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ADHD Comorbid Conditions And Complications

Posted Feb 18 2009 12:00pm

When it comes to understanding ADHD, one of the most commonly overlooked or unknown areas discussed is the laundry list of related conditions that tend to co-exist or co-occur.  In the medical field, they are referred to as “comorbid conditions,” but all it really means is that an individual can meet the criteria for more than one diagnosis.

According to Wikipedia, comorbid conditions refer to “the presence of more than one diagnosis occurring in an individual at the same time.”

In ADHD, it is very common for an individual to meet the criteria for both ADHD and one of the following conditions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder

Now, things get a little tricky (or complicated as I like to call it) because, these “co-existing” conditions can often mask one another as well as account for or even cause one condition to look like the other.

That’s why it is so important for people to see a specialist who understands the complexities of ADHD in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Now, if this isn’t already complicated enough, figuring out the right diagnosis can be even more difficult (especially in children) because the following list of conditions share many of the same symptoms as ADHD:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Non-Verbal Learning Disability
  • Giftedness
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Normal Child Development

The list goes on and on, but the truth of the matter is that the major symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are more common than people realize.  They are only indicators that something is going on…  They are indicators that someone needs support.

Bottom Line?

Honestly, this information really just scratches the surface to understanding ADHD, co-existing conditions, and the many complications that can mimic symptoms of ADHD.  We haven’t even addressed the fact that some of these conditions can cause someone (who does NOT have ADHD) to appear as if they do have ADHD.

Not to mention, these complications can also mask the fact that someone struggling with anxiety (per se) might actually have ADHD.

What You Can Do?

When trying to figure out what is really going on with your child or a loved one, focus more on the specific challenges or struggles that an individual faces at the moment.  What is getting in their way?  Or causing problems?

Once you start with that, the right professionals can help you get to the underlying cause or contributing factors.

Comments?  Questions?

I’d like you to join me for the next ADHD Family Teleseminar.  Each Sunday night get in-depth on topics just like this.  To sign up and get your questions answered, just visit

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