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Journal of Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Science

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents with co-morbid anxiety and depression

Author(s): Kaizad P Shroff MD* and Jose A Sanchez-Lacay

Objective: This paper reviews the prevalence and effects of anxiety and depression as comorbid conditions in children and adolescents having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to understand their implication on social, behavioral and emotional functioning of such children.

Methods: A detailed search of published literature in English language and studies on humans was performed using electronic databases such as MEDLINE (via PubMed) and Google, from 2008 to 2018 using relevant search terms. A total of 10 original studies and systematic review articles were retrieved for potential inclusion.

Results: Children and adolescents having ADHD reported relatively higher prevalence rates and severe symptoms of comorbid anxiety and depression compared to controls. Self-reporting of more severe ADHD symptoms was seen in parents of children having ADHD than parents of children not having ADHD. ADHD with comorbid anxiety or depression in children and adolescents is associated with significant impairments in health, sleeping patterns, social life and academic functioning. Poorer social functioning among young adolescents with ADHD is mainly caused due to depression.

Conclusion: Early diagnosis, long-term monitoring, and proper treatment may help in reducing social anxiety and functional impairment in children and adolescent with comorbid anxiety and depression. The primary care clinician should recognize ADHD as a chronic condition and consider children and adolescents having ADHD as children and youth with special health care needs. These inherent, biological, and social factors accountable for the complex correlations could be extricated with the help of longitudinal studies.

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