It is common for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression to co-exist in an individual. Also known as comorbidity, one can experience a combination of symptoms from ADHD and depression at the same time. ADHD is a brain disorder that affects both children and adults and makes it difficult for them to keep their focus. Depression is the persistent feeling of deep sadness or emptiness that lasts at least 2 weeks, making daily functioning a challenge. Read on to find out more about how ADHD and depression are related and treated.
The Relationship Between ADHD and Depression
As mentioned above, ADHD and depression may share many symptoms, and this makes it harder to diagnose and treat them. One example is the inability to focus on tasks, which is associated with both ADHD and depression. Medications that help to treat ADHD may result in side effects pertaining to appetite and sleep, which may also look like symptoms of depression. Moreover, children who are hyperactive or easily irritable could have either ADHD or depression.
ADHD patients are more susceptible to developing depression, especially if they are experiencing difficulties in coping with their ADHD. Children who are unable to get along with schoolmates or adults who have trouble relating to colleagues can lead to social isolation and feelings of dejectedness and hopelessness – signs of depression.
Whilst professionals are often unsure of the exact cause of ADHD or depression, there is evidence linking both conditions to family history. Individuals with ADHD or depression usually have another family member with the condition.
ADHD and Depression Diagnosis and Treatments
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from ADHD, depression, or both, the first step is to take it up with your GP PCP. Whilst they are unable to provide a diagnosis, they can refer the patient to a psychiatrist or other health care provider with the qualifications to perform a neuropsychological assessment.
The health care specialist would likely conduct a physical examination to rule out any physical conditions, as well as an interview to evaluate the severity of the symptoms. Because ADHD and depression comorbidity are difficult to diagnose, some patients may benefit from having a second opinion.