ADHD and Depression

ADHD and Depression

Everyone is affected by feelings of sadness or depression from time to time. But, when the emotions are such that the person is unable to function, they could have a diagnosis of depression disorder. Depressive disorders are defined by the presence of depressed and irritable or empty moods that hamper the person’s ability to participate in daily activities.


In time, children who have ADHD can become angry and demoralized by their symptoms. They might experience feelings of having no control over what happens in their surroundings or feel depressed when they endure repeated failures or negative interactions at schools, at home and in other environments. When these experiences become more negative, the child with ADHD might feel depressed. Usually, in these scenarios, ADHD symptoms are first noticed, and depression is later. The negative reactions seen are quite common for people with ADHD, and certain experts say that 70 per cent of people with ADHD are treated for depression at one moment throughout their lives.

As well as being depressed or demoralized because of ADHD, Children could also suffer from depressive disorder. Studies have shown that 10-30% of children with ADHD could also have a serious mood disorder similar to major depression. However, the overlap of symptoms usually makes this condition (major depression) more difficult to identify.

For example, physical disturbances (or overactivity) and low levels of concentration are indicators of both ADHD as well as depression. If a child exhibits these signs and symptoms and appears to be depressed, hopeless, or even suicidal, a doctor may think about the possibility of diagnosing major depression. In these cases, it is essential to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine and treat the symptoms.

The prevalence of depression in children who have ADHD is also affected due to the existence of co-existing disorders. In children with ADHD and the disorder of oppositional defiant (ODD/CD) or Conduct disorder (ODD/CD), the rates of depression are significantly higher.


Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition, symptoms of major depression are the following. Of which, one of the two symptoms must be present, and at least five in 2 weeks:

  • depression for the majority times of the time, almost all-day
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment from the majority of activities
  • notable weight loss gain or weight loss
  • Sleepiness during the day or insomnia
  • A series of involuntary or unintentional movements, like hand wringing, pacing or any other similar actions

It is important to note that the criteria used to decide on depression are based on the symptoms seen in adults, and children might not be afflicted with depression similarly. Most doctors will notice hyperactivity or irritability as primary signs in children suffering from depression, and a thorough examination should be performed.


Treatment of children suffering from ADHD and depression includes taking care of those symptoms that are associated with ADHD and minimizing the effects of environmental traumas that have a significant effect on self-esteem. Individual psychotherapy for a person suffering from ADHD and depression can help the person articulate and process the feelings of others and develop appropriate coping techniques. Cognitive therapy can assist in resolving negative thoughts, leading to an optimistic outlook and response to events. Family counselling sessions can lead to everyone being aware of ADHD signs and behaviors and also provide the opportunity to discuss the issues of parenting or marriage. Behavior intervention programs that positively reinforce the appropriate behavior can also affect the person’s self-confidence.

Therapy is the process of talking with a therapist, psychiatrist or mental health professional regarding the issues affecting a person’s life and their family. The goal of therapy is to lessen suffering and help a person return to normal levels of functioning. The treatments for depression are Cognitive, behavioral, family or interpersonal, or school-based mental health programs. Behavioral therapy concentrates on current behaviors and methods to alter them. Cognitive therapy is focused on changing negative thinking and thinking patterns, while interpersonal (family) therapy is focused on family issues and relationships.

It is vital to ensure that you engage with a therapist with experience in ADHD and depression when pursuing an approach to treatment. Alongside these different methods, medications may be required to alleviate symptoms of ADHD or depression, or sometimes it is necessary to treat both disorders. If medication is used, they must always be a part of the comprehensive treatment plan, together with therapy.

Before initiating treatment, when a doctor is recommending treatment, the physician must first try to determine the most prevalent symptoms and having the greatest influence before prescribing any medication. If symptoms related to ADHD are more pronounced in the treatment process, guidelines suggest that medications for this disorder are given first. If the symptoms of depression are more pronounced, they may have to be addressed, too. In certain instances, depression medications may be prescribed as an addition to those prescribed for treating ADHD. In these instances, it is recommended to use antidepressants cautiously and be closely monitored for the first few months, particularly in children and adolescents.

Presently, there are over 20 antidepressants for treating this disease. Some antidepressants should not be used for children younger than 18 years old. Some have a black box warning due to increased suicidal behavior reported in children. It is essential to monitor your child closely when taking any antidepressant-related medication, which is no exception. Any deterioration of symptoms or the emergence of new symptoms must be reported promptly to the physician who prescribed your medication.

Additionally, ADHD medications and antidepressants can be prescribed for both conditions under the supervision of the doctor or the therapist. The typical approach is to begin with one medication solely to address the least severe problem and, after establishing efficacy, move on to treat the second disorder with the appropriate medication, if required.

Recognizing and treating co-occurring depression and ADHD is extremely complicated and challenging. Many factors have to be considered. Patients who struggle in the area of ADHD and depression could get the following guidelines:

  • Seek out an expert in mental health, for example, a psychiatrist or psychologist
  • Make sure you seek two different opinions if you’re uncertain about the right path when choosing the best treatment
  • Choose a therapist who is experienced in diagnosing and treating both of these conditions
  • It is important to recognize that depression that involves suicidal ideas or plans must be considered very serious.
  • Find out all possible about the diseases and how they are treated.

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