The Link Between Hypermobility and ADHD

ADHD and hypermobility are two conditions that may seem completely unrelated. Surprisingly, research suggests that there is a significant link between ADHD and hypermobility. It turns out that these conditions occur together quite frequently. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the studies exploring the link between the association between hypermobility and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

A blue image with text saying "ADHD and Hypermobility "

What is hypermobility?

Hypermobility is a condition referring to the abnormal ability of a joint. This means that the joint is able to move beyond its normal range of motion.

In particular, this condition is common in children, but can also be seen in adults and can be associated with a variety of symptoms and systemic disorders.

Hypermobility can be seen in disorders such as Hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome (hEDS) [1, 2].

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition.

It can be observed in both children and adults and its symptoms manifest as difficulties with concentration, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms may cause problems with functioning or development in children.

Further, the symptoms of ADHD can negatively impact for instance academic performance, occupational success but also interpersonal relationships [1]. This happens as the individuals with ADHD may have difficulties in performing high cognitive tasks or executive functioning [3].

ADHD is a condition that may also symptoms that are perhaps less known. For example, patients with ADHD may have trouble maintaing eye contact. Fatigue in ADHD is also common.

Interestingly, recent studies have detected a significant association between hypermobility and neurodivergent conditions including ADHD.

For example, a study looking at children with HDS or hEDS found that 16% of these children have been diagnosed with ADHD. In the teenage age group 15-16, the percentage increased to 35% and in the age group 17-18 the prevalence increased to 46% [1].

In a study looking at the adult population, 51% adults with neurodevelopmental conditions, like ADHD, had hypermobility, which in comparison to general population was only 20% [4].

Therefore, from studies like the aforementioned, we can see that there seem to be link between hypermobility and ADHD. The link in particular is believed to be mediated by impaired coordination, proprioception, fatigue, chronic pain and dysautonomia [5].

However, the link between hypermobility and ADHD still needs a wider exploration as the association seems to be more profound in clinical populations rather than non-clinical populations [6].

How Do Hypermobility and ADHD Affect Daily Life?

The question now lays, how does the combination of hypermobility and ADHD impact daily life?

Recent research has highlighted an unexpected association between these two conditions, suggesting that they may interact in ways that can exacerbate their effects on daily life [5].

The presence of ADHD can make it hard to manage the symptoms of hypermobility. It is harder for individuals with ADHD to adapt their activities to another condition like hypermobility which can potentially lead to increased disability [7].

In conclusion, both hypermobility and ADHD can significantly impact daily life, and their coexistence can potentially lead to greater challenges. However, with appropriate management strategies, individuals with these conditions can lead fulfilling lives.

Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.