What is ADD/ADHD?


Even as recent as fifteen years ago people wondered “What is ADHD?” and argued if it was “real”. Now the Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls it the most common neurodevelopmental disorder.

Neurodevelopmental is having to do with the way the brain grows and develops. ADHD is a problem in the brain. It is usually familial in nature, which means it is passed down by one or more parents. Family members have similar brain performance patterns. In the case of ADHD, this makes it highly likely that ADHD runs in families. Also, environmental factors, like screens and food, can make ADHD worse. 

ADD/ADHD Brains Work Differently

In a healthy brain, concentration causes electrical energy to increase in certain regions of the brain. This especially happens in the prefrontal cortex, which allows you to focus, plan ahead, stay organized, and follow through on tasks. Dr. Trish Leigh’s work with qEEG Brain Maps at Leigh Brain & Spine reveals that when people with ADD/ADHD try to concentrate, activation tends to decrease in the prefrontal cortex, making it difficult to stay focused.

An ADHD brain is using too much slow processing speed in the brain. I always use an analogy of a car using too much braking. Thus, it is difficult to concentrate if your brain is braking. Think about it this way, could your go drive at 45 miles per hour if you had your foot all the way down on the brake? The answer is “No”. 

Primary Symptoms of ADD/ADHD:

ADHD can look different for every person. There are 7 main types of ADD/ADHD that can account for the differences in behaviors. However, there are core symptoms that impact almost everyone with ADD/ADHD. 

  • A short attention span for everyday tasks (e.g. chores)
  • Lack of focus
  • Organization problems (executive function)
  • Distractibility
  • Procrastination
  • Problems with follow-through
  • Poor impulse control (e.g. speak before thinking)

What Causes Both?

Familial factors, genetics, maternal alcohol or drug use, birth trauma, and head trauma all can play a role in causing ADD symptoms. However, the increase in people being diagnosed with it is likely related to negative influences in our society today that affect brain function, including:

  • Limited physical exercise
  • Excessive screen time 
  • Overuse of video games
  • Eating more processed foods
  • Environmental toxins (e.g. pesticides in food)

RELATED: How the Brain Causes ADHD.

Does it Go Away with Age?

ADHD does not resolve itself as people grow older. Many people learn how to compensate for their ADHD so their life becomes easier and less of a struggle. Unfortunately, if ADHD is left untreated it can lead to many major problems in life. 

Untreated ADD/ADHD is associated with higher incidences of:

  • Depression
  • Dropping Out of School
  • Alcoholism 
  • Drug Use
  • Going to Jail
  • Job Failure
  • Financial Problems
  • Obesity
  • Divorce

Unlike traditional healthcare, which rarely looks at the brain, Dr. Trish Leigh’s unique coaching program uses brain-sensing technology to identify what is happening with your brain performance pattern. Then, she can help you feel and perform better. Learn about her program HERE.