Does ADHD cause depression? This statistic would suggest that – roughly 30% of those who have been diagnosed with ADHD will likely also have depression or a depressive episode at some point in their lives.
There is plenty of research that points to a strong connection between these two disorders. And while they both can present co-morbidly, there is not much debate on which came first, but rather let’s treat them both.
ADHD comes with behaviors that can make life even more difficult than it already is. In turn, it can take a toll on the individual’s emotional status.
Let’s take a closer look.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts people of all ages – children and adults. Impairments stemming from growth and development can be caused in the brain and central nervous system, thus developing ADHD.
There are three prominent behaviors that are indicative of the disorder, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. A few additional signs of ADHD are:
- Excessive talking
- Inability to concentrate
- Interrupting conversations
- Difficulty sitting still
- Acting before thinking
It is not uncommon for some people to refer to themselves as having ADHD when they feel a bit untethered, but a formal diagnosis is recommended.
Depression goes beyond sadness or feeling blue. It is a mental illness that millions of people wake up to every day. It can feel like a chore just to get out of bed and face all the challenges that lie ahead.
While a professional diagnosis is needed to confirm you are struggling with this disorder, a few key depression symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness or low mood
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Sleep disturbances – either unable to sleep or sleeping too much
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Loss of interest or joy in things once enjoyed
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Thoughts of suicide or death
These symptoms will vary from person to person and can last for days, weeks, months, or years. Sometimes they can be very severe, other days not so much. But either way, depression can interfere with one’s life immensely – especially as it relates to their level of joy and overall satisfaction.
ADHD and Depression: What is the Connection?
Does ADHD cause depression? Because they so commonly occur together, a lot of research has gone into studying the connection between ADHD and depression. Believe it or not, there are actually symptoms of both disorders that overlap, such as:
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling unmotivated or sluggish
- Difficulty focusing
- Negative emotions
- Inability to focus
ADHD can make ordinary, everyday tasks a struggle. Getting through school, making and keeping friendships, maintaining successful relationships, handling work tasks, engaging in social engagements, and so on can be a challenge – often resulting in one blow to self-esteem after the next.
With tasks like focusing, staying organized, and feeling restless plaguing the individual, it is no surprise that a lack of self-confidence, poor self-esteem, and a negative self-image may take over with time.
Feelings of hopelessness abound and depression can result.
So, Does ADHD Cause Depression?
When people ask “Does ADHD cause depression”, the answer is yes – indirectly. There is evidence that one in three people who have ADHD have depression – and it could be because dealing with ADHD is exhausting. Over time, it takes a toll on an individual emotionally, physically, and mentally as there is a constant need to keep everything together while struggling to do so.
So, in an indirect way, perhaps ADHD is responsible for depression in those with both disorders.
Those who have the following seem to be at greater risk:
- Uncontrolled or out-of-control ADHD symptoms
- Feeling misunderstood and alone
- Feeling stigmatized
- Family history of depression
Treating ADHD and Co-Occurring Depression
Seeking treatment is always an excellent – and highly effective – option. You will find that psychotherapy, medication, and mindfulness can all bring relief.
Psychotherapy and Medication
Generally speaking, treating ADHD and depression together is usually approached using a combination of talk therapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven to be quite successful in the management of the condition.
The addition of medication can help to keep symptoms at bay. There are medications available for both ADHD and depression.
Depending on the client, these medicines may be used simultaneously. Or, careful consideration can be used when choosing which one to focus on based on the condition with the most prominent symptoms.
Keep in mind that each medication may not work the way it is intended. For instance, some individuals find that the stimulants used to treat ADHD can aggravate the symptoms of depression. So this will be closely monitored.
Mindfulness techniques are also very helpful in supporting those clients dealing with both conditions – primarily ADHD which, in turn, will relieve the symptoms of depression.
Mindfulness meditation is a workout for the brain. It helps clients learn to control their focus and attention, reducing the mind’s ability to wander. In addition, this stillness makes you more aware of emotions and feelings – and less likely to be impulsive.
The more time spent incorporating these tasks into life, the greater chance you have of getting behaviors and emotions under control.
Struggling with ADHD and Depression? Help is Available
Today may feel like you are climbing uphill barefoot and blindfolded. You may feel defeated before you even start. If you’re asking “does ADHD cause depression”, the good news is that even though ADHD does put you at greater risk for depression, there is a treatment for them both.
At Amend Treatment, you will find everything you need to regain control of your daily life – and the emotions that go along with it. The use of different psychotherapies, as well as practicing mindfulness, can lead to the greatest result.
We are committed to helping you gain the support and the skills you need to gain confident control over your life.
To learn more about what Amend Treatment has to offer, contact us today.