ADHD & Depression

Roost Fall CreekAs promised, I have been searching the World Wide Web to seek out information on ADHD and depression. I want to make sure that all the information that is quoted from websites is NOT written by me, NOR do I claim any rights on them. I will always provide the link to the complete website.

I may add my own experiences and opinions, as it is my blog.

Please feel free to respond. If you are not sure how to do so, check the “About commenting” link on the right side of this site. Spam will NOT be posted so don’t bother… Thanks for your interest!The following quotes are taken from

One out of every four adults with ADD/ADHD also suffers from symptoms of depression. When there are co-existing conditions, it can be harder to diagnose and treat ADHD. The symptoms may overlap and one of the conditions may not be accurately diagnosed. Or medication may not be as effective.

Previously, depression in patients with ADHD was thought to be situational and it was assumed that the depression was a result of constant failure or the inability to compensate for symptoms of ADHD in daily life. Because of this, depression was often ignored and ADHD was treated, assuming that the depression would disappear when the ADHD was controlled and treated. Research has now shown that ADHD and depression are separate diagnoses and both should be treated.

Medication for ADHD can interfere with the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Medications for ADHD sometimes mimic the symptoms of depression and sometimes exacerbate symptoms of depression (and bipolar disorder). This can make it hard to distinguish which symptoms are caused by clinical depression and which symptoms are caused by the medication. Often doctors will treat the depression first and once those symptoms are under control, they will treat the ADHD. Depression, therefore, becomes the primary diagnosis and ADHD the secondary. Some doctors, however, believe that in order for treatment to be effective, both conditions must be treated simultaneously. Arguments for this method believe that in order for either condition to be under control, both must be under control.

The following quotes come from

In fact, major depression is estimated to be 2.7 times more prevalent among adults with ADHD than among the general adult population. (That’s not surprising, since the same neurobiological systems that control attention also control mood.) A mild form of depression, known as dysthymia, is a whopping 7.5 times more common.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that effective remedies for depression are readily available, and that they work just as well for adults with ADD as they do for others. Of course, it can take a while to find the right types of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle strategies.

Differentiating ADHD from depression can be difficult because both disorders bring mood problems, forgetfulness, an inability to focus, and a lack of motivation. There are, however, subtle distinctions between ADHD-induced symptoms and those caused by depression.

One distinction involves emotions. ADHD can cause dark moods, but these are usually linked to a specific setback. The bad feelings tend to be transient. An ADDer may descend to the depths for an hour or two, but then moves on.

In contrast, mood problems associated with depression are generally pervasive and chronic, often lasting weeks or months. And, unlike the bad feelings caused by ADHD (which often began showing up in childhood), depression typically doesn’t develop until adolescence or later.

Sleeplessness is another symptom common to both depression and ADHD. Yet the pattern of insomnia differs between the two disorders. With ADHD, the problem usually occurs while falling asleep; the mind refuses to “turn off,” and keeps adding things to the next day’s to-do list.

In contrast, people who are depressed tend to fall asleep readily, but wake up repeatedly during the night (and early in the morning). At each awakening, the mind is filled with negative or anxious thoughts.

I wish I could fall asleep readily. But YES I do wake up repeatedly and early, feeling weird and at times even scared at times. Or angry. Or sweaty and shocked.

The next quote comes from

Adults have lived longer than children, and thus have had more time to develop other psychiatric disorders. In children with AD/HD, the existence of a comorbid condition is correlated with greater likelihood that the symptoms will persist into adulthood. As the child moves from adolescence to adulthood, the predominant symptoms of AD/HD tend to shift from external, visible ones to the internal symptoms.  There seems to be a decrease in observable symptoms of AD/HD with age. Although a given adult may not meet DSM-IV criteria for full AD/HD any longer, he or she may still experience impairment in certain aspects of life. The individual’s perception of his or her degree of impairment can vary. Depending on occupation or domestic situation, the adult may need to deal with higher-level issues that involve executive function.

There has been increasing awareness that many adults and children with AD/HD may also meet criteria for one or more other psychiatric diagnoses. (Comorbidity means having two or more diagnosable conditions at the same time) There is some evidence that the incidence of comorbidity is somewhat higher in adults than in children. However, many of the studies looking at the issue of comorbidity are difficult to compare. Studies used different criteria for AD/HD and bipolar disorder, and sometimes got their subjects from different populations. For example, one might expect to see more complex types of AD/HD in specialized hospital clinics than one would see in a door-to-door survey or in a primary care physician’s office. Despite the differing criteria across studies, and the lack of large general population studies of adult AD/HD, there still convincing data that several other psychiatric diagnoses are common among adults with AD/HD.

These are just some quotes on the subject of ADHD and depression. If you are interested, please use your favorite search engine to search on these subjects. Thanks for your interest. 🙂

~ by Lonely Wallflower on May 15, 2010.

5 Responses to “ADHD & Depression”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr. ADD. Dr. ADD said: ADHD & Depression « Lonely Wallflower's Blog […]

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  3. […] ADHD & Depression – May 15th 2010 […]

  4. Great information!
    We talk about these subjects everyday for business reasons and for work reasons, because “I”personally work for the educational system, directly with a lot of kids diagnosed ADHD. We never stop learning. I think that every person and every piece of information bring its own perspective. It is like a huge collective brainstorming session for all to benefit from.
    Thank you

  5. First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick
    question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    thoughts before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

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