Friday, March 1, 2013

Is There A Link Between ADHD and Depression in Adults?

ADHD adults struggle with self-regulation. Individuals with ADHD find it difficult to focus their attention on one thing at a time. This is especially true when the subject of their focus seems trivial, meaningless, or boring. On the other hand if a person with ADHD finds a subject interesting they may become overly fixated to a point where they may appear obsessed.

Let's look at nine common ADHD symptoms:

Inability to focus attention; makes careless mistakes; tends to be very forgetful; becomes distracted easily; fails to listen when spoken to; often losses items needed to complete projects and tasks; ignores instructions; is known for starting projects but not finishing them; and shies away from projects that require a higher level of mental effort.

It should be pointed out that just because a person has one or two of the symptoms above doesn't necessarily mean they have ADHD. In fact, most ADHD professionals will only prescribe medication if six of the nine symptoms listed above have been present for more than three months. That said, this generalized rule is not necessarily written in stone especially when inattention is obvious.

But while ADHD seems miles away from depression it really isn't since the life of an ADHD adult can be filled with failure. This is backed by numerous studies showing those attention deficit hyperactivity disorder make substantially less money, have a higher divorce rate, struggle in social settings, are more prone to drug abuse, and tend to change jobs more often than the general population. Put simply they have a tendency to struggle with life created a fertile ground for depression to flourish.

Note: It should not be ignored that depression can be a side effect of adult ADHD stimulant medication. These popular medications have been shown to aggravate depression and increase mania.

Depression is different from feeling bummed out from time to time which some refer to as the 'Blues". As bad as the 'Blues' may seem they are normal and nothing more than a transitory feeling of sadness or demoralization during challenging times. Depression on the other hand is an illness and is only deemed to be present when a person cannot snap out of, or get over, such feelings within a reasonable period of time, say, two or three weeks. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness that refuses to disappear even when a conscious effort to vanquish it is made.

Some of the major symptoms of depression are changes in sleep patterns; insomnia; feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness; chances in appetite leading to significant weight loss or weight gain; fatigue; feelings of guilt; loss of interest in activities which formally seemed enjoyable; and the worst symptom of all linked to depression is suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

In conclusion, when you compare the symptoms of depression listed above to the secondary symptoms of ADHD such as worry, boredom, loss of motivation, frustration, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and hopelessness it is easy to see how ADHD and depression could be more closely related than what one might first think. In fact, these two conditions co-exist quite often making arriving at a correct diagnosis for either very challenging.

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