House Call: Commonly Related Disorders to ADHD

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The condition most commonly associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is known as motor tic disorder, often referred to as Tourette syndrome.

Approximately one in ten children with ADHD also exhibit symptoms of motor tic syndrome.  It is a neurological disorder defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year.  The disorder can present in children as early as three years of age, but hardly ever begins in individuals past the age of sixteen.

Some medications used to treat ADHD can trigger tics that may have been an underlying, dormant condition before a patient began medication and/or may cause an individual’s tics to become more severe or frequent. In this case, the patient should be referred to a neurological specialist to help assess the severity of both conditions and manage the medications.

Another condition associated with ADHD, is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated obsessive thoughts that make them feel driven to engage in a compulsive behavior in reaction to the obsessive thought. If prevented from engaging in this compulsive behavior, the individual often experiences a significant amount of anxiety or stress.

Because medicines to treat ADHD, motor tic disorders and/or OCD can conflict with each other, it is important to find the best treatment plan for individuals with one or more of these conditions that suppresses the symptoms, with the least amount of side effects. Fortunately, Cone Health Child Neurology is dedicated to treating children in the community with ADHD and other related disorders, and educating their families about the conditions.

Physician Background:

Dr. William Hickling is a pediatric neurologist at Cone Health Child Neurology.  Dr. Hickling is a 1978 graduate of Cornell University Medical College.  He completed his pediatric residency at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and his neurology residency at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. He has practiced in this community since 1985.