Ability to Love, Impulse Control, Moral Reasoning
Genetic Connection Between ADHD, Addiction and Antisocial Behavior

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ADHD and the
Inner Triangle

“The essential feature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.”

The prevalence of ADHD is 3-7% of school-aged children. Like antisocial personality disorder and some forms of alcoholism, ADHD is more frequent in males than in females. Unlike antisocial personality disorder and addiction, ADHD is associated with impairment in only one side of the Inner Triangle.

Children and adults with ADHD and no other disorder like CD or ODD, have intact ability to love and may have age appropriate moral reasoning ability. Impairment in impulse control defines and causes this disorder. The ability to sustain attention is directly related to impulse control. The brain produces many different ideas of what to do, think and feel. Correct behavior requires filtering of these ideas and work to stay on task. This filtering and the ability to stay on task are impaired in ADHD.

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The Inner Triangle:Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning

Children with ADHD are at risk for addiction, antisocial behavior and antisocial personality disorder. The reason for this risk is that poor impulse control may impair the development of ability to love (empathy), and moral reasoning. Because children with ADHD are at high risk, parents have to shield them from exposure to violent and sexually graphic media.

A very high percentage (40-60%) of children with ADHD have other disorders like ODD and CD. The presence of these other disorders indicates a problem with the development of ability to love and moral reasoning. Children with ADHD and CD /ODD are at very high risk to develop antisocial personality and/or addiction when they become teens and young adults.

There are two reasons why poor impulse control impairs the development of empathy. Since impulsive children are so difficult to be with, even great parents have a hard time enjoying loving them. In order to develop empathy, a child has to have daily enjoyment of warmth and affection. The second problem is within the child. Since children with poor impulse control are easily overwhelmed by emotion they develop a habit of ignoring emotional cues.