Background: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children. It is increasingly being recognised that the majority of children with ADHD have co-morbid psychiatric disorders. Co-morbid disorders may mask or be masked by ADHD, thereby confounding the clinician in their assessment. The presence of co-morbidity therefore constitutes a potential barrier to the successful treatment of children with ADHD. There is a dearth of information on the pattern of psychiatric co-morbidities in clinical populations of children with ADHD in Nigeria.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of co-morbid psychiatric disorders in a clinical sample of children and adolescents with ADHD.
Method: A cross-sectional study which consecutively recruited 51 children and adolescents with ADHD, attending the Child and Adolescent clinic of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba. The Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale and Socio-demographic questionnaire were administered.
Results: The majority (69.7%) of the participants were males. Their age ranged from 2 to 16years (mean age 7.7± 3.4yrs). The prevalence of the combined sub-type of ADHD was 65.9%. The predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive and the Inattentive subtypes were prevalent in 22.0% and 12.2% of the sample respectively. About three-quarter (76.2%) of the sample had co-morbid psychiatric disorders. The most common co-morbidity was oppositional defiant disorder (58.1%). Others include conduct disorder (27.9%) and anxiety/depression (33.3%).
Conclusion: Co-morbid psychiatric disorders are common in children with ADHD. There is need for increased clinician awareness of these co-morbid psychiatric disorders, which can become targets for clinical interventions that may reduce the severity of disease burden.