Children, teens, and even adults with ADHD commonly develop one or more overlapping conditions, including anxiety and depression, sleep and personality disorders, other learning disabilities, and substance abuse issues. Unfortunately, the stress of coping with these additional disorders puts added pressure on a person's school, social, and family lives, and poses a big risk to overall quality of life.
It's not clear whether ADHD itself actually triggers the development of these related conditions or whether they develop on their own because of other causes, including neurobiological or environmental ones. Even more confusing, the symptoms of many of these related conditions can very closely mimic the symptoms of ADHD, so it's not entirely uncommon for ADHD to be present but misdiagnosed as something else, or vice versa.
Because it can be tricky to sort out one condition from another, it's vitally important to consult with a mental health professional specifically trained to diagnose ADHD if you suspect your son or daughter with ADHD may be suffering from a co-related condition. Even though differentiating ADHD from other conditions is less than an exact science, the right mental health specialist will have the most accurate tools for doing so, including the ADHD diagnostic gold-standard: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Bottom line, although researchers are still trying to determine what medications, behavioral therapies, and practical interventions are most effective for treating both ADHD and its related conditions, it's wise to explore all your options for doing so. Treating one condition but not the other may not improve all symptoms and may simply lead to a return of the related condition.
That certainly does not mean that you should automatically change your teen's current ADHD medication regimen, if it has been working. In fact, some studies suggest that use of commonly prescribed stimulant medications in children with ADHD, may help keep related conditions from appearing down the road.
So if you suspect you or your son or daughter may have another disorder in addition to ADHD, talk with your doctor or psychiatrist. Some of the most common ADHD-related conditions and their symptoms include:
How are you handling your -- or your child's -- ADHD symptoms? Take this quick self-assessment to find out.
Whether you refer to it as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)it's the same disorder. Impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating are symptomsand children and adults ...can have them. Can't sit still, can't finish projects, always forgetfulthese are also part of the pattern. With medications and therapy, it's possible to control these impulses and live a more normal, productive life. More