Understanding ADHD | Adults with ADHD | Coexisting Disorders

Coexisting Disorders

Across the lifespan, individuals affected by ADHD are at an increased risk of experiencing additional cognitive, emotional, or behavioral disorders. Dealing with “ADHD Plus” presents real challenges to individuals and families.

Around two-thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other disorder along with, or "coexisting" with, ADHD. Disruptive behavior disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, tics and Tourette syndrome, and learning disabilities are among the most common conditions that co-occur in children with ADHD.

The lives of most adults with ADHD are complicated by overlapping symptoms of such conditions as anxiety, depression, or substance use.

Overlapping symptoms can make it difficult to get a correct diagnosis, which adds to the complexity of effective treatment. Accurate diagnosis by a skilled clinician is important, because treatment can only be as good as the diagnosis on which it is based. The clinician must discern whether a symptom belongs to ADHD, to another disorder, or to both simultaneously. Be sure to ask your clinician about the possibility of coexisting disorders.

HAVE QUESTIONS? We can help. Learn more about ADHD and related conditions at CHADD’s National Resource Center on ADHD. You may also contact us by phone (800-233-4050) or use our Online Form (select "Questions about ADHD") and a health information specialist will provide a personalized response.