First Cousins and Co-Morbidity

 
Many neuro-biological disorders have been delineated, each being recognized as a specific condition. Often, the conditions are characterized as either “behavioral” or “emotional” disorders, a situation that is quite confusing and disintegrating. Accordingly, the most common of the “behavior disorders” are: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and its closely related neighbor, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Among those conditions considered an “emotional disorder” are: Bi-Polar Disorder (formerly known as Manic-Depressive Disorder) and the various Depressive and Anxiety states. To further complicate the picture, there is Tourette Syndrome (TS), which traditionally stood alone as a distinct and separate diagnostic condition. Diagnosing TS and another neuro-biological disorder in the same person did not occur. Actually, with most of these conditions, each disorder stood apart from the others. The reality is such, however, that there is significant overlap among these "first cousins,” meaning that there is a close, familial relationship among them.  
 
A primary diagnosis is necessary for medical treatment; it provides a direction. Unfortunately, these disorders tend, more often than not, to congregate. Accordingly, someone with a single disorder is rare if such a condition actually appears at all. It's safe to assume that if you have one of the "cousins," that there are others involved with the clinical picture as well. This overlapping or melding of symptoms from various disorders is known as co-morbidity (e.g. TS/ADHD/OCD). 
 
Each person with a neuro-biological disorder is a unique case. Sure, we're all unique in our own way, but this is a more specific distinction. One person's TS is not another's; one's co-morbidity with ADHD is not another's. Each individual's circumstance is unique to the degree that even medical intervention is not and cannot be identical or even similar. Medication that may work for me won't for you, and a dosage that's appropriate for me (assuming we're using the same meds) may not be for you. Additionally, due to the interaction of some medications, certain co-morbid conditions prohibit simultaneous treatment.

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