View Full Version : Interactions Between ASD & ADHD?


tearsong
04-27-17, 09:54 PM
Anyone else notice things which seem to contradict each other, but might be because of the interactions between traits of the two diagnoses?

For example:
ADHD -- I love novelty and trying new things.
ASD -- I absolutely *abhor* when these 'new' things subsequently change (in literally any way) after I start using them.

ADHD -- I can lose pretty much anything... And at times I'll be staring straight at it, but not see it.
ASD -- I can also spot the most subtle differences in things. (Like the fact that the pictures of faces in the TOMAL-2 that you're supposed to remember and point out later are sometimes the same faces with different expressions. The neuropsych said no one had ever pointed that out to her before... That said, I was well below average on actually remembering the stupid faces... lol)

Other examples? Or am I just seeing things which are stereotypically part of one dx or the other, but could be part of both? (Since so many things overlap between them...) Example: That last one could also be seen as losing things, but also hyperfocusing (also associated with ADHD*) and spotting subtle differences...

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* Depending on your definition of the word, but that's not the debate I wanted to start here!

dvdnvwls
04-28-17, 02:11 AM
I don't know for sure, but my feeling is that the things you're describing fit easily into the realm of individual variation, and don't need to be attributed to one condition or another.

tearsong
04-28-17, 09:21 AM
I mean, depending on how far down the spectrum toward the neurodiversity model you want to go, there's no such thing as mental disorders like ASD or ADHD; we're all just NTs with individual variation. :P

Flia
04-29-17, 05:46 AM
I have both and my experience is that they cover different areas most of the time.

Also, sometimes ADHD is the dominant, and sometimes it's the autism.

shinkansen1966
05-02-17, 10:50 PM
I have ADHD and ASD.

ADHD is a life of switching tasks in search of something more interesting as well as impulsive behaviour. ASD is the need for routine and order. When ADHD wins, I知 the lively party character. When ASD wins, I知 the cold and calculating scientist.

dvdnvwls
05-03-17, 01:50 AM
Hm. Makes me again wonder about myself. Like "Is that also me they're describing?"

Oh well. :)

tearsong
05-03-17, 08:04 PM
Hm. Makes me again wonder about myself. Like "Is that also me they're describing?"

Oh well. :)

Well, given the total 'spectrum-iness' of... well, basically everything*... that happens in both ASD and ADHD, it's possible. But it's more probable that you have your own idiosyncrasies. :P

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* i.e.: both severity and present behaviors/strengths/deficits/etc.

Cyllya
05-04-17, 12:34 AM
I've started to consider ADHD and ASD to be secretly the same condition (or maybe, ASD = ADHD + a couple other problems, or ADHD is a mild ASD).

I think if my nine-year-old self could be evaluated with modern criteria, I'd be considered to have ASD instead of ADHD. (I don't even think it would have been both. I think it would have been ASD only.) Overtime, the traits only associated with ADHD became more relevant and the traits only associated with ASD became subclinical or completely gone. The ASD traits I still have are the ones shared with ADHD.

I consider my dislike of change to be related mainly to my executive functioning problems. Planning, organizing, and remembering each important detail are all hard. I eat the same thing for lunch almost every workday mainly because I don't want to go through the mental hassle of drafting a new lunch plan every day. (Okay, part of it is that my favorite lunch is comforting somehow, for some sensory reason.)

Half the diagnostic criteria in the DSM seems to be different ways of describing the same thing, e.g. ASD is deficits in social interaction, several of the ADHD example behaviors are inappropriate social interactions; DSM for ASD lists "difficulties with transitions" and ADHD is known for procrastination; ASD involves repetitive motor movements, ADHD hyperactivity criteria entails excess motor movements.

Flia
05-05-17, 04:33 AM
Half the diagnostic criteria in the DSM seems to be different ways of describing the same thing, e.g. ASD is deficits in social interaction, several of the ADHD example behaviors are inappropriate social interactions; DSM for ASD lists "difficulties with transitions" and ADHD is known for procrastination; ASD involves repetitive motor movements, ADHD hyperactivity criteria entails excess motor movements.

But the ways are different.
The social interaction difficulties in ADHD are that you're impulsive and talk to much combined with not having the concentration span to listen to what someone else says. .

In ASD it's not understanding the social interaction, and talking about things NTs aren't interested in.

Hyperactivity in ADHD is far different than ASD.

With ADHD you can't sit still, and actively do things (in adults it's maybe household things) . All due to lack of concentration.

In ASD it's stimming and doing repetitive things. ADHDers don't repeat.

tearsong
05-09-17, 11:41 AM
But the ways are different.
The social interaction difficulties in ADHD are that you're impulsive and talk to much combined with not having the concentration span to listen to what someone else says. .

In ASD it's not understanding the social interaction, and talking about things NTs aren't interested in.

That's similar to what I had thought as well (that someone with ADHD was just impulsively not paying attention to the other person, rather than actually mis-reading them), however, my psychopathology professor disagreed.

Basically, in her clinical experience, kids with ADHD did not always truly read people correctly, even using photos of their peers. ("How does this person beside you look?" "Happy!" *Peer actually looks bored*)

I had also seen a few studies which note differences in social perception (one was reading another person's trustworthiness, iirc) between adults with ADHD and controls.

Johnny Slick
05-09-17, 12:31 PM
Yeah, I don't think that ADHD and ASD are the same thing at *all*. Depending on how far along the spectrum you are, ASD can mean you don't really grok other peoples' feelings and can have a hard time getting in touch with your own for similar reasons. You tend to break things down logically and often you prefer to have a bit of order in your life.

As a person with ADHD but not on the spectrum, the above is *not* how I go about life. Right now I'm using a bit more structure than normal but that's not because I get faint of heart when there isn't any or anything but because without structure I can sometimes just go all over the place. Among other things, I know that I often use writing to organize my thoughts, and again, this is not actually because I can't handle disorganization. I'm actually somewhat content with the chaotic way in which my brain works, at least some of the time and for certain purposes. Chaos can be weird but it also leads to my making connections that other folks don't make. I just also know that I am never, ever going to be able to communicate my ideas to others without organizing them first.

When I'm not taking meds, sometimes I may not *notice* someone else's feelings but that's not because I don't "get" them, it's because my brain is taking in, like, every single thing that's out there and intuitive handling of someone's body language is sometimes way, way down the list (at the same time, though, when I am medicated or otherwise when I'm motivated, I have to say that I don't have that manual translation "oh, this person's lips are pursed and their brow is furrowed, therefore they are frustrated about something" layer, like, at *all* when interpreting feelings - all that crap gets handled under the hood so to speak) (and I don't mean this to bag on folks on the spectrum or anything, I'm just saying that this particular experience is completely foreign to me). I am *not* averse to trying new things at *all*; in fact, for me, the ADHD can encourage me to jump off in new directions I haven't gone before.

So... where I think that there's this weirdness isn't in this idea that ASD and ADHD are one and the same, because they are totally not. Autism spectrum disorder is a wholly and completely different thing from having inner and outer filters that don't always work correctly. Where I think the weirdness comes is this: from what I gather, if you have ASD, you *also* have ADHD. Like, pretty much always. The reverse isn't true but from what people have said here and elsewhere a lot of p-docs will diagnose a patient with ASD and will just, without any additional questioning treat them as though they also have ADHD.

So I *guess* you could treat ASD as a subset of ADHD but I think that gives ASD short shrift itself because, as noted, some of the differences are very, very profound (and admittedly I, as an ADHD-not-ASD person, find ADHD-with-ASD folks a bit more frustrating to deal with than my fellow ADHD-not-ASDers, even the really obnoxious, "I can barely keep up with your random train of thought" types).

hutchie0109
05-12-17, 09:46 AM
I get a great idea to be more efficient , result in confusion, more stress and forget to do what I needed in the first place with routines.

hutchie0109
05-12-17, 09:52 AM
It's a bad combination, for me anyway, I frustrate myself. Above post spot on.

daveddd
05-12-17, 04:59 PM
i think ADHd and ASD are different symptom lists that you can have all of one and none of the other, all of both or some of both

both are heterogeneous and neither has been pinned down to any single causation

It's very possible that someone can have a condition or genetic defect or difference that can cause both disorders and they can blend together. Generic testing pretty much proves it


I have ADHD and ASD.

ADHD is a life of switching tasks in search of something more interesting as well as impulsive behaviour. ASD is the need for routine and order. When ADHD wins, I知 the lively party character. When ASD wins, I知 the cold and calculating scientist.

I relate to this a lot, for me both feel like cyclic defenses of emotional dysregualtion

Hubble
12-07-17, 09:35 AM
I agree that they are different, however my own thoughts are that together they have an interesting interaction which makes the person with them seem (in some ways), more neurotypical. For example: ADHD makes a person impulsive, but ASD tempers that with a need for repetition. ASD makes people quite difficult to get the attention of when they are involved in something, but ADHD makes them impulsively react to you if you say something to them. ASD can make a person very serious, but ADHD makes them silly. There are more things like that, including some negative interactions too, such as ASD causing a person to register someone else's emotional issues as not that important, and then ADHD causing them to take no action to help because they have not connected a high level of importance to the other person's situation.

As an evolutionary biologist, my considerations on this are that the combination of the two conditions makes a person more easy to have a close relationship with than if they had either one alone. Therefore those people with the combination of the two traits will be able to reproduce more easily and so the traits are passed on.

I am saying this also as a person in a relationship with someone who has both conditions: When he went on a higher dose of his ADHD medication he became far more Aspie (he even said himself that he felt like they made him more Aspie), and he was much harder to feel close to. I asked him to come off them for a week, and he's currently doing that, and he's turned back into the happy, smiley person that I have been used to!
I actually asked him to do that because I know from my own experience on ADHD medication that I feel a bit more disconnected to people while on them (and hence the meds moderate my emotional impulses which is important), and I was feeling like he had started to feel a bit disconnected to me. His coming off the meds has made our relationship feel so much better, and he's still free to take them whenever he really needs to focus on something, of course!.

Artiste
12-29-17, 03:58 PM
"ADHD is a life of switching tasks in search of something more interesting as well as impulsive behaviour. ASD is the need for routine and order. When ADHD wins, I知 the lively party character. When ASD wins, I知 the cold and calculating scientist."

Perfect! :D

aralee
02-26-18, 07:51 PM
I get a great idea to be more efficient , result in confusion, more stress and forget to do what I needed in the first place with routines.
That is the story of my life 😄. I can completely relate.

Lunacie
02-26-18, 09:42 PM
Interesting. I don't know how I missed this thread last year, but it's awesome.

I totally confuse myself with conflicting symptoms.

When I first started learning about adhd 15 years ago when a friend suggested
my oldest granddaughter (then 5) might have it, I said OMG, that's so me!
I always knew there was something going on, but didn't have a clue what.

But the more I learned, the more I felt like it wasn't the complete answer, the
total answer. There was still something more going on that wasn't explained by
adhd.

Then my youngest granddaughter began the journey to her diagnosis of autism
and I found the rest of the puzzle. The puzzle pieces don't always fit together,
but they do make the picture of who I am. :D

OyVeyKitty
02-27-18, 02:50 PM
I'm all over the map and although it's very disruptive to my life, it's actually something I enjoy most of the time because it makes life a lot of fun! I love not having plans and being able to do whatever happens to pop into my mind. Now that I'm getting older and am supposed to act like an adult I am trying to find some kind of stability, because running from thing to thing like a headless chicken doesn't pay the bills, but the thought alone of having routines doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. They make me feel like I'm missing out on life and are ridiculously difficult to stick to.

I also love interacting with people and have never had a problem reading people, in fact I've been told that I'm good at it. :o On the other hand, I'm definitely not socially "normal". :lol: I get bored with small talk really fast and want to talk about something more exciting and have been told I'm intense, which people tend to enjoy most of the time, but it's not always such a great thing. If I'm working with someone else in the vicinity it's difficult for me to let them work in peace because I want to chat, which really annoys some more quiet types who want to work in peace. Classrooms are the bane of my existence and I constantly got in trouble in school for not being able to sit quietly.

All that aside, I do love science stuff and computers. I'm not good at the hard sciences because I am terrible at math and the theoretical stuff bores me to tears, but I still want to know how everything works and why on a higher level. I don't care about the maths behind it, but I love learning about everything from the vastness of the universe to the way the human brain functions. That, and it was love at first sight when I first laid my eyes on a Commodore 64 as a kid. :)

All in all, however, I don't feel like I fit the ASD symptoms all that well. I have never done any stimming, the only repetitive thing in my life is my inability to be repetitive and I really enjoy making eye contact with people. So yeah, I'm probably just a geeky ADHD lady.

Lunacie
02-27-18, 04:00 PM
Sometimes change is scary and unwelcome. Sometimes it's exciting.

It may be okay if we're choosing to make a change,
and not-so-okay when changes are unexpected or forced on us.



I have 'facial blindness' (prosopognasia) so I have difficulty recognizing people,
even those I know very well if seen in an unexpected setting.
Maybe that influences my difficulty in 'reading' people.

I've always been a rocker, whether I'm seated or standing. This is a 'stim'.
And I have more sensory issues than you can shake a stick at.
Probably several other things that don't fit with an adhd diagnosis
but do fit with an autism diagnosis.

Little Missy
02-27-18, 04:03 PM
My eye focus sometimes is a problem to others. I look eye to eye unless they break the gaze.

mind_in_orbit
04-20-18, 01:34 PM
I have ADHD and ASD.

ADHD is a life of switching tasks in search of something more interesting as well as impulsive behaviour. ASD is the need for routine and order. When ADHD wins, I知 the lively party character. When ASD wins, I知 the cold and calculating scientist.

For me this almost couldn't be a worse description if you'd tried. I'm not actually diagnosed with ADHD, though. I know I have more mental deviations from the norm than most people I know with "pure" ASD, but I go back and forth about whether the other part is more consistent with ADHD or with mild bipolar-type traits. Though either way that doesn't make a difference, because I've read descriptions A LOT like yours when talking about bipolar vs. ASD as well.

With me, the ASD is clearly the "dominant" thing in that decides WHAT I am interested in, and my other mental conditions determine HOW I am interested in it, if that makes any sense. In other words, I am almost fully disinterested in the world of people (except to the extent that I want someone to share my imaginary ideas with), never cared to make friends as a child, etc. However, while many other scientists are prone to being systematic and reject flights of fancy, I'm very creative and pursue many hypotheticals that just "feel" right.

When the "other" (ADHD or hypomanic) side is strong, I don't become more extraverted, rather my inner dream world becomes more vivid and I end up pursuing umpteen ideas at once, thinking that if I read enough papers I can conjure the whole complexity of the cell come to life in living color in front of me. There's this elusive chase of the ultimate kernel of beauty within the universe, trying to seduce me. The subject matter I think about is intricate molecules and mathematical equations, but the approach is more like that of a poet or an artist than a scientist.

I've found that having both tendencies makes me feel like even much more of an outsider than either alone. ASD made me completely oblivious to the social world growing up, and then now as an adult I want friends, yet my mind works too fast and nobody seems interested in my flights of ideas. Other adults all seem too calm and focused on the here-and-now, mundane parts of their lives. Nobody else wants to behold the universe in a grain of sand or whatever.