Mental Health

Is It ADHD or Depression?

Image Source : Inside the ADHD mind

Conditions that can and sometimes co-occur are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression. It is estimated that depression is 2.7 times more common in adults with ADHD than in the adult population in general. Studies also indicate that about 30 percent of persons with ADHD in their lives will experience a depressive episode or have a mood disorder. What’s more, people with ADHD and depression encounter symptoms more acutely than what would be present if they had only one diagnosis for each condition. For those with ADHD and depression, it is extremely important to ensure that all disorders are adequately handled and that ADHD is diagnosed and treated in particular, as it can have a huge effect on how depression manifests. Getting ADHD puts you at risk of depression four times over. For hyperactive/impulsive types, who are often at higher risk of suicide, the risk is even greater. All the challenges that symptoms of ADHD can bring, such as school issues, relationships, jobs, executive functions, and daily life demands, can lead individuals with the disorder to feel sometimes not good about themselves, making them vulnerable to low self-esteem and negative self-concept.

In these situations, ensuring that ADHD is adequately handled and treated can be essential to lifting depression. But 25 percent of adults with the condition have not received sufficient ADHD care, by some reports. Dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for motivation and involved in reward processes and moods, is dysregulated in ADHD brains. People with ADHD may not have access to the dopamine levels that are due to this dysregulation from their neurotypical peers, making it more challenging to grasp motivation and reward, and putting them at risk of not feeling their best.

People with ADHD are more susceptible to emotional dysregulation than non-ADHD peers, and they can and sometimes feel emotions more strongly. Individuals with ADHD can take longer to calm down from difficult feelings, and can have a harder time getting out of them and removing themselves from them, all of which can lead to depression. ADHD never flies on its own. A large number of individuals with ADHD, be it depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, binge eating disorder, drug abuse disorder, or learning impairment, have a comorbid or related disorder. ADHD plus anything else of course, can also put you more at risk for depression. For example a person with ADHD and OCD needs to work through a difficult mix of situations. They can feel continuously tormented in their minds and ruminate on several different things that can cause them to shut down and feel powerless.

Whether or not depression is a product of ADHD, the fact that the person is still experiencing depression is not taken away. Although medical professionals consider some variables when treating both conditions, such as how medicines for ADHD and antidepressants can interact with each other, depression is typically treated as its own disorder. The primary treatment for extreme depression is antidepressants that tend to raise levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and/or norepinephrine. Doctors can also recommend an antidepressant if through behavioral changes and ADHD therapy, mild to moderate depression remains. Alongside ADHD stimulant meds, as well as with the nonstimulant Strattera (atomoxetine), most antidepressants function well while slight improvements might need to be produced. Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant that may help with ADHD as well.

Much of the time, with the first antidepressant attempted, depression greatly improves. If it doesn’t fit, it’s likely a second one would. Around half of those taking antidepressants gain full relief from the effects of depression. In treating depression, meditation also has its place. Keep your eyes closed, sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. Repeat a one-syllable word softly every time you exhale, “one or “peace” or “om.” Do this for a minute or so, or do it for 10 to 20 seconds if you have difficulty going from one task to another.

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Categories: Mental Health