Understanding Temporal Lobe ADHD: Symptoms, Causes, and More

In this article, we will take a close look at temporal lobe attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (temporal lobe ADHD), a subtype of the neurodevelopmental disorder known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We will explore its symptoms, causes, and the role of the temporal lobe in this condition.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

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Temporal Lobe ADHD: Overview

Temporal lobe ADHD is a subtype of the neurodevelopmental disorder. 

It is thought to be characterized by abnormalities in the temporal lobe of the brain. Because of this, it is believed to involve structural and functional differences in the brain causing it. 

Similarly to normal ADHD, temporal lobe ADHD manifests as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.

In addition to these, an individual with ADHD can experience mood disorders and cognitive disturbances.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. 

In general, it is characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These symptoms interfere with the daily life of the individuals and then influence the educational, work or social achievements of the individual [1,2].
Individuals with ADHD can also experience less common symptoms, such as ADHD Fatigue, ADHD eye contact, ADHD hypermobility or passive suicidal ideation.

ADHD usually starts in childhood. In fact it is the most frequently seen disorder in child and adolescent psychiatry with a prevalence of 3-5% and may even continue into adulthood [3, 4]

What is temporal lobe ADHD?

Temporal lobe ADHD is a subtype of ADHD that is associated with abnormalities in the temporal lobe of the brain. 

The temporal lobe is thought to be involved in processing sensory input and assigning it emotional meaning. It also plays a significant role in memory formation and learning. 

Interestingly, one study has found structural and functional differences in the white matter of the temporal lobe in boys with ADHD compared to controls [5].

Another study found that in ADHD patients the activation level of the prefrontal and parietal lobe and the basal ganglia was decreased whereas the activation levels were increased in the temporal lobe [6].

What are the symptoms of temporal lobe ADHD?

Temporal lobe ADHD symptoms are symptoms of ADHD which are primarily related to the temporal lobe. The exact symptoms may vary from individual to individual, however, some common ones are: 

  • Hyperactivity - Individuals experiencing these symptoms have trouble sitting still and need to constantly walk around or move [7].
  • Impulsivity - This refers to behaviours such as talking excessively or interrupting people [7].
  • Inattention - The individual has problems with paying attention to details, problems with keeping focus or troubles finishing or completing tasks. Further, it can also include forgetting things, losing things and being easily distracted [7].

In temporal lobe ADHD, individuals may also have mood and cognitive disturbances and experience anxiety, frustration or anger [8].

In some cases, individuals may also experience seizures with auditory features and psychic auras, and some may experience nightmares [9]

What are the causes of temporal lobe ADHD?

The exact cause of temporal lobe ADHD is not fully understood. However, the cause of general ADHD is not understood either. 

It is believed that genetics may play a role in the development of ADHD and temporal ADHD as well [10].

The causes of temporal lobe ADHD are not fully understood, but several factors have been implicated. 

In some cases, ADHD symptoms can develop after a temporal lobe resection, suggesting the role of the right temporal lobe in ADHD. 

Additionally, certain environmental factors, such as exposure to the neurotoxin methylmercury during development, have been associated with an increased risk for ADHD [10].

Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.