Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a form of anxiety that occurs after a traumatic event. The severity of PTSD depends not on the event but on the individual’s perception of the event. Traumatic events vary from losing a job, being involved in an accident, sexual abuse, or natural disasters, such as, earthquakes or witnessing war. PTSD is a condition that frequently co-exists with ADD. In fact, Dr Hallowell believes most ADHD adults have a mild form of PTSD because if left unmanaged ADD can mean repeated traumas, humiliation, rejection and failures.
ADHD and PTSD can look similar, so check this article out. As it explains the similarities and differences of the 2 conditions.
Having ADD can also increase the likelihood of developing PTSD, as an ADHDer can put themselves in situations that can cause trauma. For example, the Hyperactive and impulsive ADHDers are looking for stimulus and excitement without thinking of possible negative consequences. While the inattentive ADHDer might not notice the early warning signs that would have alerted them to get out of a particular situation.
If you have ADHD and PTSD here is what to do:
1) If your PTSD is severe, get professional help straight away. Trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy is very helpful. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and relaxation techniques are very helpful too. Medication might be prescribed for secondary symptoms e.g.depression. Remember there is no shame in seeking help.
2) If you feel that your PTSD is because of your life with ADHD, then you might decide to treat your ADHD first. By managing your ADHD, your chances of experiencing traumatic events will be reduced (if in doubt speak to your doctor).
The ADHD book ‘Untapped Brilliance, How to Reach your Full Potential as an Adult with ADHD’ also a great resource to learn how to manage your adult ADHD.