Dopamine processing in the brain and the usage of amfetamin like substances

Posted on 2012-03-24
Last Modified: 2012-03-30
As far as I have understood, the key reason why some people have ADHD is simply put that theyr brains do not process dopamine as effectively as they should. "Lighting up" dopamine receptors and dopamine production wih Ritalin or amfetamin like substances are meant to counter effect this.

However, if they key reason for ADHD is bad processing of dopamine, would not wrong issuance of these drugs possibly cause ADHD or ADHD like symptoms in the long run? I am not a doctor, but from what I have read, one of the side effects of excessive usage of any hormone in the long run is that it will numben the receptors for that hormone and inihibit its function. This in turn means worse processing of dopamine wich is the key reason to ADHD.

So, are we possibly producing ADHD in healthy children? One of the side effects of using amfetamine like substances is depression. The reason for that is (possibly among else) insensitive dopamine receptors as a result of excessive flooding of dopamine in the brain, wich again confirms my reason for this discussion.

As you might be suggesting to yourself, I am some what critical to this diagnosis of children. My impression is that this diagnosis is a easy "problem fixer" and that the usage of this practice is badly controlled as there is no way to surely lay down evidence of such a disease in a subject(even if the symptoms might fit).
Question by:itnifl
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LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 500 total points
ID: 37761843
>I am not a doctor

I am not one either. You have to accept that what you have read is a very simplified version of someone's opinion of someone else's research. If things were as obvious as it looks to you then the problem would have been solved some time ago.

I agree with your diagnoses of the situation as far as the details you have posted. It is my personal belief that providing the body with a supply of a necessary substance will cause the body to produce less of that substance itself and therefore rely on the external supply, but that is just my personal belief. Encouraging lots of people to believe it won't make it any truer.

If medical facilities have researched the use of ritalin etc. then they will have looked at the side effects, rate of cure, long term effects, cost, risks and many other factors that need to be considered before a drug is allowed to be prescribed by doctors.

You can't expect to discover a medical breakthrough by reading a 'user-friendly' description of the findings.

Author Comment

ID: 37762246
I agree with what you write, partially, except the part where you put trust in medical authority. We always trust authority, no matter what times we live in. We also always believe that we live in new and better times regardless of the fact that we also always look back and in some sort of irony disagree with our previous assumption.

Psychiatric medical history is no beauty. They have been giving people "safe" drugs for ages with serious side effects, without really knowing what they were doing. All this justified by theyr status of authority.

If oposition to authority is automatically the wrong idea, then we are essentially just sheep on a farm.
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 500 total points
ID: 37763737
It's not the authority that I put my trust in. It is their collective experience following a lengthy and advanced education in the subject. Of course they can be wrong, and I always like to question decisions or opinions.
You will probably never get a correct answer in terms of which drug to offer somebody. We all know that aspirin will cure a headache, also that it can cause internal bleeding. So what would you offer a headache sufferer with a stomach ulcer?
You won't find a drug that fixes everything, the human body isn't like a car where you can go and get a bit replaced or have it tuned up. If there is something going wrong there isn't a magic pill that will repair that thing and make it well again. Mostly they hope to relieve the symptoms and keep the patient alive long enough for the body to fix itself.
Unfortunately with your question there are a lot of ethical problems, you can't separate a load of children into two groups so as to have a control to see if the drug does more harm than good. You just have to rely on existing evidence where the drug has been prescribed. Mostly it will have been given where it was deemed necessary and the results recorded. This requires an accurate diagnoses initially and looking at medical results will only tell you what occurred in cases where the symptoms were initially similar. There could be several causes of the symptoms and the underlying cause of one or more of these may have been successfully treated by the prescription (What dose was prescribed? Was it taken properly? - all varying factors).
Hopefully doctors will look for causes that can be dealt with before prescribing drugs to children, such as diet or sleep patterns.
When I was young my family doctor used to prescribe 'fresh air and exercise'. I don't think he ever prescribed anything stronger than cough medicine for me. He didn't believe in pills for children.

Author Comment

ID: 37770142
I like your family doctors attitude to prescriptions. To really have a fulfilling discussion about this topic I would have to be some kind of brain scientist discussing with other scientists I guess.
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd earned 500 total points
ID: 37774299
I think you are right, about needing scientists to discuss it.
To get a decent set of results you would need to conduct a number of tests on children, some who are displaying the symptoms you are trying to cure and some who appear healthy. Feed half of each group with the drug and watch for 20-30 years to see how they all develop.
That's why doctors and medical scientists have to work differently, experimenting on children just won't ever be a good idea.  All they can do, after numerous lengthy tests to make sure that the drug isn't too dangerous, is to prescribe it and watch the results. If it seems to be helping they will prescribe it in more cases, but if it doesn't they will (Well they should!) try something else.

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