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Disentangling the Overlap between Tourette's Disorder and ADHD

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Objective: To identify similarities and differences in neuropsychiatric correlates in children with Tourette's syndrome (TS) and those with ADHD. Method: The sample consisted of children with Tourette's syndrome with ADHD(N= 79), children with Tourette's syndrome without ADHD (N= 18), children with ADHD (N= 563), psychiatrically referred children (N= 212), and healthy controls (N= 140). Results: Disorders specifically associated with Tourette's syndrome were obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and simple phobias. Rates of other disorders, including other disruptive behavioral, mood, and anxiety disorders, neuropsychologic correlates, and social and school functioning were indistinguishable in children with Tourette's and ADHD. However, children with Tourette's syndrome plus ADHD had more additional comorbid disorders overall and lower psychosocial function than children with ADHD. Conclusions: These findings confirm previously noted associations between Tourette's syndrome and OCD but suggest that disruptive behavioral, mood, and anxiety disorders as well as cognitive dysfunctions may be accounted for by comorbidity with ADHD. However, Tourette's syndrome plus ADHD appears to be a more severe condition than ADHD alone.
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Keywords: Tourette's syndrome; adolescence; attention deficit disorder; comorbidity; school children

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA 2: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA 3: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and Harvard Institute of Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Genetics, Brockton-West Roxbury Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, USA 4: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and McLean Hospital, Belmont, USA

Publication date: October 1, 1998

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