What are ADHD and PTSD?
It’s not uncommon for mental health professionals to misread symptoms — to mistake signs of hysteria or mood disorder for ADHD, or conversely to misdiagnose a learning disorder or autism spectrum disorder as ADHD. We call these ‘differential diagnoses.’ To complicate matters, ADHD can also co-exist with nearly any disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can also be the foremost difficult co-occurring or medical diagnosis for clinicians to acknowledge and treat alongside ADHD. Experienced professionals struggle to decipher the differences and overlapping similarities between the two conditions. Misconceptions about both amplify this confusion. Therapists and prescribers often get trapped in their theories and don’t look beyond what they think is clear.
What is its comorbidity?
The existence of ADHD and PTSD comorbidity cognitive symptoms is usually related to higher PTSD and unsatisfactory treatment results. While treatments for the avoidance and re-developing of symptoms associated with PTSD are readily available, substantial gaps can exist within the treatment of the cognitive deficits often related to PTSD. Primary outcome measures are going to be ADHD cognitive symptom reduction and quality of life improvement.
The result of the proposed research is going to be significant because it provides a knowledge domain to assist in determining who is in danger of developing treatment resistance among PTSD patients, thereby allowing the development of early intervention strategies. More importantly, this clinical test may immediately benefit Veterans by enhancing their cognitive function, reducing ADHD symptoms related to disability, and further improving the quality of life for veterans who have comorbid ADHD/PTSD.
ADHD and PTSD in adults
Overall the group with ADHD (whether that they had PTSD or not) had significantly lower scores on the scale of neuropsychological tests than the non-ADHD controls. However, the group with PTSD & ADHD had lower neuropsychological test scores on a variety of measures versus the group with ADHD alone (WAIS full-scale IQ and block design, ROCF copy accuracy and replica time and Stroop Colour T-score).
Measures of quality of life weren’t shown to be predictors of PTSD status. Additionally, during this study, the group with ADHD had lower socioeconomic status and were more likely to be of non-Caucasian ethnicity.
Interpretation of the findings of this trial is somewhat limited by the tiny cohort of ADHD and PTSD patients. Never the less, this study is vital because it is that the first investigation to look at neuropsychological deficits in individuals with ADHD and PTSD; it also adds to our increasing understanding of the increased burden of getting ADHD and PTSD in adults. Prior studies have shown that PTSD could also be a vulnerability factor for developing future ADHD.
Effects of combined ADHD and PTSD
June is PTSD Awareness Month. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in children and teens following one traumatic event, like being during a car accident or witnessing a criminal offense, or stem from a series of traumatic events, like experiencing maltreatment, threatening situations, or bullying. About 25 percent of youngsters will experience some trauma before the age of 16.
The symptoms of ADHD might increase the probability that a toddler experiences trauma, including accidents and mistreatment by adults liable for the child’s care. PTSD can make existing ADHD symptoms worse. For a few children, the symptoms of PTSD can look almost like ADHD symptoms, which makes it harder to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
PTSD can include subsequent symptoms for children:
Reliving the event over and over in thought or live
Nightmares and sleep problems
Continually trying to find possible threats, being easily startled
Acting helpless, withdrawn, or hopeless
Denying that the happening of an event or feeling numb
Avoiding people or places related to the event
Talk to a health care professional about finding treatment that addresses both the ADHD and PTSD together. You’ll need a referral to a specialist who can work together with you or your loved ones about the traumatic events and introduce behavior modification techniques to assist them in addressing symptoms of both disorders. Medication is often helpful for a few children, but your health care provider will get to check out treatments that employment together to reduce the symptoms of both the ADHD and PTSD.
Image Credits: Getty Images