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ADHD rarely comes by itself. Studies estimate that upwards of 70% of adults who have ADHD have a secondary issue, sometimes more. The most common are Depression and Anxiety, perhaps the result of having undiagnosed ADHD. But there are numerous other disorders that overlap ADHD. Diagnosing is tricky, and teasing out what is going on can take time. And, yes, I know, we’re impatient. We want things NOW!
What are co-morbidities?
DR. MUGGLI: ADHD commonly occurs with depression, OCD. It could be a thyroid issue. You know, if you’ve ‑‑ it could be several different things. It could be a mood disorder.
Dr Kurtz: If your child has ADHD, if we make a good diagnosis, they have a 40 percent likelihood of also having ODD, a nasty kissing cousin of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. And that’s separate from the ADHD. Kids who break rules, they’re defiant, they say no more often than other kids. And that really complicates or flavours the issues.
Pat McKenna: Do Add’ers have a lot of learning disorders?
Dr Kurtz: They have a reasonable chance, an elevated chance, of having a learning disability. They have an elevated chance of also having a language disorder.
DR. MUGGLI: It’s very common, you know, if you are constantly feeling like you can’t get it done right or you’re not reaching your potential or if you could just only do it the way everyone else does, then you would feel, you know… And that affects your self‑esteem and your mood and everything else over the years, so, you know, then you have these people with ADHD and depression or low self‑esteem, you know, so.
DR. ADLER: When someone comes into my office, you know, the real world things that they often complain about are some of the consequences of ADHD. It may be some of their educational (inaudible) or some of their difficulties on the job. Sometimes it’s some of the (inaudible) conditions, the travel with ADHD, that they’re thinking about it. It may be that they’re presenting for depression that’s been chronic and it’s actually the ADHD that has been present. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a history of depression, but the ADHD is there.
And sometimes the depression has been treated and hasn’t responded until the ADHD is diagnosed. Sometimes it’s that they recently obtained a promotion, actually, and they have more to manage and their symptoms come forward. It’s not that they weren’t there, it’s that the increases (inaudible) increases. Sometimes it’s a family member has been diagnosed with the condition and they see the symptoms in themselves. Those are some the common presentations.
DR. MUGGLI: And one of the other things that we would do a lot of times is we do neuropsychological testing here too to really tease out is it really a problem with inattention or if they have some other mood component going on, we would also want them to get psychological testing to make sure that it’s not something else, or, you know, going on with them that’s causing the inability to focus and pay attention.
Dr Kurtz: Every ADHD kid is not like every other ADHD kid. In fact, one of the greatest things I ever heard is, you’ve seen one kid with ADHD, you’ve seen one kid with ADHD