Researchers examine how ADHD traits impact mental health

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A new study suggests that adults with ADHD may require more mental health support. Image credit: Counter/Getty Images.
  • In a collaborative study, researchers analyzed adult questionnaire responses to examine the connection between ADHD traits, autism traits, and mental health issues.
  • The researchers wanted to find out how much having traits of ADHD or autism increases symptoms of mental health problems.
  • After analyzing the responses, the researchers concluded that officials need to raise more awareness about the impact ADHD can have on mental health, as they believe that people with ADHD are more likely to internalize their struggles.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects many people from childhood to adulthood. ADHD often has many comorbid conditions, including mental health disorders.

Autism — sometimes referred to as “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) — can have some overlapping traits with ADHD. However, autism manifests on a wide spectrum, with some individuals experiencing symptoms that can more severely disrupt their quality of life.

For this reason, professional healthcare providers may consider that individuals with autism may face more difficulties in everyday life compared to people with ADHD.

Researchers from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, and Cardiff, and King’s College London — all in the United Kingdom — wanted to see whether people who experience traits of either ADHD or autism also have symptoms of mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, and to what degree they experience those symptoms.

Through questionnaires they analyzed, the researchers found that people with traits of ADHD are more likely to internalize mental health difficulties than people with autism.

The results of the study are available in the journal Scientific Reports.

ADHD often shows up in early childhood and can be diagnosed in a child as young as 4

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