ADHD and Motivation – It’s an ADHD Brain Chemistry Thing

by | Aug 15, 2014 | ADHD Symptom Control | 0 comments by smokedsalmon

Motivation is a key ingredient in working effectively, but ADHD brain chemistry creates ADHD motivation – otherwise known as ‘ADHD no motivation’. As an ADHD Coach, I know how important motivation is to be successful in business. And I also know just how hard it can be for someone with adult ADHD to get motivated.

It turns out brain chemistry plays an unexpected role in motivation.

Recently I revisited a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US uncovered another clue to what causes ADHD. The study reports ADHD patients have lower dopamine (a brain chemical) levels in the areas of the brain that handle motivation and reward.

I won’t go into the technical details here. You can read more by clicking the links at the end of this post. (I’ve put them at the end so you’ll read all the way through BEFORE impulsively clicking away. Pretty sneaky, eh!?!)

Why is this study important? For a number of reasons:

  • It shows ADHD is more than a challenge of hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD is also a problem of motivation and reward.
  • Every additional bit discovered about ADHD improves the likelihood of more effective treatments becoming available at some point.
  • It supports the use of stimulant medication to treat ADHD since stimulants increase dopamine levels in the brain.
  • It gives more fodder to fight the naysayers – those who believe ADHD is an issue of willpower and bad parenting. ADHD is an issue of brain chemistry. Improve the chemistry, improve the brain’s functioning.
  • It shines light on why people with ADHD have such wacky motivation systems.

I find being unmotivated is a common, yet overlooked symptom of ADHD; not nearly as well recognized as impulsivity, disorganization and inattention. However, I find being unmotivated causes more problems.

After all, if a person can’t get motivated to take the steps to manage their ADHD and reach their goals they’ve little chance of improving their situation.

As an ADHD coach, lighting a fire under an unmotivated client is one of the trickiest things I face.

When a client tells me “I want to do it, and I know I should but I just can’t seem to”, I know we need to dig deep and use every tool available to motivate them.

Even worse, people often think lacking motivation to do things they want to do is a failure of personal willpower.

That’s why I feel compelled to share this latest study with you. We now have scientific proof that being unmotivated is an ADHD thing. I realize that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with but, at least now, there is a reason.

Okay, go ahead and click away. Here are the links with the ADHD and motivation study’s details:

The BBC News web site

The Brookhaven National Laboratory web site

Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.


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