Clinical observations have long shown that people with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have emotional problems, such as chaotic emotional reactions, anxiety and depression.
However, the link between ADHD and emotional regulation has not been identified, even though theories have suggested that both conditions are rooted in dysfunction in the way the brain processes information.
Now, a new Swedish study finds that the brains of people with ADHD and those with emotional instability disorders (borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and behavioral disorder in children) may have similar changes in overlapping areas, suggesting that the two Types of states should be considered as related.
For the study, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden observed more than 1
"We can call them sibling states because they both involve partially overlapping underlying brain mechanisms and thus attention. We should consider both dimensions during diagnosis," said Dr. Predrag Petrovic, adjunct professor at the Institute of Clinical Neurosciences at Karolinska Institutet and Consultant Psychiatrist at North-Stockholm Psychiatry.
Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was able to show how both ADHD and behavioral abnormalities in adolescents manifested themselves in reduced brain volume and surface area in parts of the frontal lobe and nearby regions.
affected parts of the brain generally overlapped, but the researchers also found changes were specifically associated with ADHD symptoms or behavioral-related symptoms.The study also included behavioral experiments, both
"These findings are important not least for patients with emotional instability, as they are often skeptical and frustrated if they are not taken seriously," said Petrovic.
"We now show that this is related to changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in patients with ADHD, which may lead to better understanding and better diagnosis."
The study was part of the IMAGENs project, an EU-funded collaboration between several European countries aimed at understanding how brain and behavior develop.
Researchers hope the new findings will not only lead to better diagnoses, but also to better treatments ADHD diagnosis can be given a special therapy that helps them to better manage their emotions.
"We also need to do more research to understand if central stimulant drugs u sed for ADHD can also produce positive results for people with emotional instability disorders," said Petrovic.
Source: Karolinska Institutet