The main causes of ADHD remain unknown, but scientists believe that a neurological transmitter called dopamine contributes to the development of this disorder. 

Understanding the ADHD dopamine connection can help unravel the causes of this disorder and establish new and more effective ADHD treatment options. 

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Keep reading as we explore the link between ADHD and dopamine.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is an abbreviation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is a chronic neurobehavioral condition that normally begins in childhood.

Patients with ADHD are unable to focus in school or work and have trouble controlling impulsive behavior.

Some of the main symptoms of ADHD include:

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is an organic chemical that transmits signals from the body to the neurons in the brain. It is simply a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in determining how the brain functions.

It helps in regulating:

People with high or low dopamine levels have problems regulating their emotional responses. Inadequate dopamine can cause serious neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and ADHD.

ADHD Dopamine Causes

Causes of Low Dopamine

What Chemical Is Lacking in ADHD?

Even though the main causes of ADHD are unknown, the lack of certain chemicals in the brain contributes to the development of this disorder. 

Research shows that a lack of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are the main culprits as far as ADHD is concerned. 

What Is the Link Between ADHD and Dopamine?

ADHD is a neurological disorder that is characterized by difficulty in paying attention, concentration, and the inability to control impulsive behaviors. 

Since dopamine plays a role in controlling these emotional responses, researchers believe that irregular dopamine levels possibly contribute to the development of ADHD. Research further shows that people with low dopamine levels are at a higher risk of developing ADHD.

Is ADHD a Dopamine Deficiency?

ADHD is not a dopamine deficiency [1*] but inadequate dopamine in the brain can lead to the development of the disorder. 

People with low dopamine levels do not necessarily have ADHD, but the continuous lack of this important neurotransmitter can increase the risk of developing ADHD.

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Dopamine Transporters and ADHD

Dopamine transporters are transmembrane proteins that are responsible for transferring dopamine from the synaptic cleft into the cytoplasm in the brain cells.

People with ADHD have a higher concentration of dopamine transporters in the brain compared to people without ADHD. 

A higher concentration of dopamine transporters facilitates the quick removal of dopamine from the brain, leading to a deficiency and as a result, increasing the risk of ADHD. 

Why Do ADHD Brains Crave Dopamine?

ADHD brains crave dopamine because of a deficiency. People living with ADHD tend to have lower levels of dopamine in their brains. For this reason, they are unable to process various emotions appropriately and hence they crave the missing chemical.

ADHD patients cannot resist foods like almonds, apples, chocolate, and bananas since they trigger an increase of dopamine in the brain.

How Does ADHD Increase Dopamine Levels?

ADHD does not increase dopamine levels. Instead, it reduces the amount of dopamine in the brain. The only way a person with ADHD can increase dopamine levels is by taking the right medication as prescribed by the doctor.

Aside from medication, food and nutrition play a huge role in increasing dopamine levels. People with ADHD should eat foods that are known to boost dopamine levels and reduce ADHD symptoms.

Effects of Low Dopamine

The effects of low dopamine vary from person to person, but the most common ones include:

Low dopamine also increases the risk of developing serious chronic conditions like:

Low ADHD dopamine

Effects of Low Dopamine

Medications That Increase ADHD Dopamine

Low dopamine levels can cause a variety of health problems. The good news is that there are several medications, stimulants, and supplements that a person can take to boost their dopamine levels. These medications also help manage the symptoms of ADHD.

Medications for ADHD dopamine include:

ADHD Treatment Options for Low Dopamine

ADHD treatment options for low dopamine range from medication to stimulants to home remedies. In any case, what may work for one person may not produce the same results in another person. 

Some people thrive after using medications while others react negatively after using the same. With this in mind, visiting a mental health expert can help find the right ADHD treatment options for low dopamine.

Home Remedies for Low ADHD Dopamine

Home remedies for boosting low dopamine levels include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep and rest
  • Meditation
  • Listening to favorite music
  • Consuming more probiotics like yogurt
  • Avoiding saturated fats
  • Consuming plenty of protein-rich foods

ADHD can be treated in natural ways– Click below to get professional guidance on the matter.

Final Thoughts

The ADHD dopamine connection cannot be ignored. In any case, research shows that people with low dopamine levels are at a high risk of developing ADHD. Increasing your dopamine level can help avert this risk or reduce the symptoms of ADHD if you already have it. 

For more information on how to boost low dopamine levels and treat ADHD, talk to our health experts at EZCare Clinic. We shall be glad to help.


+1 sources
  1. Dopamine deficiency: What you need to know. (2023)
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.