Emotional reactivity and ADHD in adults, diagnostic uncertainty, medication effects, emotional control with treatment
Emotional reactivity, what mental health professionals call emotional dysregulation, is often seen in ADHD children and adults. The reactivity is characterized by sudden, intense reactions, usually impatience, annoyance, or irritability. While not a symptom formally recognized by DSM 5 diagnostic criteria, research demonstrates its presence in many ADHD patients. Many patients treated with ADHD medications report that their emotion fuse is longer-less overwhelmed, frustrated, or annoyed.
What confuses mental health professional is the diagnostic dilemma when observing emotional reactivity. Should it be considered a symptom of a mood disorder (depression or bipolar disorder) or ADHD? That decision has implication in the choices of medication options.
To discuss this further, I wrote a blog for the American Professional Society for ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD), a national ADHD organization, with the mission to educate medical and mental health professional about ADHD. I anticipate that the issue of emotional dysregulation will become a debated issue between the mood disorder experts and the ADHD professional. I know this because I will present on the topic of Bipolar Disorder and ADHD at the 14th Annual Psychopharmacology CME symposium in Cinncinatti on October 29, 2016 and have been invited to participate in a symposium at the Annual American Psychiatric Association in May 2017. We’ll see how it all unfolds.