What Can Be Revealed In An ADHD Brain Scan?

Published 12/01/2020

Do you struggle with ADHD?  Does your child struggle with ADHD?

There are many ways to treat ADHD, and ADHD can often use some better understanding by society.  A proper diagnosis is a key to understanding the way a person’s brain is working with ADHD.  An ADHD brain scan can assist in creating a more specific diagnosis.

Each person is different, and the levels of severity in ADHD are varied.  An ADHD brain scan can help someone understand more about how their brain, in particular, is functioning.  An ADHD brain scan can also help a person understand the specifics of their case.

Many people with ADHD go undiagnosed, but finding support for ADHD can be tremendously beneficial.  It is recommended for anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD to find a practitioner who can support them with the areas in their life they find more challenging.  If a person uses a counselor or therapist, the practitioner can use the information from an ADHD brain scan to understand themselves better.

What does it mean to have ADHD?

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What it doesn’t mean is that the person is impaired.  It does mean that the person may find themselves with certain challenges in areas that those with ADHD do not.  For example, someone with ADHD may need to hear spoken directions twice.  Many people with ADHD have difficulty concentrating and listening consistently.  Tendencies to be distracted are higher.  Others may tend to be more hyperactive and restless.

Though the general symptoms of ADHD include distraction, challenges with focus, and restlessness, the more specific list of symptoms is much longer.  Other symptoms of ADHD can include anger issues, mood disorders, forgetfulness, irritability, impulsive behavior, and sometimes the tendency to blurt out information with the wrong timing in a conversation. Many adults with ADHD seem to calm down as they age, but the challenges with focus and attention may remain an issue, depending on their subtype.

The symptoms of ADHD show up differently in individuals due to their specific subtypes.  An ADHD brain scan will help a person identify their specific subtype and help them see what specific symptoms they might be experiencing either alongside their ADHD or because of their ADHD.  Therefore, an ADHD brain scan can bring much clarity into the picture for adults or the parents of children with ADHD.

What Are The Subtypes Of ADHD?

Any ADHD brain scan is great for discovering the subtypes of ADHD an individual may have.  What are the subtypes of ADHD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are three subtypes of ADHD: hyperactive and impulsive, inattentive, and combined.  Let’s take a look at each subtype.

  1. Hyperactive And Impulsive

This type of ADHD tends to be more prevalent in children, and adults tend to carry it through fidgety or restless ways.  This type of ADHD is detectable in children who always seem like they are on-the-go or cannot sit still.  Some of these children will blurt things out in class, and adults might demonstrate this behavior in social settings.  Waiting in line is difficult for these individuals, and certainly, impatience is an issue.  Children who experience this type of ADHD need to find ways of exuding their energy besides interrupting.  A teacher might bring them to the front of the class to have them as a “helper” from time to time.  Putting these children in sports is a major benefit.  Adults will do better in finding a job where they are on their feet and moving around a lot.

  1. Inattentive

Inattentive ADHD is recognized by difficulty with listening and focus.  People with inattentive ADHD will have more difficulty focusing on tasks and listening to verbal directions.  They may not exude such hyperactivity, but this can still show up with the inattentive subtype.  Their greater challenge is attention, and they may have an easier time practicing patience than someone in the hyperactive and impulsive subtype.  These people might lose things easily, get distracted often, and avoid anything that requires a long period of focus and mental effort.

Children and adults with this subtype may need to have more visuals when given directions.  This subtype can be seen in a lot of artists for this very reason.  They tend to be more visually oriented people.

  1. Combined

A combined subtype will have challenges in each of the above categories.  These individuals will be hyperactive and impulsive, plus inattentive.  Combinations are common, but the combined subtype includes a balance of the two other subtypes.  An individual might be equally hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive.

Taking a look at the three subtypes may help anyone understand the importance of support for an individual with ADHD.  Support for someone with ADHD can be found through therapy and counseling.  Even if the child's parents or the person themselves do not want to be medicated, a supportive practitioner can help the person navigate this condition.

According to an article through ADDitude Mag, an online magazine for ADHD, an ADHD brain scan must be used in addition to other tests used to diagnose ADHD.  Provided here is some information about different types of ADHD brain scans, and to bring more clarity, there is a great online test available for better accuracy.

Types Of ADHD Brain Scans

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The purpose of an ADHD brain scan is to get a closer look at the brain to pinpoint the causes of the person’s symptoms.  An ADHD brain scan can be used to better diagnose ADHD and rule out other possibilities.  ADHD can be a difficult condition to diagnose.  Here are some options for ADHD brain scans to get a better picture of the brain and how it is functioning.

  1. SpectAnd Speculation

There is a neuroimaging technique that is used to measure blood flow in the brain. This is known as the SPECT procedure, done by an injection of a radioactive isotope picked up by the brain.  It only takes 20 minutes, but several scans may be necessary.  By examining a patient through SPEC and speculation, the doctor can better get a clear diagnosis and see what’s going on with different areas of the brain.  Dr. Amen, an experienced SPEC imaging clinician, says that he can locate the specific symptoms in a person’s brain associated with ADHD through these scans, such as anxiety and other mood disorders.  Dr. Amen states in an article through the ADHD specific site, ADDitude, that the greater purpose of the SPECT is to see which ADHD “subtypes” a person has.  Widely varied symptoms can be detected, such as higher levels of fear and depression.  This can help an individual understand why they experience certain patterns and behaviors.

  1. EEG Scan

According to webmd.com, the EEG was approved in 2013 for the diagnosis of ADHD.  EEG stands for electroencephalogram, a non-invasive ADHD brain scan that measures different brain waves' speeds.  This type of scan is also called neurofeedback.

Our slow brain waves are called theta brain waves.  Fast brain waves are beta waves.  Both fast and slow brain waves look differently in those with ADHD.  The EEG is also used to detect other disorders, such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, and stroke.  This procedure is done by attaching small electrodes on the scalp connected to wires, which amplifies the brain waves and records them onto a computer.  This is a very safe and painless procedure that can yield a diagnosis for ADHD.  Just be aware that other factors can affect brain waves, such as drowsiness.  This procedure must be done as part of a complete examination to get a better picture of what’s going on in the brain.

  1. MRI

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MRIs are great to see if there are any other co-conditions.  This is common among individuals with ADHD.  An MRI is also helpful in identifying the subtypes of ADHD.  Knowing which subtypes a person has will paint a clearer picture of their condition.

A practitioner can be hugely beneficial in helping children get what they need in school.  They can help to guide their parents and teachers to offer child support in class and at home.  An adult with ADHD may need some career advice, such as deciding which career is right for them.

People with ADHD can certainly thrive with the right tools, but they must know the specific tools they need.  First, having a proper diagnosis is key.  This way, the person may know which subtype category they fall into.  An easy way to diagnose ADHD is to take a test from a reputable source.  Then, to better understand the person’s needs, an ADHD brain scan is extremely helpful.  This will help the person identify their subtype and other specific symptoms that are prevalent.

To find out more about which ADHD brain scan is right for you or your child, speak to your healthcare provider.  Many therapists may be able to help with this decision, as well.  To take the first step to diagnose potential ADHD, take this online test today.