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10 Medical Conditions that Share Symptoms with ADD/ADHD

I can personally validate that getting a confirmed medical diagnosis for the condition of either ADD or ADHD is a long and often frustrating process. One of the major reasons is that the ADD/ADHD symptoms are shared by a number of medical conditions, which in turn makes the process even more difficult. After a two year process and many trips to specialists, we began eliminating the medical conditions that my son did not have and began to see a pattern of confirming what he did have. There are a list of typical or standard ADD/ADHD symptoms, and, taken individually could be experienced by anyone. It’s when you can check off a majority of these symptoms that you begin to realize that a child (or adult) is nearing diagnosis. The most challenging part of the entire routine is recognizing what the shared symptoms are with other conditions.


Children that have been diagnosed with autism can experience the same over-excited state when placed in an environment of high stimulus. This can be misdiagnosed as hyperactivity. Children that had ADHD as well as autism exhibit difficulties in adjustments to change as well as struggling with interaction and an inability to create the kind of emotional bonds. These behaviors can be seen in a typical daycare or kid’s birthday party when a becomes overactive due to the excitement, sits in the corner alone or simply acts as though they don’t want to join in for any fun games with others.

One of the more prevalent ADD/ADHD symptoms is an inability to focus for any length of time. Children that have hearing losses also exhibit the same behaviors as they cannot hear and therefore act like they aren’t paying attention. A simple hearing test is part of the program of diagnosis and can help to eliminate hearing loss.

Hypothyroidism often includes feelings of depression or sadness, along with memory problems and inability to concentrate. Since this is so close to the ADD/ADHD symptoms, children should be tested to ensure that this is not a prevalent medical condition.

Iron deficiencies in both adults and children will exhibit lethargy, the inability to focus and concentrate and cognitive skills. Testing for this is easy and a high quality vitamin supplement can accommodate any iron deficiency problem.

Hypoglycemia, which is lowered blood sugar can show symptoms of hyperactivity, aggression, inability to sit still, and low concentration levels. These are common symptoms with ADD/ADHD.

Allergies to MSG, certain dyes, food additives, and even corn syrup can cause symptoms that include agitation, anger, inability to concentrate, impulsiveness, lack of concentration and hyperactivity. These are also symptoms shared with ADD and ADHD. Your physician can do an allergy test to eliminate this as a medical condition.

In the last number of years, ADD and ADHD have been linked to lead poisoning. Even at low levels, lead toxicity can exhibit symptoms in children that include mental retardation, short term memory problems, poor school performance, lowered cognitive skills and the inability to concentrate. The State of California was the first in the country to outlaw lead based paints.

Sources: http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/cf/slideshows/10-medical-conditions-that-share-symptoms-with-add-adhd/getting-an-accurate-diagnosis/?ap=825

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

3 Responses to “10 Medical Conditions that Share Symptoms with ADD/ADHD”

  1. 1
    Chocaholic Says:
    It is disgusting that our pediatricians are so quick to give kids meds. I had to actually find a specialist that would work with us to find out if my daughter was ADD, ADHD or something else. She was patient and careful to let us know that symptoms can be shared. I am still wondering why so many of our kids are showing these signs now, when only a few did as we were growing up.
  2. 2
    CHADDMom Says:
    This is absolutely true. Getting a diagnosis is not and should not be a fast process. Many kids have multiple disorders and they can be misdiagnosed with a doctor that doesn't want to take the time. My son didn't show any problems until after he got his first set of baby shots, then he became a different child.
  3. 3
    NeverAgain12 Says:
    My son had many of the symptoms of ADHD, even though we didn't have anyone in our family that had the problem. As it turns out, we went to a lot of doctors and found one that did allergy testing. He is allergic to wheat. It's not easy to find foods that he likes without wheat, but at least he doesn't have to take medication.