Dopamine and autism/ADHD/extroversion/introversion?



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Grey_Kameleon
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Wed May 21, 2008 4:04 pm

I have recently been interested in the subject of dopamine. I've been reading Laney's "The Introvert Advantage" and have come to the conclusion that I am an extrovert*, and I am more certain of this than any of my other self-diagnoses. Due to my difficulty with social situations, I find myself drawn to coffee (I need about 4 cups before I feel any kind of motivation), physical pain, and social environments. This fits with extroversion (and maybe ADHD), but seem to exclude autism, which is very similar to introversion. I am wondering how dopamine affects autistic people, and if it possible for an autistic person to have an undersensitivity to dopamine. Feel free to share opinions, facts, and personal experiences.

*I have problems with emotional processes and social intuition, but I still need the stimulation due to brain structure.



zen_mistress
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Wed May 21, 2008 9:07 pm

Interesting topic. I also think I am an extrovert. I have this weird need to always hear words and have words spoken arounf me, I feel understimulated when I have noone to talk to, and so bored.

I know a lot of aspies like being alone more than being with people, and feel that they are an introvert.

with me, if anything overloads me, it is interaction with the physical world. I cant handle doing anything physical for very long! When I try and write it can look pretty wiggly if I write for more than a minute, and I get very tense when I am vacuuming or doing the dishes or something.

I dont know about the link with dopamine. Isnt dopamine the pleasure chemical? Perhaps introverted people dont get any dopamine reward from interacting with people. I am not sure....


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Grey_Kameleon
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Wed May 21, 2008 10:10 pm

Supposedly, introverts just can't handle much of it. They get their 'energy' from another chemical, acetylcholine. Extroverts have a lower tolerance for it, yet rely on it. I need a lot of it and always have.

I still have sensory problems. Touch, sound, smell, I'm still very sensitive. But for whatever reason, I hate being alone. It's weird.

You mentioned vacuuming. Do you have a low threshold for tedium?



pakled
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Wed May 21, 2008 10:23 pm

It is caffeine that sets my mind in motion
It is through the juice of the bean that my thoughts acquire speed,
my hands acquire shakes
the shakes become a warning
It is by caffeine that I set my mind in motion...;)



zen_mistress
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Wed May 21, 2008 10:26 pm

I dont know a lot about acetylcholine, or what evokes it. But i am very interested in neurochemicals.

Yeah I hate being alone too... I sometimes like it, when I am photographing, or reading, but I like having people around and just hearing them talk. I just wish i had better social skills.

With vacumming, yes I guess it is tedium that I dont like, it is very boring, but more than that, I find it is physically difficult, it is like my body and mind arent quite connected, and when I try and make them work together, difficulty can result. I am just not very kinesthetic, as they say.


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_BRI_
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Thu May 22, 2008 5:34 am

Serious scientifics reports point out a radical diference between Asperger syndrome and ADHD to Autism. They say the conditions aren't even related in spite of similarities. I know I am going to get some serious quotation of disagreement. But I have read every single approach to the issue and that was pretty much solid to me.

I feel the same way, being a self diagnosed asperger or at least falling into the description and knowing I am very Extroverted I can tell you I firmly believe what you are saying.

I have had several experiencies with that issue, I used to smoke cigarettes a lot (tobacco awakes dopamine influx) for years and that was o.k with my focus, my steadiness on a subject and so but my health was really bad. The I switched to sporty mode and quit the cigarettes and started to swim, run, cycle... that helped me to be more relaxed calmed, besides the good looking feeling and the self-esteem boost. It was way to relaxing and I was somehow more dreamy and dispersed. Now I don't know how can I achieve some balance to the problem.

Scientific reports estimates the failure of domanine or its transmiters agents between the frontal cortex, amygdala, pituitary gland and son on. And the failure of its cycles, partially or totally. That failure is linked with the mirror neurons, which happens to be a type of neurons that automatically activates when seeing another human being, so you can pretty much share a feeling without actually feeling it yourself. It's an automatic empathetic process. This underconnectivity, or partial failure, or syndrome, or whatever name you want to put at it, It's a chemical difference. Those islets of abilities could be, because the brain has less information to account for, therefore the function of some healthy regions are fastened and improved, because the brain can be trained.

I want to know if we could find a balance to work our lives thru. I know maybe some of us doesn't feel this way. My respect to them. But maybe you and I, and the guys here in the forum.. could share a group experiment. We could tried some drugs, or maybe work it out with yoga, or aversion therapy. I don't know. But sharing is powerful!

Excuse my poor english, take care.



Liopleurodon
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Thu May 22, 2008 5:57 am

When I was first diagnosed with depression, my GP gave me a rather odd choice of meds - flupentixol - which works by reducing the amount of dopamine in a person's system. (I've since been told by several different doctors that this was a completely stupid medication for him to put me on for depression, but that's what he did.)

It completely changed my entire personality. Before the flupentixol I was "the real me": extremely introverted, loved being alone, slow temper, not interested in alcohol and found socialising a bit tedious and tiring. Flupentixol made my depression much, much worse, but it also turned me into someone who couldn't bear to be left alone, even for ten minutes. I started going out every night in order to keep people around me, and I drank far too much alcohol - I was really craving it. I snapped at everyone and became loud-mouthed and agressive at times. After I took an overdose I was taken off flupentixol and put on fluoxetine and my personality changed back overnight to what it had been before. I went from problem drinker to teetotal overnight - just completely lost interest in alcohol. I stopped snapping at people, rediscovered being alone and my depression seemed to vanish. I still find it scary that the medication affected me like that.


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NeantHumain
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Thu May 22, 2008 1:53 pm

Overall, I am an introvert, but I do have some extraverted tendencies sometimes. Introversion is typical of people with Asperger's syndrome. People with combined and hyperactive/impulsive types of ADHD are likely to be very extraverted (almost by definition).



Grey_Kameleon
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Thu May 22, 2008 2:13 pm

I don't necessarily claim to be autistic in anyway. I just know that I have serious problems with social and emotional instincts which are not related to social anxiety. I fit the AS descriptions, even stereotypes, in every way except for the introversion and intense focus. My intolerance for tedium, my 'holy grail' quest for stimulation, and fascination (read: obsession) with people just makes it all so confusing.

_BRI_, I don't know about an experiment, but your report is very interesting. Are you saying that Asperger's and ADHD aren't connected, or that Asperger's and autism aren't connected? Your English is clear to me except for that one sentence.



zen_mistress
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Thu May 22, 2008 3:13 pm

Aspergers does have an introverting effect on the mind. A person finds that the world can be confusing in some ways and the mind is a sanctuary. Also we tend to be introspective.

But if you get a group of aspies together you can soon see that some of them would have been an extrovert if they had developed in the NT way. There is the "active but odd" style documented by psychologists.

I know I would be very much an extrovert if I wasnt on the spectrum as I am not aloof in any way and I am impulsive. I dont really know how I would define myself. As it is I score as an extrovert on tests but I am not a strong extrovert, I spend a lot of time reading and thinking too.


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Zwerfbeertje
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Thu May 22, 2008 3:17 pm

pakled wrote:
It is caffeine that sets my mind in motion
It is through the juice of the bean that my thoughts acquire speed,
my hands acquire shakes
the shakes become a warning
It is by caffeine that I set my mind in motion...;)


:D Nice change and it's definitely good enough for a sig.



Grey_Kameleon
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Thu May 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Yeah, I totally want that in my sig.



Sora
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Sat May 24, 2008 2:55 pm

I'm also an extrovert. Though I really hate the sound of people talking, I need a constant exchange from me to anybody else, I need to share excitement and talk, talk, talk.

Autism often interferes with this though, rendering me incapable of doing anything other than isolating me.

But caffeine has no effect on me other than making me tired and sleepy (ADHD).


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zen_mistress
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Sat May 24, 2008 6:00 pm

Yeah I find caffeine makes me relaxed. Weird. My mother used to have a coffee before bed, to help her sleep. I must have got that from her. We both go manic on alcohol too, lol.


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Sora
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Sat May 24, 2008 7:16 pm

zen_mistress wrote:
Yeah I find caffeine makes me relaxed. Weird. My mother used to have a coffee before bed, to help her sleep. I must have got that from her. We both go manic on alcohol too, lol.


It's rather typical for any type of AD(H)D.

While stimulants (such as meds for ADDs) make non-AD(H)D people high and excited, they calm down the person with AD(H)D.

As for sedatives, it's also the other way around for those with AD(H)D. Usually, there's no calming effect.

That's why patients ought to mention that they have AD(H)D to their doctors, if those use sedatives or anaesthesias. Not trying to be scary, but I know a couple of people with AD(H)D who woke up during a surgery.


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