Anxiety Disorders, Autism, Depression, Substance Abuse and Addiction, and Tourette Syndrome are the major behavioral and neurological conditions that often accompany the LD/ADHD diagnosis. Many are treatable with a combination of treatments.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Conduct and Oppositional Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder Phobias, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are the most common of all the mental disorders, often related to life experiences and the biological makeup of the individual. Successful treatment options include behavioral and pharmacological interventions.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety is more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. It is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension about health, money, family or work, and the anticipation of disaster.

Conduct and Oppositional Disorders
Symptoms of Conduct and Oppositional disorder range from relatively minor behaviors such as impulsive anger and temper tantrums to more disruptive and annoying behaviors such as physical destructiveness, aggression, stealing, lying, and the violation of family, school, and societal rules. Conduct and Oppositional Disorders are the most frequently occurring behavioral disorder, influenced by both biological and environmental factors. Early intervention and a multi-modal treatment plan are the most successful approach, although approximately two-thirds of youth with Conduct and Oppositional Disorder will continue to display antisocial behaviors into adulthood.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by persistent, anxious thoughts or images, or by an urgent need to engage in certain rituals. Depression, eating disorders, substance abuse or other anxiety conditions may accompany OCD. Medications and behavioral treatments can benefit persons with this disorder.

Panic Disorder Phobias
Panic Disorder Phobias include feelings of irrational terror that occur suddenly and without warning. Symptoms may include physical and mental distress such as heart palpitations or chest pains, nausea, lightheadedness, flushes or chills, trembling, and feelings of unreality or being out of control. Depression or substance abuse may spawn phobias, which can develop in places, or situations where panic attacks have occurred. Agoraphobia, or fear of leaving the house, occurs in about one-third of all people with Panic Disorder. Social Phobia is the intense fear of becoming humiliated in social situations and is often accompanied by depression and substance abuse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications helps approximately 80% of persons with panic disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
This can be an extremely debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event in which physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events can include violent personal assaults such as sexual abuse, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. Symptoms may include flashback episodes, memories, threatening thoughts, especially when exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and medications.

Autism

Autism is a life long, neurological developmental disability, evident within the first two years of life. This condition may result in severe language impairment, cognition, socialization, and communication. Repetitive or restrictive behaviors and interests are the major debilitating symptoms. Autism is incurable but treatable with individualized behavioral interventions and limited pharmacological approaches.

Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder that may be associated with an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that impacts the mind and bodily systems. The two types of depressive illness are Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a serious neurological disorder. Abnormalities in brain chemistry are responsible for the extreme shifts in mood, functioning, and energy. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania, depression, and mixed state, sometimes accompanied by periods of psychosis. Symptoms include hallucinations and delusions. These disabling symptoms often can be relieved through psychotherapy and medications.

Substance Abuse and Addiction

The abuse of legal and illegal substances and consequent addiction problems are prevalent among the LD/ADHD population as a coping strategy, often a result of esteem issues associated with this diagnosis. Behaviors include sudden mood changes, difficulties with socialization and goal setting, poor academic and employment performance, and compromised health. Multi-modal treatment options are usually successful.

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by tics - involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way. The symptoms include both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics present at some time during the illness although not necessarily simultaneously; the occurrence of tics many times a day or intermittently throughout a span of more than one year; the periodic change in the number, frequency, type, and location of the tics; and in the waxing and waning or their severity; and onset before the age of 18. A combination of psychotherapy, behavior modification, relaxation techniques and medications may help both symptoms and behaviors.


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.