Often, the symptoms of trauma and ADHD are so similar they can be mistaken for each other. Their comparable symptoms often make it difficult to diagnose the source. . With so much overlap, it begs the question: Does trauma contribute to ADHD?
ADHD diagnoses have been on the rise throughout the past few years. Millions of children and adults are being diagnosed with ADHD, and the numbers continue to rise. What has contributed to the growing numbers? A possible contribution could be that we are becoming more aware of the nuances of the condition and are becoming better at recognizing and treating it accurately.
As we understand more about the neurodevelopmental condition, we can see that genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors are at play. However, some studies indicate that children with ADHD are more likely to have trauma histories, experiencing a traumatic event, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Complex trauma. While everyone’s exposure and experience are different, research suggests that childhood trauma could affect the development of ADHD and vice versa.
Why is it often difficult to differentiate between trauma and ADHD?
The common symptoms of ADHD and trauma can often appear in very similar ways. Shared symptoms of both trauma and ADHD include:
Inattention: People with both ADHD and trauma struggle from a lack of focus on tasks or activities, becoming distracted by unrelated and unwanted thoughts or stimuli. They may also struggle to follow through on instructions or organize tasks.
Impulsivity: Impulsive behavior is a hallmark of ADHD and can be frequent in trauma.