How does ADHD affect Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

ADHD and Conduct Disorder (CD)

Conduct disorder is a behavioural condition experienced during childhood and adolescence that is marked by chronic and long term behaviour problems, including defiant or impulsive behaviour, substance abuse and often criminal activity.

Conduct Disorder sometimes co-exists with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has been references as a potential factor for the gender difference in ADHD diagnosis.


It is often the case that children diagnosed with ADHD will suffer from self-esteem issues. Self esteem has been found to be heavily dependent on an individual’s success in formal education and social relationships, two areas of life that can be negatively impacted by ADHD. Additionally, due to the fact that there are other elements of the behavioural disorder that are more prominent and easy to recognise self-esteem issues often go unnoticed. If a child is suffering from low self esteem it is not difficult to incorporate some esteem-boosting practices into treatment programs.

Depression and Anxiety

The risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety is increased with a diagnosis of ADHD. It is often the case that if left untreated, unnoticed or misdiagnosed; men, women and children alike become depressed and anxious due to not understanding or recognising their symptoms. In some cases, they are unable to conduct ‘normal’ social interaction or cope with a job or formal education.

Family Problems

ADHD can have a debilitating effect on day to day activities and functioning with many of the symptoms of the disorder having an extremely disrupting effect on family life. If ADHD is left undiagnosed, it can cause substantial levels of stress and anxiety not only for the sufferer but also other family members too.

Learning Disabilities

The general intelligence of a child or adult diagnosed with ADHD is reported to be normal and in some cases advanced. However, more than half of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are affected by specific learning problems such as dyslexia. ADHD isn’t classified as a learning difficulty on its own, however, the fundamental elements of the condition including problems maintaining concentration and focus can have a negative effect on education and performance. Additionally, children may also experience difficulties communicating effectively due to problems with speech, language, expression and coordination.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and ADHD

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a behavioural disorder marked by arguing, stubbornness, intentional defying and aggressive outbursts. It is reported that approximately 35 percent of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also match the criteria for a diagnosis of ODD as well.

Risky behaviour

Although hyperactivity symptoms tend to diminish during puberty, it is thought that approximately 60 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to show some symptoms through their adult life. It is ADHD that is thought to influence the riskiness of life decisions made by adults including promiscuity, drug and substance use and binge drinking. Additionally, impulsive behaviour caused by the disorder can encourage poor money management that can cause long term debt and financial difficulty.

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