Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are a big deal! Both conditions have become prominent in today’s society! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States is about 11% and rising, while the Harvard NIMH National Cormorbidity Survey Replication states that about 4.4% of adults ranging in ages from 18 to 44 experience this condition. These numbers are troubling and can cause alarm, but what if there was an underlying condition that wasn’t being taken into consideration? What if ADD and ADHD were linked to the thyroid?
An article published in Yahoo Health, tried to explain why more girls and women are being diagnosed with ADHD now more than ever! It stated that the “diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder shot up 55 percent for girls between 2003 and 2011.” One theory of the spike was due to the participants in previous studies on the topic were predominantly male. While this could have a lot to do with it, there is also the possibility that some of these women and men are being wrongly diagnosed.
This isn’t to say that ADD and ADHD don’t exist, nor is it to say that you can’t have these conditions while suffering from a thyroid problem, but due to the lack of knowledge and improper thyroid tests being ran many can be suffering from an undiagnosed thyroid problem.
When looking at the symptoms of hypothyroidism and ADD, they are eerily similar. Hypothyroidism symptoms include;
- Brain fog
- Short and long-term memory issues
- And many, many, many more!
ADD symptoms include;
- Difficulty focusing
- “Zoning out”
- Difficulty remembering conversations/tasks
In addition to the similarities listed above, hyperthyroidism and ADHD have extremely similar symptoms, as well. Hyperthyroidism symptoms include;
- Difficulty staying still, constantly moving
- Brain fog/lack of attentiveness
- Irritability/mood swings
ADHD symptoms include;
- Constant fidgeting/moving
- Difficulty focusing
- Quick temper/easily angered
These conditions do sound very similar and could be easily confused even in adults. Another, not as well-known thyroid conditions, can also mimic ADHD: thyroid hormone resistance. This is a condition in which the body does not properly respond to the thyroid hormones and instead of the pituitary gland lowering the production of the TSH hormone, it stays the same and the body continues to produce unnecessary thyroid hormones. This can lead to goiter (enlarged thyroid) and other complications.
One individual, Tony, shared his story on how he discovered his condition of thyroid hormone resistance when all signs pointed to ADHD. Tony had all the symptoms of ADHD and was willing to go to the doctor to get help at his girlfriend’s bidding, but while there they found something totally different.
With these similarities it’s easy to see how these conditions could be mixed up. If you or your child has been diagnosed with or are exhibiting signs of ADD/ADHD, ask your doctor about running a full thyroid panel before starting any medication.