In order to understand Temporal Lobe Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, it’s necessary to know a little bit about the brain, particularly the location and functions of the Temporal Lobe. Originally developed for anatomical classification, the brain was divided into four different parts: the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. As research into the brain advanced, scientists realized that each section was responsible for different functions.
As the name suggests, the frontal lobe is the front portion of the brain. In addition to being responsible for motor functions, it also contains the most Dopamine receptors, which effect attention span, short-term memory, planning and motivation. Located at the top and back of the brain, the parietal lobe effects how sensory data is processed so the information can be used for navigation and orientation. The occipital lobe processes visual information and is located at the back of the brain under the parietal lobe.
The temporal lobe, which is located beneath the frontal and parietal lobes and behind the sinuses, processes sound and interprets semantics of both written and spoken language. Buried within is the hippocampus. In addition to being a part of the limbic system which regulates emotions, behavior, smell and the transfer of information from short to long-term memory. Since this area plays an essential role in memory, it is one of the first sections of the brain that suffers damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. So, it should come as no surprise that people with temporal lobe ADD will have difficulty remembering things and often experience sensations of déjà vu.
In addition to forgetfulness, these people have difficulty regulating, understanding and coping with emotions. They are quick to lose their temper and are fearful, irritable, sensitive, and paranoid. This emotional instability can be challenging for the people close to them and often strains relationships. Making communication even more challenging is a tendency to interpret both spoken and written language in negative ways, and if the above problems aren’t enough many patients also suffer auditory processing disorders.
Auditory processing disorder, or APD, effects approximately five percent of all school children and is often misdiagnosed as a learning disability. Most of these children hear fine in ideal environments, like the ones where hearing tests are given. This means most hearing tests will determine the child has no difficulty hearing, but there is a difference between detecting and processing sound. Children and adults with APD struggle to recognize and process similar speech sounds, since they have difficulty noting subtle differences between sounds in loud and noisy environments. If you are concerned your child may have APD, there are several diagnostic questions parents can use to. This way the problem can be diagnosed early and prevent delays in speech and language development and academic performance.
- Environment Is your child easily distracted or bothered by loud or sudden sounds or noisy environments? Does your child’s behavior and performance improve in quiet settings?
- Speech and Language Development Does your child struggle with reading, writing, spelling or speech? Does your child have difficulty solving math word problems? Does your child have difficulty following conversations?
- Other Does your child have difficulty following directions? Are they disorganized and forgetful?
The symptom of Temporal ADD I found most surprising was the prevalence of abdominal pain. Most of the time, the abdominal pain is accompanied by dizziness, pale skin, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The abdominal pain is also a symptom of the rare condition of Abdominal Epilepsy, which can be officially diagnosed with an EEG, MRI or CT scan and gastrointestinal diagnostic tests like ultrasounds and endoscopy procedures.
The good news is that Temporal Lobe ADD and Abdominal epilepsy are both treated with anti-seizure medications like Gabapentin (aka.Neurotin) since these drugs increase the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms neural activity and prevents neurons from firing too much or erratically. GABA can be taken as a supplement (L-Glutamine), but taking too much of the supplement can worsen gastrointestinal symptoms and in some cases cause seizures. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, including Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft will make these temporal lobe conditions worse. To improve memory difficulties, patients can try Ginko Biloba, Phosphatidylserine (PS), or Vitamin E. Regular aerobic exercise and a low-carb diet has also proven beneficial when it comes to decreasing the severity of symptoms.
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