ADHD And Depression

Are ADHD And Depression Connected?

There is a link between ADHD and depression. Specifically, 30% of children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also suffer from depression.

In addition, children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are 3 times as likely to develop depression and other mood disorders.

These co-occurring or coexisting conditions have symptoms that may often overlap such as restlessness and anxiety. However, they are distinct illnesses with their own clear diagnostic criteria.

For the dually diagnosed population, suffering from two or more conditions can feel like a potentially overwhelming “double or triple whammy.”

Such frustration results from facing multiple challenges. In fact, the long-term outcomes for children and adults suffering from multiple disorders are worse than for those who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder alone.

As a result, it is important for ADHD sufferers to understand the ADHD depression connection, to be able to recognize the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders and seek additional treatment if necessary.


Symptoms Of Depression

There are many signs of depression, ranging from the obvious forms of “feeling down” to other less obvious symptoms. Everyone has normal ups and downs, but what differentiates clinical depression is the duration and severity of the symptoms, which can last for months and years.

adhd and depression

Signs of depression include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, guilty feelings, pessimistic ideations regarding the future, concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, tiredness or fatigue, and sleep disturbances including insomnia or sleeping too much.

Other common symptoms of depression may include loss of appetite or overeating, agitation or irritability, feeling restless, losing interest in activities that were once pleasurable, diminished interest in friends and family, persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, headaches, stomach aches, and other physical complaints.


ADHD And Depression: The Diagnostic Process 

If you experience the symptoms of depression listed above, make an appointment with your local mental health provider. Depression is diagnosed by a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist (clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor) via a clinical interview in order to glean necessary info. This includes inquiring about when the symptoms first started, the severity, and how long these feelings have persisted.

In addition, they will likely inquire about family history regarding mental health, past trauma or abuse, substance abuse, etc. Depression is diagnosed via the diagnostic criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM.

If you are diagnosed with depresion, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Depression is very common; studies show that six to 12 percent of Americans are diagnosed with depression, and many more than that remain undiagnosed.

Note: If you feel like you may harm yourself or others, call 911 or proceed straight to the nearest hospital emergency room in order to get assessed and stabilized


Depression Treatment

Depression treatment usually includes psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. According to the research, therapy in combination with medication is more effective than either therapy or medication individually.




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