Research reveals that adult attention-deficit\hyperactivity disorder (AADHD) and its comorbidity with mood disorders are correlated with an elevated possibility of underdiagnosis and undertreatment.

As a result, in a publication in BMC Psychiatry, researchers conducted a study to compare the clinical characteristics, concurrent disorders, level of function, and quality of life in adults with bipolar disorder (BD) or MDD in those with/without AADHD.

The researchers hoped that the outcomes would assist clinicians in identifying AADHD in individuals with MDD and complex presentations.

The cross-sectional study included adult inpatients and outpatients with MDD or BD in their current partial remission in a psychiatric hospital. The participants were assessed via utilization of the interview for adults with ADHD (DIVA-5), Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scales–Self-Report-Screening Version, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-V, Beck Depression Inventory-II and Young Mania Rating Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning, and World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale-Brief.

Among those with MDD, 51.5% were recruited from inpatients (30 females, 24 males), while the others (48.5%) were outpatients (22 females, 29 males). Those with BD were also selected from inpatients (82%, 38 females, 48 males) and outpatient clinics (18%, 11 females, and 8 males).

Results revealed that among those with MDD (n = 105) and BD (n = 103), AADHD was detected as 13.3% and 16.5%, respectively. Among those patients with AADHD, inattentive presentation was the most prevalent type.

Compared with the patients without AADHD, the results regarding the prevalence of comorbidities, suicidal attempts, severity of affective episodes, early emergence of the affective disorders, and level of quality of life and global functioning were poorer in the group with AADHD (P <.05).

Limitations of the study included that participants were individuals with MDD or BD type I with a mostly manic episode, were selected among the referrals to a tertiary psychiatric hospital with high comorbidity, and had more severe psychopathology. The authors noted that these limitations may restrict the generalizability of the findings.

The authors also noted that their findings demonstrated a high prevalence of AADHD in the participants with MDD and BD, supporting the fact that AADHD diagnosis in adults with MDD has a significant role in the disability of the patients including the deterioration in quality of life and global functioning level.

The authors concluded, "AADHD was common in adults with MDD and BD, along with high psychiatric comorbidity and negative consequences. Clinicians are suggested to screen adults with mood disorders for the symptoms of AADHD for a more precise and comprehensive diagnosis and to provide a more appropriate therapeutic intervention."

Lastly, they noted that more research is required to evaluate whether the treatment of ADHD can diminish its cost to life and the economy for individuals suffering from MDD and BD and enhance their real-world outcomes for this patient population.

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