Date of Award
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is currently classified as a mental disorder in the DSM-V. The classification of a mental disorder leads to significant issues such as over-reliance on prescription medications, removal of agency, negative self-valuation, and more. Recent data in areas such as genetics, neurobiology, and psychology support the hypothesis that ADHD may be better understood as an evolutionary adaptive process that became maladaptive as a result of substantially different environmental characteristics in the modern environment. Key symptoms of ADHD may be explained by two processes. The first process is due to a genetic variation in Dopamine Receptor D4 that may have contributed to symptoms that aided nomadic humans in migrating out of Africa. The second process may be explained by the sympathetic nervous system’s suppression of the prefrontal cortex in the presence of chronic stress which led to behaviors useful for immediate survival in the context of the ancestral environment. The Evolutionary Mismatch Model of ADHD may help inform alternative interventions that can minimize the negative effects of ADHD seen in the modern environment. Alternative interventions include daily exercise, dietary supplementation of Omega 3/6 fatty acids, and increased vitamin D exposure through exposure to sunlight or dietary supplementation.
Zorya, Brian, "ADHD as an Evolutionary Mismatch." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2023.
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