Stress Response in ADHD Predominantly Inattentive and ADHD Combined Type
Cortisol along with other neurotransmitters help you make a small memory imprint of dangers to avoid in the future but an over exposure to blood cortisol levels causes brain cell damage. This cell damage, in turn, leads to both memory loss and learning impairments.
Scientist do not know what is happening in the brain of individuals with ADHD that is causing abnormalities in the cortisol response but both the Inattentive types and the ADHD Combined type with Oppositional Defiance Disorder have been found to have abnormal cortisol responses. In ADHD-PI the cortisol level is high and in ADHD-C/ODD the cortisol levels can be unusually low.
Some scientists have proposed using cortisol levels as a diagnostic tool to identify people with ADHD and conduct disorders or to identify people with ADHD-PI. The science, at this point, is not definitive enough for ADHD with conduct disorder to propose the use of cortisol as a diagnostic tool but there is a growing body of evidence linking high cortisol levels to ADHD-PI.
Cortisol levels can be normalized and in my next post I will speak about some of the treatment strategies that have proved successful in improving blood cortisol levels.