NASET News Alert

The Science of Fear: Probing the Brain Circuits That Link ADHD and PTSD

March 12, 2021

Is there a relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Absolutely. A growing body of research has documented a robust link between the two conditions, suggesting that individuals with ADHD are at elevated risk for PTSD — and vice versa. Clinically, the implications of such a relationship are vast, as are the questions: What makes ADHD an antecedent risk factor for PTSD? One theory posits that abnormal neural fear circuitry connects individuals with ADHD and PTSD. Individuals with ADHD appear to have dysfunctional activation of the same brain structures implicated in fear, which is also true for individuals with PTSD. This overlap may underscore the strong statistical association between the disorders — and help explain why individuals with ADHD are more likely to suffer the long-lasting psychological aftershocks of PTSD after experiencing a severe jolt of trauma. Read More