Link between TBI and ADHD creates chicken-and-egg question

Many people in Washington suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year. The World Health Organization predicts that TBI will become the third most common disease or disability in the world within the next five years. Recent research results suggest that there may be a connection between TBI and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The study was based on a survey of about 4,000 adults in Canada. Among the participants with a history of TBI, almost 6 percent had previously been diagnosed with ADHD, and approximately 7 percent screened positive for ADHD during the survey. Participants with TBI were found to be twice as likely to report ADHD diagnosis or symptoms as those without TBI.

Although the survey found a link between TBI and ADHD, the causal relationship is not clear. Some experts have suggested that TBI produces psycho-neurological effects that increase the chances of developing ADHD. Others believe that ADHD makes an individual more susceptible to a fall or injury resulting in a TBI. Further research is required to understand the exact nature of the link between ADHD and TBI.

As more research is done, assessment of TBI history during ADHD screening in adults may become the generally accepted standard of care. Precautions against TBI may become part of appropriate treatment of ADHD. In either case, an individual who has suffered TBI, particularly if he or she has a history of ADHD, may want to consult an attorney with experience in malpractice cases. The attorney may be able to investigate the link between the TBI and ADHD and determine whether a health care practitioner may have been negligent in the treatment of either condition.