Adults have lived longer than children, and thus have had more time to develop other psychiatric disorders.
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Although a given adult may not meet DSM-IV criteria for full AD/HD any longer, he or she may still experience impairment in certain aspects of life.
The individual’s perception of his or her degree of impairment can vary.
Depending on occupation or domestic situation, the adult may need to deal with higher-level issues that involve executive function.
There has been increasing awareness that many adults and children with AD/HD may also meet criteria for one or more other psychiatric diagnoses.
(Comorbidity means having two or more diagnosable conditions at the same time) There is some evidence that the incidence of comorbidity is somewhat higher in adults than in children.
However, many of the studies looking at the issue of comorbidity are difficult to compare.
Studies used different criteria for AD/HD and bipolar disorder, and sometimes got their subjects from different populations.
For example, one might expect to see more complex types of AD/HD in specialized hospital clinics than one would see in a door-to-door survey or in a primary care physician’s office.
Despite the differing criteria across studies, and the lack of large general population studies of adult AD/HD, there still convincing data that several other psychiatric diagnoses are common among adults with AD/HD.
: (Abuse of or addiction to alcohol or drugs) Adult attention deficit disorder seems to be related to earlier onset of substance abuse, a longer period of active abuse, and a lower rate of recovery.
(Wilens, Biederman and Mick, Am J Addict 1998) The risk of substance abuse (in an adolescent prospective study) may be higher if the individual has conduct disorder in addition to the AD/HD.