Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a very common neurological condition among children, with an estimated 8%-10% of all school age children affected. The disorder is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and/or inattention, three symptoms that make it challenging for children to control their behavior and perform optimally in school. Children coping with the effects of ADHD face a daily personal challenge, and as if struggling with the effects of ADHD were not enough, many of them also suffer from additional conditions that are often linked with ADHD in children. These conditions, which can range from learning disabilities to bipolar disorder, must be treated in conjunction with ADHD, usually involving some type of medication and the services of a qualified mental health professional. To give you a better idea with regard to some of the conditions that are often linked with ADHD, in this article we will outline 5 such conditions, and provide a brief explanation about the effects of each.
5 Problems Linked with ADHD in Children
Among the many problems that are often linked with ADHD in children are:
Learning disabilities are very common in ADHD children, with approximately 30% of all ADHD children affected. These learning disabilities can range from reading and auditory delays to arithmetic disorders to dyslexia, a condition in which certain letters are transposed in the eyes of the affected children. When coupled with problematic ADHD symptoms, learning disabilities in children can make it even more difficult for these children to find success in the classroom. Teachers and other professionals who are trained in making learning accommodations for children with learning disabilities are often the child’s and his/her parents’ best reference and treatment option.
Conduct disorder, which is officially defined as “a pattern of behavior in which the rights of others or social norms are violated,” affects up to 40% of all children with ADHD. The disorder is characterized by serious antisocial behavior, which may manifest as over-aggressive or physically aggressive behavior, bullying, cruelty towards people and animals, property destruction, vandalism, truancy, lying and stealing. As you can imagine, this disorder often results in constant disciplinary measures at home and at school, making it even harder for the ADHD child to find academic success in the classroom. If this disorder is not controlled, usually with the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist, it may cause many problems for ADHD children down the road, including school suspensions, expulsions and even jail time.
While there are no official statistics on the number of ADHD children that suffer simultaneously with bipolar disorder, experts suggest the number could be as high as 5%-9% of all children. Bipolar disorder is characterized by wide mood changes, ranging from debilitating depression on one end of the spectrum, to absolute mania on the other. Fortunately, once diagnosed, bipolar disorder is usually well-controlled with psychiatric medication.
Anxiety and Depression.
Because of the way ADHD symptoms affect children, many of them will develop mood disorders such as anxiety and/or depression. In these cases, medication is often needed to control these symptoms, and once those symptoms are controlled, studies show it can also help children to cope more effectively with their ADHD symptoms.
In rare cases, children dealing with ADHD will also cope with an inherited neurological disorder called Tourette Syndrome. This disorder is characterized by motor and vocal tics, and repetitive mannerisms such as eye blinking or grimacing. Needless to say, without proper treatment Tourette Syndrome can be a major obstacle for academic and social success in ADHD children.
Most of the conditions listed above can be well-treated with medication and therapy, as can the symptoms associated with ADHD. Parents of ADHD should look for some of the classic symptoms of these conditions, and inform their child’s doctor immediately should any of these symptoms begin to interfere with their child’s ability to function normally.