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ADHD and posttraumatic stress disorder

  • Published:
Current Attention Disorders Reports

Abstract

Children and adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for exposure to psychological trauma but not for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ADHD and PTSD may co-occur in children and adults. This article summarizes evidence of the phenomenologic, diagnostic, and neurobiologic independence of these two disorders. Assessment of ADHD should include screening for psychological trauma history and PTSD. When comorbidity occurs, treatment of ADHD may also help to ameliorate PTSD. In addition, PTSD treatment may augment ADHD treatment by reducing anxiety and stress-reactivity (which can exacerbate ADHD) by contributing indirectly to inattention or impulsivity. Individualized treatment planning is necessary for each case of comorbid ADHD and PTSD until combined or sequential interventions are validated.

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Correspondence to Julian D. Ford.

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Ford, J.D., Connor, D.F. ADHD and posttraumatic stress disorder. Curr Atten Disord Rep 1, 60–66 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12618-009-0009-0

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