Four disorders doctors misdiagnosis as ADHD

April 13, 2023 | Crandall & Pera Law
Four disorders doctors misdiagnosis as ADHD

About 60% of children with ADHD have another mental health condition, which rises to 80% in adults. When more than one mental health condition is present, doctors in Ohio and across the country have trouble making an accurate diagnosis. Yet, they can be held responsible when they misdiagnose a patient or fail to diagnose someone with more than one mental health challenge. Some diseases are often misdiagnosed when the problem is ADHD.


People who are depressed or have ADHD can experience problems with executive functions. Both diseases may lead people to have trouble focusing because the prefrontal cortex does not operate as expected. Often, doctors may see a patient’s ability to focus swing depending on how depressed they are, but that is seldom the case with someone with ADHD.


People with anxiety can have trouble focusing. In order to compensate, their bodies produce excessive cortisol and adrenaline. If a person goes on anxiety medications following a diagnosis without improvement, the challenge may be ADHD instead of anxiety.

Oppositional defiant disorder

A person with an oppositional defiant disorder often refuses to do tasks, has trouble getting along with others and is irritable. This condition can develop in early childhood, but it more commonly develops during the teenage years and is often the result of abuse. People with ADHD often have trouble completing tasks and may be seen as defiant. While overcoming oppositional defiant disorder is possible, ADHD is a lifelong condition.

Bipolar disorder

The thought patterns seen in people with ADHD can be very similar to those seen during manic or hypomanic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. One significant difference is that people who are bipolar often jump from thinking about one subject to the next rapidly. Meanwhile, those with ADHD often become hyper-focused on one topic. If you are getting treatment for one mental health condition and are not seeing improvements, consider if the doctor misdiagnosed you or if you need a dual diagnosis. Getting the right treatment will help you feel better.