Yes, it really IS all in your head!
Anyone working with ADD / ADHD Adults knows that the word “motivated” comes up a lot.
As in: “I just can’t get motivated” to get started on something. Strategies to help include either making the action more stimulating or less daunting (in an attempt to raise motivation), or making it easier to perform the action even without motivation.
Our need for motivation in order to perform has fueled skeptics’ belief that ADD is simply a matter of attitude — that a person with ADD / ADHD is just acting like a spoiled kid who only does what he wants to do. What the skeptics don’t realize is that we really, really WANT to be motivated! We just aren’t able to get ourselves there.
Now, the true answer has been found to lie in our heads. More specifically, in the physiology of the ADHD brain.
Those with ADD / ADHD have been found to have a notable difference in motivational levels than other people, due to a deficit of dopamine in the brain.
An eight-year study published in the September 9, 2009 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that adults with ADHD symptoms have difficulty processing dopamine, the neurotransmitter that “alerts people to new information and helps them anticipate pleasure and rewards.” In fact, people with ADHD may have a deficit of dopamine.
This finding offers a possible explanation of the inability of ADHD adults to focus on certain activities: one might literally not be able to get motivated to accomplish the task! The authors conclude that if a task or activity is not naturally appealing to an individual with ADHD, gaining the motivation to focus on it might be nearly impossible, resulting in becoming easily distracted and bored: two symptoms of ADHD.
Of course, those of us with ADHD already knew that, but it’s nice to have scientific evidence to back it up! On the scientific level, this study gives important new insights and explanations, and some ammunition against the skeptics who believe ADHD is a myth.
Now we can admit it’s all in our head, for a fact!