A simple tool to help you differentiate between ADHD and the most common overlapping comorbidities in children
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The presence of complex attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with comorbidities predicts significantly greater negative outcomes throughout the life span versus simple ADHD. Early, appropriate, and ongoing treatment can help maximize patient outcomes.1-4
The American Academy of Pediatrics clinical guidelines therefore recommend assessing for the presence of comorbid conditions in all patients with ADHD5:
It is important that parents of children with ADHD understand these complexities in order to set appropriate expectations for their child’s treatment plan. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also provides clinical guidelines that can be viewed here. See here for suggestions on parent education regarding the associated complexities of ADHD, or visit our patient site at www.MoreToADHD.com.
“The high incidence of comorbidity of ADHD with other psychiatric disorders and the typically earlier onset of ADHD suggests that this syndrome is a primary or foundational disorder, underlying many other disorders.”7
- Thomas Brown, PhD
ADHD is a commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood, impacting ~9% of children aged 4 to 17 in the United States.8
Up to 75% of pediatric patients with ADHD have a comorbid psychiatric condition…
…and approximately 60% have multiple psychiatric comorbidities.1,2,4
Further, a study reported that almost all patients with ADHD who do not meet the full criteria for other psychiatric disorders still have clinically significant symptoms that impact their functioning at home, at school/work, or socially.9
References: 1. Banaschewski T, Becker K, Dopfner M, Holtmann M, Rosler M, Romanos M. attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017;114(9):149-159. 2. Hervas A, de Santos T, Quintero J, et al. Delphi consensus on attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): evaluation by a panel of experts. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2016;44(6):231-243. 3. Jensen CM, Steinhausen H-C. Comorbid mental disorders in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder in a large nationwide study. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2015;7(1):27-38. 4. Reale L, Bartoli B, Cartabia M, et al. Comorbidity prevalence and treatment outcome in children and adolescents with ADHD. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017;26(12):1443-1457. 5. Subcommittee on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Steering Committee on Quality Improvement Management, Wolraich M, et al. ADHD: clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2011;128(5):1007-1022. 6. Chang Z, D’Onofrio BM, Quinn PD, Lichtenstein P, Larsson H. Medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and risk for depression: a nationwide longitudinal cohort study. Biol Psychiatry. 2016;80(12):916-922. 7. Brown TE. Developmental complexities of attentional disorders. In: Brown TE, Ed. ADHD Comorbidities: Handbook for ADHD Complications in Children and Adults; Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing Inc; 2009:3-23. 8. Koolwijk I, Stein DS, Chan E, Powell C, Driscoll K, Barbaresi WJ. “Complex” attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, more norm than exception? Diagnoses and comorbidities ina developmental clinic. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2014;35:591–597. 9. Turgay A. A multidimensional approach to medication selection in treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD. Psychiatry. 2007;4(8):46-57.