Disorders that Sometimes Accompany ADHD
Teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often at high risk for other emotional, behavioral and learning issues. Because they tend to get bored more easily and seek out excitement without considering the consequences, some gravitate toward risky behaviors.
Some of the disorders that can co-occur with ADHD are:
- Learning Disabilities β Roughly 20 to 30 percent of people with ADHD also have a learning disability. Early on in childhood, kids may have trouble understanding certain sounds or words, while in school-age children, parents and teachers may begin to recognize specific arithmetic, spelling, writing or reading disabilities.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder β Teens with ADHD, particularly boys, are at increased risk of having oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). In fact, as many as one-third to one-half of teens with ADHD also display signs of ODD, which may include noncompliance, angry outbursts, belligerence and defiance.
- Anxiety and Depression β Anxiety and depression are more common in teens with ADHD than other adolescents. Constant worry may cause teens trouble staying focused at school and staying motivated to accomplish their goals. Treating ADHD symptoms can also reduce teensβ anxiety and depressive symptoms as their overall functioning improves.
- Tourette Syndrome β This neurological disorder, which is characterized by nervous tics and repetitive behaviors, affects a small proportion of people with ADHD. Both disorders must be treated simultaneously, typically with a combination of counseling and medication.
- Bipolar Disorder β Teens with bipolar disorder alternate between intense highs and crushing lows, displaying signs of moodiness, depression and irritability. These symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from ADHD, making an accurate assessment by a mental health professional essential.
- Conduct Disorder β Roughly 20 to 40 percent of children with ADHD may develop conduct disorder. Symptoms of conduct disorder may include stealing, lying, fighting, bullying, getting into legal trouble, or facing disciplinary actions at school. Substance abuse is also typical of teens with conduct disorder.