The Scary Connection Between ADD/ADHD and COVID-19

The Scary Connection Between ADDADHD and COVID-19

Does having ADD/ADHD put you at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19? If the ADD/ADHD is untreated, the answer is yes, according to a new study in the Journal of Attention Disorders. The research involving 14,022 people in Israel found that people with untreated ADD/ADHD are about 52% more likely to have tested positive for the coronavirus illness compared with individuals who don’t have ADD/ADHD.

The researchers found, however, that in people with the attention-deficit disorder who are being treated with stimulant medication, the infection rate for COVID-19 is no higher than in those without ADD/ADHD. In these individuals, the infection rate was about 10%.

WHO’S AT RISK?

An estimated 6.1 million children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and approximately 8 million U.S. adults have the disorder. However, it is estimated that less than 20% of adults with the condition have received a diagnosis. And of those who have been diagnosed, only about 1 in 4 seek treatment. This adds up to millions of adults who are at increased risk of developing COVID-19 due to untreated ADD/ADHD.

WHAT’S ADD GOT TO DO WITH IT?

What is behind the connection between ADD/ADHD and increased risk? It likely lies in the hallmark ADD/ADHD symptoms, including:

  • risk-taking behavior
  • impulsivity
  • forgetfulness
  • inattention
  • poor attention to detail
  • poor judgment
  • difficulty with follow-through

During the pandemic, these characteristics can manifest in potentially harmful ways, such as forgetting to wash your hands, impulsively hosting a wild party with a lot of people, or not following health directives. These actions put people at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to developing the illness.

ADD/ADHD ISN’T JUST ONE THING

What most people don’t realize is that ADD/ADHD isn’t just one thing. Over 30 years of brain SPECT imaging studies at Amen Clinics have shown that there are 7 types of ADD/ADHD. One size does not fit all, and each type has its own set of symptoms and requires a personalized treatment plan. What works for one person with ADD/ADHD may not work for another—or could even make the symptoms worse.

At Amen Clinics, brain scans of people with ADD/ADHD consistently point to decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Typically, when a person without ADD/ADHD tries to concentrate, activity increases in the PFC, but when someone with the condition attempts to concentrate, activity decreases. The harder they try, the worse it gets.

The 7 Types of ADD/ADHD are:

Type 1: Classic ADD: When most people think about attention-deficit disorder they think about this type, which is characterized by hyperactivity, restlessness, impulsivity, disorganization, distractibility, and trouble concentrating.

Type 2: Inattentive ADD: This is the second most common type of ADD/ADHD. People with this type tend to be labeled as slow, lazy, spacey, or unmotivated. They can be quiet and distracted.

Type 3: Overfocused ADD: People with this type have all of the core ADD/ADHD symptoms plus tremendous trouble shifting attention and a tendency to get stuck of locked into negative thought patterns or behaviors.

Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD: The temporal lobes, which are located underneath your temples and behind your eyes, are involved with memory, learning, mood stability, and visual processing of objects. Learning and behavior problems are commonly associated with this type.

Type 5: Limbic ADD: In this type, ADD/ADHD and depression intersect. The core ADD/ADHD symptoms are present in addition to negativity, moodiness, sadness, low energy, and decreased interest in life.

Type 6: Ring of Fire ADD: Unlike those with type 1 who have low activity in certain areas of the brain, these people tend to have excessive activity throughout the brain. On brain SPECT scans, it lights up like a ring of hyperactivity. Symptoms commonly seen in this type include irritability, hyperactivity, excessive talking, overfocus issues, extreme oppositional behavior, and cyclic periods of calm behavior alternating with intense aggressive behavior. Stimulant medication tends to make these people worse.

Type 7: Anxious ADD: In people with this type it is common for ADD/ADHD symptoms to become magnified and to be accompanied by anxiety, a fear of being judged, predicting the worst, being conflict avoidant, and having physical stress symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension).

Knowing your type of ADD/ADHD is the key to finding the most effective treatment.

ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.

6 Comments

  1. Do you accept insurance? I have Excellus BC.

    Comment by Michael Brott — August 10, 2020 @ 4:27 AM

  2. Please advise what medical insurance you accept. Thank you.

    Comment by Eileen Young-Vignola — August 10, 2020 @ 8:46 AM

  3. Help just getting older and weaker. Stimiulant will work maybe to old to try anymore v.A. not there yet settle for minor improvement. Dont feel like it is worth it any more.

    Comment by John Agee8 — August 10, 2020 @ 10:24 AM

  4. Does or would some early prolonged treatment by some medications cause a delay in the immune system Opening up the window for viral infections? Where as allowing the finger projection of the intestines to not release CONTAMINANTS and create a subsequent Avenue for infections. What infections create polyps in the intestines are they viral, bacterial, immune micro misprograms, or a flaws in our genetics? And I also remember a connection with molds being thar they cross over between animal and plant models.

    Comment by Dan — August 11, 2020 @ 6:39 PM

  5. Reimbursement by insurance companies varies according to your plan. Amen Clinics, Inc. does not bill insurance. At the end of the evaluation, patients are given a “walk-out statement” containing applicable diagnosis and billing codes, which can then be submitted to insurance companies for possible out-of-network reimbursement. For more information about insurance, reimbursement and financing options please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 20, 2020 @ 10:24 AM

  6. Reimbursement by insurance companies varies according to your plan. Amen Clinics, Inc. does not bill insurance. At the end of the evaluation, patients are given a “walk-out statement” containing applicable diagnosis and billing codes, which can then be submitted to insurance companies for possible out-of-network reimbursement. For more information about insurance, reimbursement and financing options please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — August 20, 2020 @ 10:25 AM

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