AD/HD With Other Disorders
Learn about disorders that often co-exist with AD/HD - and what to expect as your child is being evaluated.
By Kristin Stanberry
If your child has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), some attention and behavior problems occur at home as well as at school. Even in the best circumstances, managing AD/HD can be an overwhelming - and exhausting - task for you and your child. And for many kids who have AD/HD, their struggle is complicated by a having a secondary psychiatric disorder or a learning disability.
More than AD/HD
When a child has another psychiatric problem in addition to AD/HD, his behavior and moods can be especially difficult to manage. If you're a parent, the thought of your child having more than one disorder can be frightening. If you're in this situation, be aware you have plenty of company. An estimated 40% to 60% of kids who have AD/HD also have at least one other psychiatric disorder. But be assured that help is available for you and your child. Professionals who are trained in childhood disorders can help you determine whether your child has a problem in addition to AD/HD.
Psychiatric Conditions that May Co-exist
The following conditions often affect kids who have AD/HD. The symptoms listed are intended only as a guide; diagnosis requires professional assessment.
A child or adolescent who is depressed may:
- Seem sad or irritable most of the time.
- Lose interest and pleasure in many activities he used to enjoy.
- Over-eat or lose his appetite.
- Feel inappropriate guilt.
- Have trouble thinking, concentrating, and making decisions.
- Feel worthless or hopeless.
A child who suffers from generalized anxiety may:
- Feel anxious and worried most of the time.
- Act nervous in certain settings - in crowds of people, at school, or when expected to perform - and try to avoid such situations.
- Fear being separated from her home or from parents and other adults she's attached to.
A child who suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a specific type of anxiety disorder, may:
- Have obsessions, which are recurrent, persistent, and involuntary thoughts or impulses that appear to have no purpose. Common obsessions include fear of dirt or contamination; constant thoughts about certain sounds, images, words, or numbers; and fear of harming a family member or friend.
- Have compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors he is driven to perform regularly, even if they seem irrational. These behaviors stem from the obsessions described above and commonly include: excessive hand-washing and touching certain objects a certain number of times.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
A child who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder often may:
- Behave in a manner that is negative, hostile, and defiant.
- Seem angry and resentful.
- Lose his temper.
- Argue with adults and refuse to comply with adults' requests and rules.
- Annoy people on purpose.
- Blame other people for his mistakes and misbehavior.