Overlapping Symptoms of ADHD and Other Psychiatric Disorders

Overlapping Symptoms of ADHD and other psychiatric disorders
created on: 10/31/11

Patients with ADHD frequently have co-occurring psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, drug or alcohol abuse, autism spectrum disorders, sleep disorders, learning disabilities, and antisocial, oppositional defiant, conduct, and/or personality disorders. Many of these disorders share symptomatology with ADHD.

As the table shows, each cardinal symptom of ADHD corresponds with at least one other psychiatric condition. Specifically, symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, moodiness, sleep problems, and excessive talking also correspond with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

This symptom overlap underscores the necessity of completing a differential diagnosis for all patients. Making an accurate diagnosis is difficult, and misdiagnoses are all too common.

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Searight HR, Burke JM, Rottnek F. Adult ADHD: evaluation and treatment in family medicine. Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(9):2077–2086.

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