Unlike other forms of ADHD, the inattentive diagnosis is characteristic of someone who has a short attention span, is easily distracted, unorganized and has a tendency to procrastinate. Instead of displaying hyperactive behavior, which is traditionally associated with ADHD, individuals are often quiet, introverted and prone to daydreaming. Treatment is individualized as the disorder varies from one patient to the next.
Role of Neurotransmitters
Imaging studies reveal that patients diagnosed as having various forms of ADHD have reduced blood flow and cellular activity in the region of the brain known as the pre-frontal cortex. Deficient activity is generally contributed to insufficient levels of one or more of the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Together the chemical compounds regulate alertness, cognitive function, mood, energy levels, and other body abilities.
Inattentive ADHD Medications
The medications prescribed to reverse the symptoms of inattentive ADHD are created to increase neurotransmitter levels by encouraging an increase in production levels, an increase in available receptor sites and by inhibiting reabsorbtion. However, as the combination of neurotransmitter deficits vary, finding the appropriate medication for a patient may involve trial and error.
• Methylphenidate, commonly known as Concerta or Ritalin, the drug increases dopamine and epinephrine levels. Though the formulation has stimulant properties that affect the central nervous system, the drug's actions are more related to cognitive and mental effects, which produces a calming effect in the brain.
• Adderall is a stimulant that contains four different amphetamine formulations that together increase dopamine and norepinephrine. However, the medication does not raise dopamine levels with the efficiency of methylphenidate.
• Strattera is not a stimulant. The medication is classified as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, which increases the length of time that the neurotransmitter remains active and usable. However, patients generally must take the pharmaceutical for two to four weeks before experiencing positive effects. Unlike Guamfacine and anti-depressant medications, there are no adverse reactions if patients abruptly stop taking the formulation.
• Guanfacine is traditionally an anti-hypertensive medication that improves blood flow to the front of the brain and the effectiveness of neurotransmitters. In this way, the pharmaceutical helps inattentive patients by allowing them to concentrate and focus. The medication additionally enhances memory and reduces poor impulse control.
Along with an appropriate medication regimen, individuals diagnosed with inattentive ADHD benefit from therapy that addresses and helps correct some of the common problems that hinder patient's performance at home, school or work. Minimizing environmental distractions is of great help. With the assistance of parents or therapists, patients devise routines and schedules. Individuals are encouraged to adhere to a more structured routine by using positive reinforcement and rewards. Therapy also serves to address any other problems that cause struggles for children and adults having ADHD.