ADHD is sometimes complicated by the existence of other mental disorders. As a stand-alone disorder, ADHD can be hard enough on a child and his or her family. The presence of additional disorders can really multiply the hardships of a family already having to deal with ADHD. Disorders that co-exist with ADHD can be less severe or more severe than the ADHD itself. Sometimes people already diagnosed with another disorder find out that they also have ADHD.
Technically a person could have any condition along with ADHD because ADHD doesn’t exclude a person from getting any other type of disorder. This article will focus on most of those disorders that are the most commonly found to co-exist with ADHD.
Studies suggest that between 10% to 30% of children with ADHD, and 47% of adults with ADHD, also suffer from depression. Usually ADHD occurs first and depression occurs later. With depression, the patient may feel constantly left-out, or feel as though everything bad happens to him or her. The person might lose interest in things that he or she used to enjoy being engaged in. The individual’s self-esteem is usually heavily affected. The symptoms of ADHD can cause a child to behave in a way that annoys other children. When other children become annoyed they tend to avoid the child that creates the annoyance. Over time this can lead to a feeling of isolation for the child that pushes other children away. Since pushing other children away is a common result of ADHD symptoms, children with ADHD tend to make themselves isolated. This isolation can lead to depression. The occurrence of depression is found in conjunction with ADHD too often for it to be considered as “just a coincidence.”
Bipolar Disorder or Mania
Up to 20% of individuals with ADHD may also develop Bipolar Disorder. This condition involves periods of abnormally elevated moods contrasted by episodes of clinical depression. Adults with this disorder may experience extreme happiness for long periods of time, and even believe they have special powers or receive messages from God. In younger people it may show up differently. Children may have mood swings out of nowhere, and become wildly aggressive for no reason. ADHD is much more common than mania, and while many children with it may first exhibit ADHD symptoms, very few children with ADHD will go on to develop mania. The combination of ADHD and mania often make it extremely difficult to function normally. The overlap of mania and ADHD is being studied carefully because this can be devastating to an affected individual’s life.
Up to 30% of children and 25% to 40% of adults with ADHD will have an anxiety disorder in addition to ADHD. Anxiety disorders are sometimes hard to detect and research has shown that half of the children who describe prominent anxiety symptoms are not described by their parents as restless. In other words, parents persistently fail to pick up on anxiety as a major part of their child’s problem. As with depression, the child’s inner feelings may not be very noticeable to parents or teachers. Patients with anxiety disorders worry about almost everything and seem to be perpetually “stressed out.” Individuals who suffer from anxiety can also experience a difficulty in getting good sleep. Some patients have severe anxiety or panic attacks which cause dizziness and an accelerated heart-rate. People having panic attacks can have difficulty breathing and may even feel as if their own death is imminent. These episodes may occur for no reason and without warning. Students with ADHD and anxiety report more school, family, and social problems than students who only have ADHD without anxiety.
Tourette’s Syndrome and Tics
About 7% of those with ADHD have Tourette’s syndrome, but 60% of those with Tourette’s syndrome have ADHD. A patient who suffers from tics displays a ticking or spastic movement that he or she can not control. A patient who has Tourettes’s may abruptly shout out words uncontrollably. Sometimes those words can be offensive and/or vulgar. While Tic’s and Tourette’s are one of the least common co-existent conditions with ADHD, they are among the most severe. These two conditions can make a social life very difficult as it may make peers uncomfortable or even afraid.
If you suspect that you or your child may suffer from another disorder in addition to ADHD then you should either research the possibility for yourself or seek professional guidance on the matter. While these are some of the most common co-existing conditions with ADHD there are many others that are less likely to occur. The more you know about the problem, the better chance you have at treating it. Feel free to browse this website for more information regarding these disorders.