ADHD Awareness Requires Comorbidity Awareness: ADDitude on Anxiety, Depression, LDs, and Beyond
True, practical ADHD understanding comes only with the acknowledgement and study of ADHD’s comorbid conditions — the diagnoses that most often accompany attention deficit. This ADHD Awareness Month, ADDitude is promoting the concept of “Complex ADHD” with a cross-platform learning initiative called “ADHD Loves Company.”
September 30, 2022
ADHD loves company.
Of adults with ADHD, 72 percent have anxiety, and 70 percent report depression, according to a recent ADDitude survey of 1,500 readers. These are the two most common comorbid conditions diagnosed alongside ADHD. Also topping the list: sleep disorders, eating disorders, learning differences, and autism spectrum disorder, all of which also impact children with ADHD.
Overlapping and intermingling symptoms complicate diagnosis, treatment, and self-esteem for many individuals with ADHD, who may go years or even decades without a full and complete diagnosis. The ramifications of that can be severe.
“I have ADHD and comorbid conditions of anxiety, depression, and disordered eating,” wrote one ADDitude survey respondent. “The symptoms from each condition overlap and shift daily (or hourly). Sometimes I hyperfocus and forget to eat. Then I get anxious about not eating, which leads to my blood sugar decreasing. Then I feel depressed.”
“I didn’t know I had ADHD until my formal diagnosis six months ago,” wrote another ADDitude reader. “For 18 years, I’ve had severe depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Now I see how my brain works differently and how not being understood by my teachers, parents, and friends may have led to my other diagnoses.”
Because ADHD’s comorbid conditions are so often life-altering — especially when diagnosis and treatment is delayed or prevented — ADDitude is dedicating this ADHD Awareness Month to better understanding Complex ADHD. In its ‘ADHD Loves Company’ learning initiative this October, ADDitude will use its web site, social media accounts, and newsletters to increase awareness around the following comorbid conditions affecting individuals with ADHD:
- Anxiety (72% of adults with ADHD; 63% of children)
- Depression (70% of adults with ADHD; 38% of children)
- Learning disabilities (12% of adults with ADHD; 22% of children)
- Sleep disorders (18% of adults with ADHD; 8% of children)
- Sensory processing disorder (6% of adults with ADHD; 14% of children)
- Autism spectrum disorder (9% of adults with ADHD; 13% of children)
- OCD (10% of adults with ADHD; 8% of children)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (10% of children with ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder (6% of adults with ADHD; 3% of children)
- And other conditions like Tourette syndrome, PTSD, and body-focused repetitive disorder
ADDitude will publish facts and quotes about one comorbid condition each day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and make daily updates to its ADHD Awareness Month resource center at https://www.additudemag.com/tag/adhd-awareness/. There, readers can also find ADHD myths and facts, a downloadable calendar with ideas for celebrating ADHD Awareness Month, and registration details for ADDitude’s free webinar with Linda Roggli, PCC, titled “ADHD Is a Whole-Life, Whole-Body Experience.”
ADDitude is the world’s most trusted source of expert information about ADHD and related condition such as learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, and oppositional defiant disorder. For the last 25 years, ADDitude has served the ADHD community with a print magazine, web site, newsletters, free webinars, and other resources.