Enuresis and ADHD

Enuresis is a very widespread problem among children and so is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (often abbreviated to ADHD or AD/HD). ADHD is a very widespread disorder with both developmental as well as behavioral manifestations. ADHD is characterized by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness that are inappropriate for the childs age.

Both children as well as adults who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are “easily distracted by sights and sounds in their environment, cannot concentrate for long periods of time, are restless and impulsive, or have a tendency to daydream and be slow to completes tasks”. It is estimated that approximately three to five percent of children of school age suffer from either attention deficit order, hyperactivity or a combination thereof.

More Common Enuresis

Enuresis is more common in children who suffer from ADHD than it is in the general population. While most of these children note that the incidence of bed wetting has decreased dramatically or halted all together by the time they are seventeen or eighteen years old, many still suffer from problems of impulsivity, inattention and a problem with organizational skills well into their adult lives.

Children who suffer from ADHD and also enuresis generally have a more difficult time adjusting and coping with both problems then do children who just experience enuresis. This often goes for then parents who care for them as well.

A child who only experiences enuresis and not ADHD often responds more favorably to behavioral modes of treatment and is not ridiculed or treated as badly by his or her peers.

Shame and Rejection

Often an ADHD youngster is already aware that he is different from his peers and therefore his impulsive tendencies as well as his inattention and disorganization cause him to be rejected further. As well his shame because of his bed wetting is magnified when he suffers from ADHD.

One problem is difficult enough for a child to cope with but more than one can cause multiple problems in a childs life and is likely to affect his developing sense of self even more.

A child who has both enuresis and ADHD should be taken to the doctor for a thorough physical exam. Behavioral treatments often work well for children who suffer from both problems however avoid anything with negative or punitive consequences. Children with combined enuresis and ADHD suffer enough teasing and ridicule from their peers that they dont need anymore from their doctor or their loved ones.


When it comes to treating both disorders there are both behavioral techniques as well as medical treatments. It may be necessary to prioritize which symptoms of which disorder are the most serious and need to be addressed first.

It is also important to think of back up treatment plans if the first one you undertake does not work. This is often the case in many situations. Be aware that some medications prescribed for ADHD can make enuresis worse.

Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) has been known to improve bed wetting in some bed wetting children and teenagers while tricyclic depressants (such as Tofranil) work better for others.