Attention Deficit Disorder: Meet the Neurotransmitters

Sometimes you just need to put a face with a name in order to remember something.  It is also helpful if that face has characters that represent what the face is all about or helps you remember more about the face.  Linda Roggli, the ADDiva, is very creative. She put a face on the names of the key neurotransmitters that impact those with ADHD. The cartoon faces really help bring a context to each neurotransmitter.

In an interview with her, Linda allowed me to share her caricatures of ADHD-related neurotransmitters and explained what each does and its impact. A clear understanding of each one and its particular role can really bring clarity to many things. I invite you to watch this short video to gain colorful insight on the ADHD neurotransmitter world.

Video Transcript:

Jeff:  Welcome everybody to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, attention coach Jeff Copper, and today I’m here with ADDiva Linda Roggli. Linda, welcome to the show.

Linda:  Thanks so much, Jeff. It’s always a pleasure to be with you.

Jeff:  I know you’re one of my favorites to interview. You’re always so colorful and you’ve got some great ideas.

Linda:  Purple.

Jeff:  Linda is the author of Confessions of an ADDiva. Lift it up a little bit so everybody can see it.

Linda:  In front of my face?

Jeff:  Yeah.

Linda:  How about in front of your face.?

Jeff:  That’s good. One of the reasons why I wanted to have you on, because this is a great book, and I wanted to illustrate how brilliant you are. And, Linda, like a lot of people, sometimes her own way of learning. I think really identifying people and faces and things. When it comes to neurotransmitters and all this brain stuff, because she’s an ADD coach and very good at it, I might add, is to understand neurotransmitters in a way that she can understand herself and explain it and everybody else can use it. She did such a great job at it. Linda, can you introduce us to your friends.

Linda:  I would love to introduce you to my friends. All right, here we go, and here they are. All right, are you going to let me talk right here?

Jeff:  I’ll give you the mic and I’m going to hold this in front of… There we go.

Linda:  Good. Fabuloso. That’s perfect, perfect, perfect.

Jeff:  So that you can point to it.

Linda:  Well, as I told Jeff, I had so much trouble remembering the names of these neurotransmitters and actually what they did. When you look at them on a piece of paper, the names are hard to pronounce. And I’m not sure if I’m doing it right, so I don’t do it at all. I’m sure you can understand that. I don’t want to look stupid, right? However, what I did was I created characters for each one of these neurotransmitters, at least the three neurotransmitters that are important for ADHD.

The first one is Ms. Nora Penne Effrin, and she’s very straight-laced, and she’s the one who asks us to pay attention. It actually is pronounced “norepinephrine,” but I thought, “Well, Nora Penne Effrin will allow me to remember it.” So this is Nora Penne Effrin. She helps us pay attention.

This is Mr. “Dope” A. Mean. I’m sure you know the name of “dopamine,” and it’s the thing that… He’s the party animal, which is why he’s got this arrow through his head and his flippers on, and he’s got a little drink. So he’s what really, really helps us. It stimulates our brain and that’s what we are most missing, often, for ADHD, that dopamine hit, if you will. And, unfortunately, that dopamine hit comes from some unusual things, like cocaine, and addictions, and all that good stuff, which is why he’s got a drink in his hand. But we can also get it from things like going on a roller coaster. We can even do it from things like stress. When I get really, really excited and, oh my gosh, I’m hurry, hurry, hurry, then I can really get things done. So he’s the one who helps us get things done on deadline, if you will.

And then, over here, we have Sarah Tonin. Sarah, you may recognize that name, because she is part of the SSRI group, that’s “serotonin” reuptake inhibitors. And so, she’s part of that antidepressant, which means that she is the feel-good neurotransmitter.

When those neurotransmitters get together and they work in tandem, we’re fine. We can function just like a linear person can function. However, when they are lackadaisical, and they’re not really going in the right direction, and they’re not moving at the speed of light, which, of course, all of those hundred billion neurons are trying to do, move at the speed of light to get us to say things like, “A hundred billion neurons.” When they get lackadaisical, and they aren’t able to dock on the other side, or we have too few of them in action, sometimes they’re MIA, then we actually have those ADHD symptoms. Serotonin is now considered to be a little less of an issue for ADHD, although it certainly is important in depression. However, dopamine seems to be prime, front and center, and that’s why he’s in the center, as a matter of fact.

Norepinephrine and dopamine are two of the neurotransmitters that are very much stimulated with ADHD medications, such as stimulants. A stimulant will definitely hit Mr. “Dope” A. Mean here, but some of them also hit Nora Penne Effrin. Sometimes you’ll have a combination of those two; sometimes it’ll be more. Those are my friends, and I think you ought to stay in touch with them, because they’re sure staying in touch with you.

Jeff:  Linda, what I really like about this is how you put a name and face to these words as a means to really understand it. And I like the caricatures to represent what they’re doing. The reason for this show is twofold. Number one, to highlight Linda’s skills and to, also for those to remember, it’s so much easier if you can do it your way, put name and faces and things together. I also want to point this out there, because if you’re a parent and you want to explain what’s going on, this is perfect for your kids to put a name and a face with the neurotransmitters, get a little bit of the characters to understand a little bit what they do, and understand more what’s going on.

Linda:  Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, even though it’s the underneath part of ADHD, it’s the basics. It’s the foundation. So if we know the official words, it makes us look smarter, number one. But, number two, when we have a visual image, because I’m often a visual learner, as many folks with ADHD are, I have that, “Oh, yeah. It’s Nora. I know, my old friend Nora. Or, “Oh, there’s Dope. I know, that’s got to be Dope.” I know I want to go shopping a lot, so that’s got to mean I need a dopamine fix. So maybe I just need a little caffeine. I don’t know, perhaps, right now.

Jeff:  All this and more, again, in Linda’s book, Confessions of an ADDiva.

Linda:  Absolutely. Confessions of an ADDiva, midlife, in the nonlinear way, midlife.

Jeff:  That’s right. I got to tell you there’s a lot of really good personal stories in there that will have you laughing, and you’ll learn a lot. So with that, If you want to learn more about Linda, what’s the best website to go to?

Linda:  I think you need to go to the ADDiva website, but remember that’s only two Ds, A-D-D-I-V-A, and we’re dot net,, or you can go to

Jeff:  Linda, thank you very much for coming on the show.

Linda:  Thank you so much.

Jeff:  It’s been a pleasure, as always, right?

Linda:  It’s such a great time.

Jeff:  Nice, yeah. Take care everybody.


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