6A4), 5HT2A receptor, 5HT1B receptor, the 10-repeat allele of the DAT1 gene, the 7-repeat allele of the DRD4 gene, and the dopamine beta hydroxylase gene (DBH TaqI). A common variant of a gene called LPHN3 is estimated to be responsible for about 9% of the incidence of ADHD, and ADHD cases where this gene is present are particularly responsive to stimulant medication.
I'd like to second the request. I have ADD and take a lot of Adderall in order to study (I'm a 29 year old PhD student). I'd like more information on the effects of Adderall and possible alternative treatments. So far, the ADD-related information available on this site is unsatisfactory.
I'm sure Dr. K will have some stellar advice as usual, but I'm going to use this to spread the best paleo-friendly psychiatry blog ever. http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/search?q=add
Cheers. Looks like the conclusion is "go paleo!" and additionally "get all of them nutrients!"
I have recently started reading about epigenetics and urge everyone to do the same. Spontaneous Evolution by Bruce Lipton is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I'm still reading it and it is pretty deep so I don't understand all of the science of it but basically WE are in control of our genes....our genes aren't written in stone like we once thought! Human mental abilities are EXTREMELY powerful and should never be overlooked.
I also have (bad) ADD and eat paleo, and take extended release methylin. I've noticed that I don't need as much medicine, going paleo, but still need it. Medicine and diet just aren't cure-alls. There are a lot of bad habits we have. My suggestion is to break your addiction to the internet. With ADD, it's extra hard to tear away from the computer, with all the stimulation. I am so much more functional when I don't use the computer. I use my phone to look stuff up, and that's a bit better. Anyway, try going internet free for a couple weeks and see how you do.
I also have ADD - it would take me probably the rest of this week to read all the answers in here. I've never considered medicine for it until recently.
Is there any research about environment/atmosphere/time of day that triggers ones ADD. For example, I can quite comfortably read a book early in the morning, in a coffee shop, with a strong brew. Doing so now, end of day at my office is pretty much impossible...
Is there any validity in brain exercises to focus more/overcome ADD?
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