ADHD and Trauma

Traumatic stress can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD. Up to 17% of traumatized youngsters fulfill ADHD criteria, and the presence of both compounds the negative consequences of the other. Trauma also affects certain brain regions that may become more active as a result of the trauma, such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

A Complicated Relationship Between ADHD and Trauma

Consider the intricate complexity of a spider's web: one thread connects to hundreds of others, yet pulling just one silken strand causes the web to collapse. Living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) and trauma might feel comparable since the symptoms are so linked that a single tug could cause everything to collapse.

Trauma raises a patient's odds of being diagnosed with ADHD, according to studies.

Furthermore, because many symptoms of trauma overlap with (and may be caused by) ADHD, determining the roots of a patient's trauma — and measuring its impact on the brain and body — can be difficult. 1 ADHD and trauma, and commonly ADHD and PTSD, share a number of symptoms:

Concentration problems

Memory problems

Dysregulation of emotions

Sleep deprivation

Restlessness and/or impulsivity

Having difficulty connecting with others

Abuse of drugs and alcohol

Is it Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Trauma? It's a Difficult Situation

ADHD and trauma have similar symptoms, and correctly diagnosing and treating them takes skill and experience. Poor working memory, for example, is linked to ADHD, but it could simply be a sign of a mind trying to avoid recalling a terrible event. To treat a patient effectively, practitioners must have a thorough understanding of ADHD and trauma.

ADHD is a brain-based illness that is most commonly identified after a kid has struggled in school, or even later in life. Trauma is the result of a person's exposure to stressful events or experiences at any point in their life. Trauma during childhood, when the brain is still developing, can cause cognitive and emotional changes that resemble ADHD.

Up to 70% of adults say they've been through at least one traumatic experience in their lives.

Death of a loved one, divorce, vehicle accidents, caregiver abuse or neglect, living through a natural catastrophe, racism, being a victim of or witnessing a crime – any of these events can have an affect on how a person thinks and feels.

Though not all trauma has long-term consequences, some trauma becomes chronic, resulting in PTSD symptoms. Nightmares, terrifying flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, avoidance of objects connected with the trauma (driving in a car, for example, if the trauma was triggered by a car accident), emotional dysregulation, and hypervigilance are examples of these symptoms.