ADHD and Depression

ADHD and Depression

Studies have shown that children with ADHD have a much larger risk of developing depression, as well as other serious mental health disorders. As ADHD is a chronic condition, co-occurring ADHD and depression is also prominent in the adult population.

The characteristics of ADHD are behaviors of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. ADHD is not caused by a lack of discipline, but rather by an imbalance or impairment of neurotransmitter activity. The illness cannot be cured, but can be managed to where an individual can live a relatively normal life with limited interference from the disorder.

The Relationship between ADHD and Depression

There are several reasons that support the close relationship between ADHD, depression and other mood disorders. First, living with ADHD makes everyday life more difficult. The symptoms of the disorder affect everything from sleep to concentration to social exchanges, and these interferences make life more difficult, especially for children. Common tasks and social activities are greatly affected when an individual is easily distracted, has difficulty processing information, needs to be in constant motion or has little or no restraint when it comes to impulsively blurting out thoughts, expressing emotions or acting without regard for consequences. As a result, individuals with ADHD are more likely to face challenges like social isolation, loneliness, problems at work or school, unemployment, conflict with others and feelings of unhappiness, frustration, guilt, shame, anger and helplessness. The social and interpersonal challenges of living with ADHD can take a deep emotional toll on any person, especially a child or adolescent. These issues increase the risk for development of depression and other mental health disorders.

In addition, the chemical imbalances and interferences responsible for causing ADHD can also contribute to the development of depression and other mood disorders. The biochemical process of depression has much to do with imbalances of neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine and serotonin, which is also the case for ADHD.

Lastly, ADHD medication can also contribute to the development of depression because it too chemically alters the brain. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD are often prescribed to medications, including Ritalin or Adderall. Long-term use or abuse of these stimulant prescription drugs can trigger depression, anxiety, aggression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.

Treating Co-Occurring ADHD and Depression

Professionals understand the prevalence of co-occurring ADHD and depression, and there are many opportunities for treatment. By learning to manage ADHD, people can limit the risk for triggering a depressive episode.

Treating co-occurring disorders is complex. While medication can alleviate symptoms of both disorders, there are other treatment options available that will work to address the root cause of the problem, instead of treating just the symptoms of the disorder. Non-addictive treatment options can teach a person how to manage both ADHD and depression without having to rely solely on medications that may contribute to the problem and cause drug dependence or addiction.

Talk to a Professional about Treating ADHD and Depression

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is struggling with ADHD and depression, please call our toll-free number for help. Our recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment and recovery options that will work for you. Recovery professionals are ready to listen to your concerns, answer any questions you have and provide you with the information you need on treating co-occurring ADHD and depression or other mood disorders. Whether you still have questions or are ready to find treatment today, we can help.