Anxiety disorders more often than not appear with ADHD

During a conference on attention spectrum disorders at the Scientific and Clinical Report Session, Michael Van Ameringen, Co-Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at McMaster University Medical Centre in Canada, reported his findings on the co-morbidity of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Anxiety.

Michael Van Ameringen investigated the occurrence of ADHD symptom in 264 patients who were referred to the Anxiety Disorders Clinic. The patients were asked to complete the Adult ADHD self-report scale. Additionally, they were assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the ADHD module of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI).

Through the examination, 37.5 percent of the patients referred to the clinic for symptoms of anxiety also met the assessment criteria for ‘lifetime ADHD’ there were slightly more female sufferers of both ADHD and anxiety than men 51.5 percent and 48.5 percent respectfully. It was explained that this co-morbidity statistics were higher in the anxiety clinic than in the general population, thus, it was concluded that co-morbidity of ADHD should be the ‘rule rather than the exception’.

In addition to anxiety being present among people with ADHD, there is a significant association with a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder
and most commonly social anxiety disorder .

Michael Van Ameringen argued that when ADHD
is present along with other psychiatric conditions, it is important to prioritise treatment to the condition that is most invasive to day to day activities.

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