The numbers vary, but the consensus seems to be that at least half of the time ADHD is not a sole diagnosis. Some sources say that 80 percent of the time someone diagnosed with ADHD will be diagnosed with another disorder; 50 percent of the time there are two additional diagnoses.
This is one reason why it takes more than an interview and a screening test to sort out all that could be going on for someone who has ADHD. Treatments will vary, depending on the combination of diagnoses present. If medication is chosen as part of the treatment plan, there may be a period of weeks or months needed to adjust the combinations of medication for optimum benefit.
These are some of the more common diagnoses that can travel hand-in-hand with ADHD:
- learning disabilities
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- eating disorders
- oppositional defiance disorder
- sensory disorders
- bipolar disorder
- sleep difficulties
There is a lot of information online for parents and adults that help put this in perspective:
- An “Educational Blog for Parents” called kars4kids has an article here.
- ADDitude magazine posted a chart listing common disorders linked to ADHD along with some resources for learning more here.
- Another ADDitude article answers common questions about comorbid conditions here.
- MedPageToday reports on a study from the National Institutes of Health which, among other things, links poverty to more challenging combinations of diagnoses here.
It is important to be aware of the fact that ADHD is often accompanied by something else so that individuals with ADHD can be supported and informed to the highest degree, thus allowing them to live full and rich lives. ADHD Fact #9 tomorrow will look at amazing strengths that often also accompany ADHD!
Linda Swanson is an ADHD Coach in Warrenton, Virginia. She and her husband, Neil, are partners at Free To Be Coaching, LLC, where they coach in person or by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. They coach students from middle school through college as well as adults of all ages, and they also facilitate two support groups for parents of children with ADHD. Linda and Neil are both graduates of the ADD Coach Academy and are credentialed by the International Coach Federation and the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches. Linda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 508-4774.