Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and Mood Disorders

Sluggish Cogntive Tempo Norway study

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and Mood Disorders

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and mood disorders are thought to be related but the relationship is not entirely clear.  Before the American Psychiatric Association can designate Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) a new disorder in the revised Diagnostic manual of psychiatric diseases, the DSM-V, due to be published in February of 2013, the question of the relationship of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo symptoms, symptoms of ADHD Inattentive and the symptoms of mood disorders will have to be answered.

As you may recall, a study performed at the University of Alabama found that there was no relationship in children with ADHD and SCT symptoms and an increased rate of mood disorders. A new study just published in the journal of Abnormal Child Psychology however, disputes these finding.

This new study, performed in Norway found that kids with ADHD and anxiety had higher rates of SCT symptoms than did kids with just ADHD or kids with just anxiety. The findings may not be as different as they seem at first glance. The groups that were studied were different. In the Alabama study, the kids all had been diagnosed with ADHD whereas in the Norway study there were ADHD kids as well as kids diagnosed with just Anxiety disorders.

We know from experience and observation that kids with ADHD and any other co-morbid disorder will have more severe inattention so it should not surprise us that that kids with SCT symptoms, ADHD symptoms and anxiety symptoms will be the most sluggish. It would seem obvious to me that the burden of the multiple diagnoses would worsen the symptoms of all of them.

I am not certain that the Norway study answers the question of mood disorders causing the sluggishness of ADHD but it did find, not surprisingly, that SCT symptoms were highly correlated with Inattentiveness and also that SCT symptoms were correlated with spatial working memory problems. In this regard, the problems seen in people with Inattentive ADHD and in people with Sluggish Cognitive Tempo are similar.

A surprising finding from the Norway study was that SCT symptoms were not associated with slower reaction times. These findings throw a wrench in the diagnosis wheel of SCT as slow reaction time is one of the hallmark symptoms used to describe people with these sluggish symptoms.

The relationship between mood disorders, ADHD Inattentive and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo symptoms is still unclear. More studies are needed to fully understand the relationship between Inattentive ADHD, Sluggish Cognitive Tempo symptoms and the symptoms of mood disorders.

The Relationship Between Sluggish Cognitive Tempo,... [J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011] - PubMed result

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