Doctors often mistake ADHD symptoms in adults for mood disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other conditions with overlapping symptoms. For adults, hyperactivity can be turned inward.
If your child seems hyperactive--fidgety, impulsive, and inattentive--don't automatically assume that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Anxiety, depression, learning disorders, physical health, and many other conditions can cause symptoms that look like ADHD but aren't.
What can be mistaken for ADHD? ADHD symptoms may overlap with the signs of other conditions, leading to misdiagnosis. For example: Feeling distracted or having difficulty focusing can be a symptom of ADHD and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
ADHD is not overdiagnosed, but it may be often misdiagnosed. Sometimes people think ADHD is overdiagnosed because diagnoses have increased over time. It could be true that some diagnosed people do not really have ADHD. There are college students who fake ADHD to get medications that help them study faster.
With ADHD, a child or teen may have rapid or impulsive speech, physical restlessness, trouble focusing, irritability, and, sometimes, defiant or oppositional behavior.
Both anxiety and ADHD can cause people to tune out and get caught up in their emotions — just for different reasons. People with ADHD have trouble paying attention because they have trouble focusing. People with anxiety have trouble paying attention because they're distracted by worries and fears.
Overall, the study found that about 20 percent – or 900,000 – of the 4.5 million children currently identified as having ADHD likely have been misdiagnosed.
Bipolar is one of the most frequently misdiagnosed mental health issues. Somewhere between 1.4 and 6.4 percent of people worldwide are affected by bipolar disorder. However, it's hard to say which number is more accurate due to the frequency of wrongful diagnosis.
Untreated ADHD in adults can lead to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. This is because ADHD symptoms can lead to focus, concentration, and impulsivity problems. When these problems are not managed effectively, they can lead to feelings of frustration, irritability, and low self-esteem.
Although it is true that overdiagnosis means that some people without ADHD receive treatment, on the whole, people with ADHD are actually undertreated.
Sleep apnea is a common culprit that's often misdiagnosed as ADHD — and vice versa. Fortunately, researchers are devising simple tests to definitively diagnose and get kids the treatment they need.
“Nobody has perfect memory… but for [people with ADHD], it's extreme. They feel like they're lost all the time,” Almagor said. He believes this is why people don't take ADHD seriously. “I think that's why some people don't respect the severity of what [a person with ADHD] can experience,” he said.
Masking in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to the conscious or subconscious efforts of individuals to hide or suppress their symptoms in order to conform to social expectations or avoid negative judgments and stigmatization.
The symptoms associated with ADHD can be viewed as dimensional markers of a spectrum of related disorders that have as part of their characteristics impairments of attention and impulsivity. The spectrum also accommodates the wide array of comorbid psychiatric disorders associated with ADHD.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms of this disorder overlap with many other conditions, such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and even eating disorders.
Personality disorders are among the least understood mental health conditions.
To get diagnosed with ADHD, you'll need to be evaluated by a medical professional. An accurate and well-rounded ADHD diagnosis is a complex, multi-step process including a clinical interview, a medical history review, and the completion of normed rating scales by loved ones, educators, and/or colleagues.
It is also more difficult to diagnose ADHD once a child becomes a teen. There is no single test for ADHD. The process requires taking several steps and involves gathering information from multiple sources. You, your child, your child's school, and other caregivers should be involved in observing your child.
Someone with an anxiety disorder may have trouble concentrating in situations that make them feel worried or nervous. In contrast, someone with ADHD may experience difficulty concentrating even in situations where their mind is calm and quiet.
Certain attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications can help treat a person's co-occurring anxiety, while others, including Adderall, may worsen it. ADHD and anxiety disorders are different conditions with distinct symptoms and presentations.