Is your child’s treatment plan really managing all of his or her symptoms—or is there more to your child’s ADHD?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends that doctors who treat ADHD assess for the presence of other conditions that may occur at the same time—such as behavioral/emotional issues and developmental conditions. Identifying other conditions can assist your doctor in developing the most appropriate treatment plan for your child.
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Did you know that approximately 75% of children and adolescents with ADHD have another psychiatric condition—and approximately 60% have multiple psychiatric conditions?
Some moodiness is common as children develop—especially in the teen years.
Research shows that up to 50% of children with ADHD have an anxiety disorder. In addition, children with anxiety may have more severe ADHD symptoms.
Even for kids, a certain level of anxiety in everyday life is normal. However, children with anxiety disorder may express:
Up to 50% of children with ADHD also suffer from depression. You may think depression is mostly sadness, but it may be more than that. Depression may also look different in kids and teens than in adults. Be aware if you notice that your child is:
Nearly one-quarter (22%) of children with ADHD are also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As mentioned, some moodiness is common as children develop—particularly during adolescence. However, children with bipolar disorder have more apparent symptoms.
Difficulty managing thoughts and emotions in ADHD is associated with risk for developing OCD. Children with this disorder may have:
Approximately 40% of children with ADHD also have ODD. Children with ADHD may deal with their emotional pain by “externalizing”— blaming others for their problems and taking no personal responsibility.
ADHD may overlap ODD with behaviors marked by:
When ODD becomes more serious or ingrained as a child ages, it results in conduct disorder (CD). This may lead to more troubling behavior patterns such as:
Anxiety and other factors associated with ADHD may also lead to issues controlling motor behavior.
Tics (involuntary movements) and tic disorders, like Tourette syndrome are common, occurring in up to 30% of kids with ADHD.
While ADHD is typically thought of as a behavioral disorder, it’s important to recognize that it is a developmental disorder as well.
Research shows that kids with ADHD develop 2 to 3 years more slowly than their peers.
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This includes the ability to think, learn, and solve problems. Children with ADHD often have issues with:
This includes understanding what is said (receptive language), as well as using words to express thoughts or emotions (expressive language).
These skills allow children to relate to others and express and regulate emotions. Lack of emotional regulation is frequently seen and defined by symptoms such as reduced tolerance for frustration , irritability, aggression, and marked mood swings.
It’s important to understand what fine and gross motor skills are, and how these skills may develop differently in kids with ADHD. Fine motor skills are related to smaller muscle groups (eg, picking up objects, drawing, and writing). Gross motor skills are skills related to larger muscle groups (eg, running, jumping, and climbing).
Developmental issues that go hand-in-hand with ADHD may be a source of significant worry for parents. However, it’s important to remember that the long-term developmental outcome for children with ADHD varies—and often depends on what help or interventions they receive. As always, you should talk with your child’s doctor to decide on the best support and treatment for your child. You can also see links to some helpful resources here.