AD/HD Co-Morbidity: What’s
Under the Tip of the Iceberg?
Carol E. Watkins, M.D.
children and adults with AD/HD also experience other difficulties. It seems that
having AD/HD makes it more likely that an individual will also have other
difficulties. If a child meets criteria for AD/HD, it may not be enough to
prescribe a stimulant get a few checklists and do follow up twice a year.
has been increasing awareness that many adults and children with AD/HD may also
meet criteria for one or more other psychiatric diagnoses. (Comorbidity means
having two or more diagnosable conditions at the same time) There is some
evidence that the incidence of comorbidity is somewhat higher in adults than in
children. However, many of the studies looking at the issue of comorbidity are
difficult to compare. Studies used different criteria for AD/HD and bipolar
disorder, and sometimes got their subjects from different populations. For
example, one might expect to see more complex types of AD/HD in specialized
hospital clinics than one would see in a door-to-door survey or in a primary
care physician’s office. Despite the differing criteria across studies, and
the lack of large general population studies of adult AD/HD, there still
convincing data that several other psychiatric diagnoses are common among
children and adults with AD/HD.