Similar Conditions to ADHD

ADHD: Similar Disorders

In some cases, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder also have other conditions. These conditions may have symptoms that appear alongside with ADHD, complicating diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the conditions that may coincide or be confused with ADHD include:

  • Anxiety and depression: While anxiety and depression may coincide with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, treatment for ADHD may lessen their symptoms.
  • Bipolar disorder: This condition is characterized by extreme mood swings between mania and depression and back again.
  • Conduct disorder: Children and teens with conduct disorders show a tendency to lie, steal, fight or bully. They may also engage in criminal behavior such as breaking into other people’s homes, destroying their property, or even keeping and using weapons. These kids have also been shown to have an elevated risk of using drugs and alcohol.
  • Learning disabilities: In younger children, signs of a learning disability may include difficulty deciphering sounds or words or trouble using words to express thoughts and emotions. In older children, learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, may cause children to encounter difficulty with reading, spelling, writing and mathematics.
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): This condition is characterized by stubbornness, rebelliousness, argumentativeness or a refusal to follow established rules.
  • Tourette syndrome: Symptoms of this rare disorder may include repetitive tics and mannerisms, like eye blinks, twitches, grimaces, or frequent throat clearing, snorting or sniffing. Some people with Tourette syndrome blurt out inappropriate words – or words at inappropriate times. Medication can help control these signs and symptoms.

Other conditions that may coexist with ADHD:

  • Bedwetting
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Substance abuse

ADHD-like behavior may also be caused by a sudden life change, such as a divorce, a move or a death in the family, undetected seizures, thyroid problems, lead poisoning, sleep issues, anxiety, or depression.

Proper, early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD can help control symptoms and help with long-term improvement. If you think your child may have ADHD or any of these disorders and conditions, consult with your child’s physician promptly.

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