Can Depression Be a Symptom of ADHD?

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Researchers are seeing a link between depression and undiagnosed ADHD.

We all know how difficult a disorder like Depression can be. For the people who are affected by it, it can be almost crippling. In the past year, however, many people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes and are struggling to cope have been dealing with depression, feeling of worthlessness and many have lost any sense of optimism that things will get better.

While they are going through all of this, they still have to muster up the energy and focus needed to continue their job search. It's difficult and as a result, people who had been able to cope previously are starting to break and seek professional help.

As they do, an interesting picture is starting to appear.

Many people who are showing signs of depression actually have been struggling with undiagnosed ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder is characterised by difficulty focusing and causes the people dealing with it to have constant struggles.

During the current tough economic climate, people who have had trouble focusing at work, who often miss deadlines, overlook details and are seen as "flighty" are often among the first group of employees to be laid off or fired. As they continue to look for a new job, the financial pressure can make their symptoms worse. Even if they are eligible for unemployment benefits, they have to be able to deal with the paperwork and meet deadlines in order to receive that money. Added to that, they run the risk of being overwhelmed by their job search.

As they experience failures that they believe are because they aren't good enough, or that they think are just what they deserve for not getting things done correctly, they begin to exhibit all of the signs of depression. As their depression worsens, they might seek professional help. This is where the correct diagnosis can make a world of difference.

What makes it tricky is that on the surface, depression and ADHD have a lot on common. Both disorders cause people to have difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating and the inability to initiate new projects. They both often cause mood changes and irritability.

However, when you look deeper, the two are very different. Depression tends to come and go, and most people who suffer from depression have long stretches of time when they aren't depressed at all. With ADHD, the symptoms are lifelong and have existed across all aspects of a persons life.

People who are depressed typically don't enjoy things as much as they used to. They tend to lose interest in friends and activities they once loved. They might feel sad and empty. They don't "feel like themselves". They don't sleep as much, or they sleep much more than usual. Their memory and concentration suffers.

But for people with ADHD, it isn't that they don't enjoy things as much as they once did, it is more about feeling worthless and feeling as though they are a failure. ADHD symptoms typcially include not paying attention to details, making careless mistakes at work, being easily distracted, not finishing chores or work responsibilities, forgetting to bring necesary supplies and difficulty organizing activities.

This causes adults who have been coping with these symptoms to feel as though the bad things that are happening to them right now are a direct result of their actions. They feel that if only they had tried harder, then they wouldn't be in this situation, which, naturally, causes feelings of worthlessness, despair and depression.

If you think you, or someone you love, is dealing with depression as a result of undiagnosed ADHD, here are some things you can do:

  • Encourage them to get help - The first step is to seek out help. Having a correct diagnosis and getting appropriate treatment for ADHD could potentially turn the depression around and make things a little better.

  • Remember that life will improve - With treatment, people can become optimistic about the future again. It doesn't have to be this way forever.

  • Take action - The sneaky thing about depression is it robs people of their motivation to do anything to change their situation. It makes it hard to ask for help, to make changes and work toward a solution. The important thing is to take action, even if you don't want to, don't feel like or don't think it will help. If there is a chance that treatment could make a difference, it's worth looking into.

Have you dealt with depression or ADHD? Do you think these two disorders are often misdiagnosed? Let me know what you think in the comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for HealthcareJobsiteBlog and Nexxt.. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.


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