Non-mental diseases associated with ADHD across the lifespan: Fidgety Philipp and Pippi Longstocking at risk of multimorbidity?

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 Jan:132:1157-1180. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.10.035. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


Several non-mental diseases seem to be associated with an increased risk of ADHD and ADHD seems to be associated with increased risk for non-mental diseases. The underlying trajectories leading to such brain-body co-occurrences are often unclear - are there direct causal relationships from one disorder to the other, or does the sharing of genetic and/or environmental risk factors lead to their occurring together more frequently or both? Our goal with this narrative review was to provide a conceptual synthesis of the associations between ADHD and non-mental disease across the lifespan. We discuss potential shared pathologic mechanisms, genetic background and treatments in co-occurring diseases. For those co-occurrences for which published studies with sufficient sample sizes exist, meta-analyses have been published by others and we discuss those in detail. We conclude that non-mental diseases are common in ADHD and vice versa and add to the disease burden of the patient across the lifespan. Insufficient attention to such co-occurring conditions may result in missed diagnoses and suboptimal treatment in the affected individuals.

Keywords: Asthma; Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Diabetes mellitus type II; Elimination disorders; Epilepsy; Migraine; Non-mental disease; Obesity; Somatic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / genetics
  • Brain
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Multimorbidity