ADHD and...

ADHD and symptoms of other illness can be seen in the same person at the same time. Whether you talk about mental illness or brain function disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and autism, it is important to note that the person is not a bad person, but rather think of it as the persons engine needs a tune up.

We all have had the occasion when driving a car that the engine miss-fires, or simply does not start. What do you do? You take it to the engine doctor. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Much more complex than the most advanced computer, so when signals begin to be going in the wrong direction, and symptoms start appearing of ADHD and/or one of these other disorders, it is time to go to the doctor. Trained professionals, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and family doctors are trained to diagnose and prescribe a wide variety of treatments.

What if it is Both Adhd and...

Dual diagnosis can occur - that means that there are symptoms of more than just ADHD. Treatment can include medication, but the most important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis - even if there is more than ADHD going on. Treatments will also likely include therapy, and behavior modification. Often patients will need to re-learn to do a lot of things that have become habits which they have picked up trying to cope with their symptoms. Yes, there remains stigma associated with mental illness. Remember, having symptoms of ADHD or any other mental illness does not mean you are a bad person. But it is important that you begin to take care and seek treatment so that your real person can emerge and you become all you were designed to become.


ADHD and Depression are two vary common disorders of the brain, where circuits and communication within the brain is not normal. Both can be seen in children as well as throughout adulthood. Fortunately, these illnesses are better understood today than even 20 years ago and both can have vary good success rates of being diagnosed and treated successfully.

Diagnosing individuals with a "dual diagnosis" such as a person who has symptoms of both depression and ADHD can be complicated. Signs and symptoms such as restlessness can be seen in people who have either depression or adhd; feeling sad and overwhelmed can be feelings resulting from coping and trying to live with ADHD - but they are common symptoms of depression as well; feeling frustrated and having poor coping skills may be demonstrated or come out as anger in ADHD; It makes sense then that if you can control and improve the symptoms of ADHD that in some cases the symptoms that seem to point to depression may go away. A trained professional will seek to understand totally which symptoms seemed to occur first. Which symptoms seem to be the most severe. By taking a family history and a complete physical the patient with ADHD can work with their professional and begin to overcome these symptoms.

Symptoms of depression are often different between two persons who are depressed, between a child or an adult, and can be different between males and females. Following is a list of signs or symptoms of depression frequently seen in adults or children, but not commonly seen in patients who have ADHD. They include:

  • Change in appetite, weight loss/gain
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, boredom
  • Physical ailments: headaches, stomach trouble, pain
  • Melancholy - Sadness or gloomy state of mind - despair

Some people who have clinically diagnosed depression also have thoughts of suicide. If you or someone you know ever tells you they "don't think life is worth living anymore" or they have considered suicide, encourage them - even take them immediately to see a doctor or healthcare professional. Life - even with ADHD - should be full of hope even with a not despair. This degree of sadness can be related to depression and should not be minimized or overlooked.

Symptoms Seen More With ADHD Than Depression

  • Anxiety - Like the Fidgits
  • Disorganization
  • Lack of impulse control

Anxiety can be seen with depression but is often more like fear of the future. Anxiety of ADHD is more like a motor turned on - which results in lack of ability to prepare. Properly differentiating between these two illnesses can be done by a trained professional. and effective treatments, such as medication and counseling, allow individuals with ADHD plus depression to live productive, successful lives.

Autism and ADHD

The main sign or symptom of Autism is difficulty in communicating, which can be observed as inability to relate to others. Persons with autism also will show repetitive speech and repetitive behaviors. They often benefit by adhering to a very structured environment, routine and schedule.

Autism and ADHD also can have overlapping symptoms, making differentiating between the two a challenge. There are trained professionals who spend their whole day helping people with these illnesses cope, manage, change behavior and medication so that they can minimize the symptoms that are causing the problems. In both of these disorders, children can appear hyperactive, fidgety, and showing a real inability to listen to or follow directions and incessant talking.

Of particular note, recent research shows autism and ADHD may be linked genetically, in a similar area on chromosome 16. It is not absolutely confirmed, in other words there is still debate as to whether the presence of chromosomal anomalies directly causes these illnesses, or perhaps simply raises increases the likelihood these people may develop one of these mental disorders. This may mean that there will be a strong family history with more than one member of the family perhaps seen over generations showing some of these symptoms.

Bipolar and ADHD

Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD) also can be confused with ADHD, again making differentiating between the two difficult. BMD is rarely diagnosed in children; however, when BMD is seen in children at a young age and who's ADHD doesn't improve as they get older are more likely to have a BMD as an adult. Researchers believe dual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Adult ADHD account for up to 20% of adults with ADHD.

Symptoms common in both ADHD and BMD include impulsivity, inattention, easy to distract and restlessness; The following symptoms tend to be unique to BMD and not common in ADHD:

  • Mania alternating with depression
  • Unexplainable, sometimes rapid, mood shifts
  • Typical onset between 18 and 25 years of age

In addition, both disorders do have a genetic basis; however, within a family, it is more common to see cases of ADHD across family members than BMD.

ADHD and Learning Ability

Students with ADHD can be quite gifted. Although the common symptoms of ADHD often can cause them to appear to be a slow learner or even not caring whether they learn or not. Others actually may have a learning disability.

Gifted and ADHD: If you have a child who is gifted with ADHD this can result in unique challenges for students and teachers alike. Teachers out of necessity, may overlook advanced academic potential and focus on disruptive behaviors in the classroom. Students who are unable to sit still, forget their homework, or don't seem to be able to follow directions may have poor test scores, despite an above-average IQ or academic potential. Much can be done to help these children achieve their potential when the proper diagnosis and treatments are obtained.

Left untreated, gifted children with ADHD can have emotional and behavioral development at a level far below their age level or cognitive ability. This poses its own set of challenges for parents, teachers, counselors and administrators. Finding an ideal environment to encourage each child to reach their academic potential is a critical part of ADHD treatment.

Although ADHD is not a learning disorder, ADHD and learning disabilities are common; These common learning disabilities may include:

  • Dyslexia - a reading and comprehension difficulty
  • Dyscalculia - a difficulty processing math
  • Speech/Language Disorders

Once a learning disorder is identified, an academic team creates an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) outlining problem areas, learning strategies and attainable goals.


ADHD and depression, autism or BMD can co-exist. Symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, which can interfere with the ability of children or adults to reach their full potential. Many persons with ADHD can be quite gifted which means that parents and teachers alike should not be quick to place them in a low potential bucket. ADHD symptoms can also compound the struggles of those with learning disabilities. Alone or with another disorder, the symptoms of ADHD can present you with many obstacles; the key take away is this: with proper diagnosis, treatment and support, individuals can grow, develop, reach their potential to live productive, successful and happy lives.

More ADHD Articles:

ADHD And Anxiety - When someone is diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety issues, a more comprehensive approach to medication and behavioral modifications needs...

ADHD And Autism - Similarities exist in the common symptoms of both ADHD & autism, and there are studies being conducted exploring a possible link between the two. The most notable similarity is...

ADHD And Depression - ADHD & depression are often closely linked in both children and adults. In fact, approximately one quarter of all adults with ADHD also shows symptoms of depression and children...

Bipolar and ADHD - Bipolar and ADHD disorders are two biopsychological conditions becoming increasingly prevalent among children and adolescents. However, it can...

ADHD and the Gifted Child - Research regarding ADHD and the gifted child is suggesting that it can be very easy to confuse the child who simply has ADHD symptoms compared to identifying the child as actually being gifted...

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