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Student Research Guide: ADHD Comorbidities: Home

by Aaron Dean

Introduction to the Topic

Thesis: Studies are finding a correlation between ADHD and higher rates of comorbidity, and without a proper understanding of this phenomenon, there is a great chance of misdiagnosis causing treatment to be less effective.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting about 5% of the population. It is best known for its symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity/impulsivity, lack of self-control and forgetfulness. Recently ADHD has become better understood due to advances in the field of psychology, but ADHD living comorbidly (in succession) with other mental illnesses is still not very well understood. Although anxiety and depression are common comorbid disorders with ADHD, there are many others. Such disorders include ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), learning disabilities and others. Comorbidities can be a major issue in diagnosing and treating disorders, as symptoms are often similar and can affect how well different treatments will work.

Some research questions these sources will answer:

-What are the most common comorbidities with ADHD?

-Why are comorbidities an issue?

-How can you tell when ADHD is comorbid?

-How do you treat comorbid ADHD vs regular ADHD?

And plenty of others along these lines!


Keywords for searching the topic



-Mental Health



Best Databases/Search Engines

Start Your Research Here

Anastopoulos, A. D., DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., Morrissey-Kane, E., Sommer, J. L., Rhoads, L. H., Murphy, K. R., Gormley, M. J., & Gudmundsdottir, B. G. (2018). Rates and Patterns of Comorbidity Among First-Year College Students With ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology47(2), 236–247.

I found this study very helpful as it gives a lot of information on comorbidities, even finding percentages with and without ADHD for comparison. It also talks about how gathering information on Comorbidities can be difficult, as definitions and requirements continue to change as the DSM editions continue to be released (currently the DSM-5 is most recent). I chose this source because they were specifically studying rates of comorbidities of students with ADHD, which gave a lot of information specific to my topic.

Mihan, R., Shahrivar, Z., Mahmoudi-Gharaei, J., Shakiba, A., & Hosseini, M. (2018). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults Using Methamphetamine: Does It Affect Comorbidity, Quality of Life, and Global Functioning? Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 13(2), 112–118.

I liked this study because it talks about the use of methamphetamine, a common ingredient in stimulant medications used to treat ADHD, and the possible adverse effects of using a highly addictive drug while those with ADHD are already prone to drug abuse. It also talks about how Comorbidities can affect the success of the medication, and how it impacts their symptoms. I felt this source was important to include, as I had a hard time finding peer reviewed scholarly articles within the past few years that discussed the impact of medication, especially on comorbidities.

Morsink, S., Sonuga-Barke, E., Van der Oord, S., Van Dessel, J., Lemiere, J., & Danckaerts, M. (2021). Task-related motivation and academic achievement in children and adolescents with ADHD. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 30(1), 131–141.

This study is about motivation for children with ADHD, and how it affects them in academic achievement. The article gives multiple ways that children with ADHD and other Behavior disorders can be more successful, as well as how motivation for children with ADHD is different than children without. This source was great for gathering information on solutions, rather than just focusing on the negative aspects of comorbid ADHD.

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