The Other ADHD

It looks like inattentive ADHD, but it isn't. It's called Concentration Deficit Disorder (CDD), and here's what you should know about it.

The Other ADHD, Part II

How Does CDD Affect Friendships? Individuals with CDD are more likely to be ignored by their peers. Those with ADHD, on the other hand, are often rejected by their peers because of their intrusiveness, bossiness, or excessive chatter. Peers might ignore those with CDD because they often have problems understanding subtle social cues — facial expressions or verbal intonation patterns — are slower to respond, or don't respond, to conversation, and tend to withdraw from social interaction. So peers may think they are not fun to be with.

How Does CDD Affect A Child's Performance In School? Children and adolescents with CDD do not appear to have as many academic challenges as do youngsters with ADHD. Nor do they seem to have as much difficulty with executive functions compared to youngsters with attention deficit, no matter whether cognitive abilities are measured with tests or questionnaires.

What Can You Do About CDD? Children suspected of having CDD are not clinically diagnosable at this point. This is because CDD symptoms are not currently recognized as either a distinct disorder or as a subtype of ADHD (or of another disorder) in the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). This means that few clinicians, teachers, or other professionals know anything about CDD symptoms. There is no advocacy group for CDD to promote public awareness.

How Does CDD Affect Adults? Studies of adults have shown that symptoms of CDD affect their physical abilities and their quality of life. Adults with CDD symptoms report that their symptoms interfere with their physical health — the ability to get around or to have enough energy for everyday life. By contrast, this does not occur in those with ADHD.

Both CDD and ADHD symptoms are related to poor psychological quality of life — affecting a person's ability to concentrate and to perceive himself accurately. Thus, symptoms of CDD are not benign. They interfere with one's quality of life, at least in adults.

What Do We Know and What Do We Not Know About CDD? It is unclear whether CDD symptoms constitute a distinct disorder, a subtype of ADHD, or some other mental health disorder, in part because there have been so few studies done on it. Here is a rundown of what researchers know and don't know: > We do know that CDD symptoms are found in children, adolescents, and adults, but researchers have not followed their subjects over months or years. > We don't know whether CDD persists for several years or more. > We don't know the natural course of the symptoms, if left untreated. We don't know whether the symptoms disappear, remain constant, or increase, or whether they respond to ADHD medication. > We don't know which aspects of cognitive function are impaired; in other words, we don't know for sure that cognitive tempo is slow or sluggish. > We don't know which treatments or management strategies are effective for CDD. > Virtually nothing is known about the causes of CDD. Preliminary evidence suggests that CDD symptoms might be heritable, but more research is needed to confirm this finding.

What Are The Takeaways About CDD? There is growing support for the notion that CDD may be a clinical condition that is related to, but distinct from, ADHD, as well as from the symptom dimensions of ADHD (inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity). Evidence to date indicates that symptoms of CDD can impair a person's life, but more systematic research is needed to investigate CDD symptoms apart from ADHD.

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