Most of us are motivated by two basic drives: the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The pursuit of pleasure is satisfied by the release of dopamine in the nervous system. This results in the reward of feeling good, whether from eating, loving, working, or playing. When someone can’t make or distribute enough dopamine, they require ever-increasing stimulation to feel the same amount of pleasure. One example is hyperactive behavior, such as in people diagnosed with ADHD. A root cause for many cases of ADHD is the malfunction of “reward centers” in the nervous system. While many of these reward centers are in the brain, about half of them are in the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This is relatively new knowledge of how the brain functions, based on research findings from the 1980s and 1990s.
So why would someone exhibit distressing behaviors like hyperactivity or dangerous thrill-seeking? Would it stand to reason that nervous system malfunction may be warping their perception of pleasure and pain? Would it stand to reason that analyzing the function of the nervous system would be a logical first step? Chiropractors focus on correcting neurospinal malfunction, which improves nervous system function and impacts the ability of reward centers to naturally produce feel-good chemicals. This means that chiropractic care has a role to play in improving the lives of those with ADHD and thrill-seeking behaviors.