Text Box:     Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder affects individuals in a variety of ways.  Some may have more difficulties with hyperactivity while others primarily have difficulty focusing.   This is further complicated by coexisting conditions.  Along with AD/HD children and adults may experience anxiety, conduct disorder, depression, tics or Tourette’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, developmental disorders, and learning disabilities.  The number of coexisting conditions often complicates the treatment of AD/HD, when considering both medication and therapy.   For example stimulant medication may help with focus, but increase children’s anxiety.  In therapy it is also important to address the concerns of the individual with ADHD and progress strategically.  In some situations a child with AD/HD may be struggling with social anxiety in the classroom as well as the AD/HD.  Priorities for the parent may include focus and completing homework; however, addressing the child’s anxiety first will then allow the child to focus more effectively and enable them to utilize strategies to help with focus and attention.   Treatment must address the range of needs of the individual, but also be in line with their priorities.  
Conditions such as anxiety or depression may be secondary symptoms as a result of the struggles related to ADHD.  This may develop as a result of the frustrations and disappointment related to the discrepancy between their effort and achievements.  Working with your counselor or doctor can help to determine how these difficulties can be addressed.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very effective in treating anxiety, mood disorders and developing coping skills for AD/HD.  Adults with AD/HD may experience depression or anxiety as a result of their struggles with AD/HD.  Women are likely to be diagnosed first with depression without recognition to the AD/HD that may be contributing.  
Additional complications in treating AD/HD come when symptoms of other disorders appear very similar those of AD/HD.  This may occur with individuals who were diagnosed as a child with ADHD due to their increased activity level, difficulties concentrating, and poor performance in situations that require more intense focus. Once reaching adolescence or adulthood other symptoms or a clearer presentation of their symptoms may lead to a change in diagnosis.  This may include Bipolar Disorder, learning disorders, anxiety depression, Post Traumatic Stress disorder or head injuries.  The success of the treatment process is linked to the diagnostic process that involves separating these contributing factors and determining if there are coexisting disorders and what interventions are likely to be the most effective. In treatment family history and personal history are the key elements that assist in making an accurate diagnosis.  
Text Box: ADHD and Coexisting Conditions

March    2010

Issue 16

Carolina Center for Counseling

& Behavioral Interventions, LLC

Contact Information

304 A North East Main Street

  Simpsonville, SC 29681    


Phone: 864 - 963 - 4028

Fax: 877-201-4878


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