ADHD Diagnosis: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Mimics ADHD


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often mistaken for ADHD and misdiagnosed as ADHD!

Children who have suffered any type of trauma-personal harm or witnessed a death related event, or a major natural disaster often show symptoms similar to ADHD.

It’s not unusual for children who are victims of child abuse, kidnapping, bullying or witness an accident involving loss of life; who get caught-up in a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, or who become a part of a terrorist attack; to have impulsivity, poor attention span-inattentiveness, and sometimes-hyperactivity.

If less than age 16 years, many of these children will have a really hard time understanding the circumstances about which traumatic events have occurred; especially if the event includes someone dying, being bodily deformed or mangled -they just don’t understand –can’t figure out what has happened.

They are often confused and left to fill-in the blanks about what has happened and their interpretation is many times inaccurate-creating anxiety, depression, and panic attacks-all of which may mimic ADHD.

Based on these facts, it’s no small wonder that PTSD can mimic ADHD-act just like ADHD-look just like and be misdiagnosed as ADHD.

How can a parent decide whether it’s ADHD or PTSD or both?
We’ll cover those answers in my next post.
Dr. Frank

PTSD Can Be Mistaken for ADHD: Study


Children’s Health
Childhood Trauma Linked to Higher Rates of Mental Health Problems and Obesity


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