"Don't assume everything going on is the ADHD," says Ruth Hughes, PhD, former CEO of the nonprofit group Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. "This is rarely a disorder that travels alone.”
Tell your doctor about any symptoms that don't seem to fit with ADHD, she says.
If it turns out that your child has a second condition, you can begin to get it treated.
Either condition could cause ADHD-like symptoms, like poor concentration and restlessness. If you're not sure which came first, tell your doctor what you've noticed in your child to help him figure out what's going on.
The symptoms aren’t always clear. Depressed kids and teens often seem irritable rather than sad, says Ben Vitiello, MD, chief of the Child and Adolescent Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. "The kid is not patient, gets really upset, has no tolerance for frustration.”
This is one of the most common conditions linked to ADHD. Children who have it act stubborn, get angry often, throw tantrums, and don't do what parents and teachers tell them to do. The behavior may sometimes be a reaction to frustration.
"They may think, 'If everything I do is wrong, I don't care what you say,' or, 'If my schoolwork is always wrong, why even try?' It becomes much easier not to care what anyone says and do what you want. It also leads to a lot of anger," Hughes says.