PTSD and ADHD

Lenard Adler, MD ADHD in AdultsJ Atten Disord. 2014 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print]
The Neuropsychological Profile of Comorbid Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Adult ADHD.
Antshel KM, Biederman J, Spencer TJ, Faraone SV.

This study is important as it is the first investigation to examine neuropsychological deficits in individuals with ADHD and PTSD; it also adds to our increasing understanding of the increased burden of having ADHD and PTSD. Prior studies have shown that PTSD may be a vulnerability factor for developing future ADHD. These studies indicate that clinicians should be careful in screening individuals with ADHD for co-morbid PTSD and that the combination of disorders may carry a higher neuropsychological burden.

Overall the group with ADHD (whether they had PTSD or not) had significantly lower scores on the battery of neuropsychological tests; however, the group with ADHD+PTSD had lower neuropsychological test scores on a number of measures versus the group with ADHD alone (WAIS full scale IQ and block design, ROCF copy accuracy and copy time and Stroop Color T-score). Measures of quality of life were not shown to be predictors of PTSD status.

This article describes an examination of potential differences in neuropsychological functioning between a cohort of adults with ADHD (n=186), ADHD with PTSD (n=20) and a non-ADHD control group (n=123) who received psychiatric evaluations and neuropsychological tests (including WAIS intelligence, tests of frontal executive function (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Stroop Color and Word Test) the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (ROCF) and an auditory working memory continuous performance task (CPT). The group with ADHD had lower socio-economic status and were more likely to be of non-Caucausian ethnicity. Interpretation of the findings of this trial is somewhat limited by the small cohort of ADHD+PTSD patients.

Lenard A. Adler, MD

About Lenard A. Adler, MD

Dr. Adler is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as the Director of the Adult ADHD Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, New York. He is a member of APSARD, the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, and is on the Advisory Board of ADHD in Adults.com