Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that manifests itself through hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, or a combination. ADHD might make it difficult for you to focus at school or work, leading to complications like social ostracism or relationship difficulties.
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Depression, on the other hand, is a serious mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. It can manifest as intense feelings of loneliness, sadness, or a lack of interest in things you otherwise enjoy.
Although ADHD and depression are two different conditions, they sometimes tend to overlap. If you have both ADHD and depression, you might be wondering what it means for you and how you can make it better. This article unpacks for you both ADHD and depression among adults.
Overlap Between ADHD and Depression
People with ADHD are highly likely to develop depression or other types of mental conditions like anxiety disorder. Often, this is linked to the stress that people with ADHD experience because of the challenges that come with the medical condition.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests that about half of all adults living with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. ADHD cases in adults have also been found to be higher in people suffering from other conditions like chronic depression, comorbid anxiety, or severe depression.
The Medication Effect
The medication that you use to treat ADHD can have its side effects. In some cases, it can worsen the symptoms of depression or cause you to develop symptoms that manifest like depression.
This can make it difficult for your physician to identify the two conditions and treat them separately and properly. However, while depression can be episodic, ADHD is a lifelong disorder. If you think your ADHD medication is causing symptoms of depression, you should talk to your physician.
Signs and symptoms
Some common signs of depression include irritability, eating too much or too little, trouble sleeping, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and lack of interest.
Common symptoms of ADHD in adults include impulsiveness, poor planning, trouble multitasking, mood swings, trouble concentrating, restlessness, and inability to complete tasks.
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ADHD and depression share some symptoms such as loss of motivation and difficulty concentrating. However, these symptoms manifest for different reasons in ADHD and depression. For instance, if you have ADHD, you may lack motivation because you have trouble concentrating. On the other hand, if you have depression, you may lack motivation because you feel there is no purpose.
Signs that can show you have both depression and ADHD include:
- Trouble remaining focused
- Too much attention to one activity
- Anger and frustration
While you may experience these symptoms when you have ADHD without depression, it may be hard to tell if you have ADHD with depression.
If you suspect that you have depression or ADHD, you should seek professional help. The specialist you talk to will ensure a correct diagnosis and recommend effective treatment.
For depression, they will ask questions about your symptoms and history. They may also order a blood test or conduct a physical examination to rule out other causes and diseases.
On the other hand, the diagnosis of ADHD involves the specialist conducting a diagnostic evaluation. These evaluations may include a symptoms checklist, a detailed history of functioning, standardized behavioral rating scales, and information from family or people who know you well.
Standard treatment for ADHD in adults involves skills training, medication, and psychological counseling. Psychotherapy may be either cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, or both. A combination of these treatments may be more effective, depending on your diagnosis.
Although these treatments do not cure ADHD, they can help you manage the symptoms and enable you to live a more fulfilling life.
Treatment options for depression mostly involve managing the symptoms. This can be through psychotherapy, drug treatment, and support. Medics may prescribe antidepressant medication for moderate to severe depression.
Psychotherapy for depression includes interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, problem-solving, among others. Your doctor may also recommend supplements, exercise, and diet to manage depression.
Depression and ADHD cases in adults have been on the rise in the recent past. While these are two different conditions, we have established they can co-exist, and in some cases, one may worsen the symptoms of the other.
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However, early on, an appropriate diagnosis may help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of developing depression if you already have ADHD. Since the two can easily overlap, consult a licensed doctor if you think you have either or both. This way, you will receive proper personalized help based on your situation.
At EZCare Clinic, we have ADHD doctors licensed to practice in the state of California who is very willing to help you.
Call us today at (415) 966-0848 or schedule an appointment online to talk to a professional at our clinic.