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ADHD and Depression

Eileen Rosewater

mount st. mary's university campus

Now that I have only a few more posts for this semester, I will be moving on from my focus on Learning Disabilities to Mental Health. This is another topic that is very near and dear to me and something that needs to be talked about. While ADHD and depression are not usually thought of as being grouped together, there is a connection between the two. It is important to understand the connection between these two things.

ADHD and depression share some of the same symptoms that can make diagnoses tricky. According to Dr. Laurie H.C. Phillipps of NeuroHealth, some of the symptoms these two conditions have in common are: 

1. trouble focusing 

2. irritability/hyperactivity 

3. restlessness/fatigue 

Some medications that are taken by people with ADHD can also spark symptoms of depression such as loss of appetite, mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, and sleep interruptions. Some medications taken for depression have been known to ease ADHD symptoms as well. Whichever condition is affecting the person more intensely should be the one they get help with first. A lot of times when one of these conditions is treated properly, the symptoms of the other condition lessen too.

In the school setting, both ADHD and depression can cause a lack of motivation to do work or create a sense of hopelessness in a person. I would know, as I have spent a fair share of my time in school battling both ADHD and Depression. Just like anything else in life, never giving up is the key. If one medication doesn't work for you, then explore more options. Therapy has always been my first choice of treatment. It's actually where I first discovered that there is a link between the two conditions. By talking with a professional and learning about how my conditions are connected and how they affect one another, I was then able to take the necessary steps to ease both conditions and get back to living my life like I used to. Both of these conditions have the power to hold you back; they held me back for a long time. 

Understanding the connection between ADHD and depression is the first step towards success. The second step is talking about it. Whether you talk to your parents, doctors, friends, or therapists about it, it is important to get a conversation started, so the people in your life are able to help you succeed.  


Eileen Rosewater