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ADHD – Low on Dopamine?

As many of you know, I’m ADHD, well, AuDHD. And I’ve been struggling a whole lot with my weight. A few days ago I shared my post on my struggles with food on Mastodon. Someone replied to me, saying he’s also ADHD and he struggled as well. Till he found out that his bad earing patterns were directly affected by one of the symptoms of ADHD, having a low dopamine level. He said it didn’t necessarily have to be the same for me, but he’d been helped a lot with meds to regulate the dopamine levels and he lost over 20 kilo’s because his levels were better now. So yeah, definitely worth checking it out!

So in this post I’ll definitely quote several sites that had information on this topic. I’ll share my own experiences. And remember, just as I was told it may be different for me, it may also be different for you. But if you struggle as well, it might be worth to looking into! 😉

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made in your brain. It plays a role as a “reward center” and in many body functions, including memory, movement, motivation, mood, attention and more. High or low dopamine levels are associated with diseases including Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a type of monoamine neurotransmitter. It’s made in your brain and acts as a chemical messenger, communicating messages between nerve cells in your brain and your brain and the rest of your body.

Dopamine also acts as a hormone. Dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine are the main catecholamines (a label based on having part of the same molecular structure). These hormones are made by your adrenal gland, a small hat-shaped gland located on top of each of your kidneys. Dopamine is also a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus in your brain.

How does dopamine make someone feel happy?
Dopamine is known as the “feel-good” hormone. It gives you a sense of pleasure. It also gives you the motivation to do something when you’re feeling pleasure.

Dopamine is part of your reward system. This system is designed, from an evolutionary standpoint, to reward you when you’re doing the things you need to do to survive — eat, drink, compete to survive and reproduce. As humans, our brains are hard-wired to seek out behaviors that release dopamine in our reward system. When you’re doing something pleasurable, your brain releases a large amount of dopamine. You feel good and you seek more of that feeling.

This is why junk food and sugar are so addictive. They trigger the release of a large amount of dopamine into your brain, which gives you the feeling that you’re on top of the world and you want to repeat that experience.

So, that was a lot of information, but useful I think. 😊 It explains a bit of the role of Dopamine and what it does to you. It also explains why eating loads in short times helps me feel so good. It triggers a release of dopamine. And that makes me feel good. Very good even, depending on what I’m snacking. So of course all this info made me wonder what the symptoms are of not having enough Dopamine in your system. So Google became my friend again.

What are the symptoms of dopamine deficiency?
Symptoms of dopamine deficiency (low dopamine levels) may include:

You lack motivation, “the drive.”
You’re tired.
You can’t concentrate.
You’re moody or anxious.
You don’t feel pleasure from previously enjoyable experiences.
You’re depressed; you feel hopeless.
You have a low sex drive.
You have trouble sleeping or have disturbed sleep.

Other symptoms of low dopamine levels include:

Hand tremors or other tremors at rest, loss of balance or coordination, increased muscle/limb stiffness, muscle cramps (symptoms of Parkinson’s disease).
Restless legs syndrome.
Problems with short-term memory, managing daily tasks and solving simple thinking problems (symptoms of cognitive changes).
Problems with anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, forgetfulness, impulsiveness and lack of organizational skill (symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Social withdrawal, reduced emotions, don’t feel pleasure (negative symptoms of schizophrenia).
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including chronic constipation.

There are many symptoms of dopamine deficiency. What you might experience depends on your underlying cause.

When I look at this list, I can cross off so many things. And it made me wonder… If a low level of dopamine might be the underlying cause of me struggling with other health issues as well, as I experience so many of them. There are many sites with loads of information on this. And I wondered why I never came across any of them when I was Googling my weight issues. Probably becais I never linked them to my adhd symptoms.

I checked another site that has loads of information on ADHD and I found this article:

Medical research shows that obese individuals are five to ten times more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than are members of the general population. The link between ADHD and obesity is very real — though not yet fully understood. Certainly impulsivity, poor planning, and high-intensity emotions don’t help in the fight to lose weight, but there could be more at play here.

So a kick of a quick dopamine release is best gotten from food, especially sugars and cards. Yeah, the things that get linked to obesity. We all need some of them to function, but when you crave that dopamine kick, you can’t stop after a little. You need it all. You’ll be very motivated to enjoy this rush you’re feeling while your snacking. And because it drops as quickly as it came, you keep craving for more of those kicks.

More Dopamine, Please
Learning from experience is the basis for sound decision-making, and the motivation to learn is modulated by the promise of reward. The current Incentive Salience Model describes a dopamine reward system that is responsible for motivation, positive reinforcement, and pleasure for all brains. However, dopamine-increasing behaviors are even more gratifying to ADHD brains.

Key aspects of the reward system are underactive in ADHD brains, making it difficult to derive reward from ordinary activities. These dopamine-deficient brains experience a surge of motivation after a high-stimulation behavior triggers a release of dopamine. But in the aftermath of that surge and reward, they return to baseline levels with an immediate drop in motivation.

Soooo that’s loads of information that may be of any use to you (and me).

I’ve started my supplement and I hope to notice differences soon. I found another supplement that could help, which I’ll order soon. 😊 When I have some money again. And I don’t think I can take both supplements at the same time. But I was thinking I might be able to switch them daily. As they both gave some of the same extracts and some different ones. I’ll see what happens when I can roder them.

To be continued…

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Please be wise and stay safe! I hope to see you back real soon again, feel free to drop in anytime! Wishing you all the best. With love, Cynni 🌹

Some selfies in Greifenstein

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5 thoughts on “ADHD – Low on Dopamine?

Add yours

    1. At the moment I have L-Tryptofaan. But I’m going to get a supplement with Melatonin, 5HTP and L-Tryptofaan soon to try that as well. I’ve been taking it for a few days now so can’t say yet how it helps, if it does. Will definitely write about it when I have more experience. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I tried to respond to this earlier, and it erased my post and wouldn’t let me post. Let’s try again.

    I do understand this low dopamine issue. This post makes a lot of good sense. Here in the US, ADHD stimulant medication (which gives us dopamine) is in low supply. The drug addicts have made it this way, and the companies that make the meds will not make more, so people who actually have ADHD suffer.

    Anyway, my medication is in low supply. I have had to cut the pills I have in half to make them last longer/until I can get more. This has given me a lot of the symptoms that you mentioned, such as shaking hands, brain fog, lack of concentration, anger/emotion control problems, and exhaustion. After a week of very low dopamine, I had to take Friday off of work. I slept all day. I slept much of the day on Saturday, too. I have also gained a little of the weight back I had lost. Just a little, but a lot for a week.

    I hope the supplements help you a great deal and make you feel better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ow wow! Thank you for sharing. And yeah it’s hard. I never knew that being low on dopamine could have so many effects. I’m taking L-Tryptofaan now so see if it can help stimulate the process of making more naturally. There’s another form I’d like to buy and try. And if those don’t help I’ll ask again about adhd meds as I really could do without these side effects. I wish someone had told be about this sooner…
      I’m sorry that things are so bad in the USA. I haven’t heard about those things happening here so I hope that, should I need them, I can get the meds to help me.
      Thanks again for sharing your experiences. It helps me form a better understanding. 😊 Hopefully your situation will improve… 🍀

      Liked by 1 person

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