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Expert Q&A

What happens when family members have ADD and other disabilities such as depression, anger-control problems, and anxiety disorders?

My daughter, who is 11 years old, was diagnosed with ADD. She is on Focalin. For the most part she is doing pretty good but she has her occasional breakdowns. How do you help get a person out of a meltdown without a lot of screaming, yelling, crying from that person?

My wife suffers from depression and also is ADD. She is on medication which does not help when my daughter has one of her meltdowns. Then my wife starts to have a meltdown. Sometimes panic attacks arise from what my daughter is saying etc during a meltdown. Any suggestions would be grateful in dealing with my wife and daughter.


It is important that you learn about what is called comorbidity with ADHD, as I discussed in my book, The Misunderstood Child. Fifty percent of children with ADHD will have one or more of a pattern of emotional regulatory problems. These include anxiety disorder (with panic attacks), depression, anger control problems, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

These comorbid conditions are neurologically-based as is the ADHD. Usually, each of these problems existed over many years and can occur in school as well as at home. The medication may have made each worse but may not be the cause. Often, there is a family history of similar problems. It sounds as if your daughter might have one or more of these regulatory problems. I recommend that you have her evaluated by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. It is essential that you clarify all of her problems so that a comprehensive treatment plan can be done.

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