Celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health has designated the first week in May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Why is this awareness campaign important to a site about ADHD? The reason is because some children with ADHD are at risk for developing a mental health disorder in addition to their ADHD. In this post we are going to talk about co-morbid mental health disorders which are associated with ADHD including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
If your child has ADHD he or she may be more at risk for developing a mental health disorder. A report published in Pediatrics (Volume 127, Number 3, March 2011) examined data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health. This survey included more than 5,000 children diagnosed with ADHD. According to parental report:
• 27% of the children diagnosed with ADHD in their sample also had been diagnosed with conduct disorder.
• Of this same group, 18% had also been diagnosed with anxiety.
• 14% of these children suffered from depression.
This study concluded that 67% of children with ADHD had at least one other mental health or neurodevelopmental disorder.
An organization called Mental Health America reports that:
• About one half of all young people with ADHD have oppositional defiant disorder.
• Approximately one-fifth have bipolar disorder.
• Adolescents with untreated ADHD are at risk for substance abuse disorders.
These statistics may be difficult to look at if you are the parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD. But it is imperative to be aware of the risks of co-morbid mental health conditions so that you can be pro-active in doing what you can to promote mental wellness for your child. It is important to know that many children who have ADHD will not develop a mental health disorder. But it is wise to be knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of these disorders so that you can identify any mental health issues early on. The good news is that these co-morbid conditions are treatable. Early detection is key to increasing the odds for successful treatment.
If you have a child dually diagnosed with ADHD and a mental health condition we would like to hear from you. What were the early signs that your child may have a mood disorder or mental illness? What sorts of treatment help your child the most? Telling your story may help someone who is in a similar circumstance.
For more information about ADHD co-morbid mental health disorders please refer to the following articles and resources:
ADHD and Anxiety
• National Institute of Mental Health: Child and Adolescent Mental Health
ADHD and Depression
Bipolar Disorder and ADHD
Bipolar Disorder Resources
• National Institute of Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents Fact Sheet