Conditions Similar to ADHD

Several conditions may be confused with, or appear along with, ADHD. Those suspected of having ADHD should have a complete evaluation, including a physical examination, to help determine exactly what is contributing to the problematic behaviors.

Among the possible causes of ADHD-like behavior are:

It is also quite common for other medical conditions to occur along with ADHD. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 75% of adults with ADHD have another condition that complicates the diagnosis and management of the ADHD. For example, some studies have shown:

For children with ADHD, academic difficulties are common. Other problems among children include:

  • Learning disabilities; data from the 1997-98 National Health Interview Survey suggests roughly half of children ages 6-11 may also have a learning disorder.
  • Conduct and oppositional defiant disorder which manifest as disruptive or even criminal behavior
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Relationship problems with peers; estimates are as high as 21% of the number of children with ADHD (versus 2% of children without ADHD) whose behavior interferes with friendships. This may result in depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems, and delinquency as teenagers.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on June 29, 2020


SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control. Strine TW., Prev Chronic Dis, April 2006. Epub, March 15, 2006.

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.