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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder: fact or artifact?

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  • 1Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Clinic, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.



To clarify whether the symptoms of inattention and distractibility commonly seen in children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) represent true comorbidity with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or a manifestation of obsessional anxiety.


Phenotypic features and functional correlates of ADHD-like symptoms were examined in youths with and without OCD from a large sample of pediatric psychiatry patients consecutively referred since 1997.


The number, frequency, and types of core ADHD symptoms as well as ADHD-associated functional indices were identical in all youths with DSM-IV-diagnosed ADHD irrespective of the presence or absence of comorbid OCD.


These findings suggest that when ADHD-like symptoms are seen in youths with OCD, they reflect a true comorbid state of OCD plus ADHD and that the ADHD syndrome may be independent of OCD in comorbid youths.

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