In a world with many different diagnosed ailments, it becomes increasingly difficult for physicians to identify a disorder accurately. ADHD and dissociative disorders may cause similar signs and symptoms, but they are two different conditions that require a doctor’s diagnosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between memories, thoughts, actions, surroundings, and identity.
Individuals with dissociative disorders cope with life by escaping reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy, which cause issues with functioning in everyday life. Dissociative disorders are typically caused by reactions to trauma and help the person keep painful memories at bay. These symptoms may range from amnesia to alternate identities. Periods of stress may also cause symptoms to worsen and make them more prominent.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a more common but chronic condition that affects millions of children and may last into adulthood. ADHD is a combination of persistent problems that range from hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, to sustaining attention. Children diagnosed with the condition may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and typically perform poorly in school.
The most common features of ADHD involve inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors. The symptoms may appear before the age of 12, but in some children, they may be noticeable as early as three years of age. The symptoms are sometimes mild, but in some cases, can be severe and continue into adulthood. ADHD occurs more often in boys than girls, and behavior is different in boys than girls. While boys may be more hyperactive, girls will typically be more quiet and inattentive.
There are three subtypes of ADHD, which include:
Those diagnosed with ADHD may also be more likely to have conditions that include:
Signs and symptoms of dissociative disorders will vary based on the type of disorder you are diagnosed with. While one person may experience one set of symptoms, someone else may experience something completely different. The most common symptoms, however, include, but are not limited to:
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5) mentions there are three major dissociative disorders, which include:
While some symptoms may overlap, the only way to be sure is to reach out to a licensed professional that can diagnose you.
Mayo Clinic. Dissociative disorders. (November 17, 2017) from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dissociative-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20355215
Mayo Clinic. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. (June 35, 2019) from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350889
National Institute of Mental Health. Substance Use and Mental Health. (May 2016) from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health/index.shtml
National Institute of Mental Health. Autism Spectrum Disorder. (March 2018) from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Stanford University. Dissociative disorders in DSM-5. Spiegel D, Lewis-Fernández R, Lanius R, Vermetten E, Simeon D, Friedman M. (February 1, 2013) from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23394228