If you are a person that struggles with major depressive disorder, you may think that you could not possibly be dealing with any other mental health disorder in addition to your depression. However, the reality is that mental health disorders often co-occur and can overlap in a number of ways. If your doctor has recently referred you to an ADHD specialist for assessment as to whether you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may be feeling unsure and confused. However, it is important to get the facts about ADHD and depressions, so you can better understand your doctor's recommendation as well as get the treatment and care you need if you do suffer from ADHD in addition to your major depressive disorder.
Depression Occurs More in Patients with ADHD
What you may not know about depression is that it is actually more common in people diagnosed with ADHD than it is in the rest of the population. For adolescents that have ADHD, the rate of depression is 10 times higher than in adolescents without the condition.
As such, it is not a far leap for your treatment provider to posit that you also have ADHD when you have depression. The two seem to be linked quite often.
Depression and ADHD Can Share Symptoms
Another complication when it comes to the co-occurrence of ADHD and depression is the fact that some of the symptoms of the two disorders can overlap or be shared by both conditions. For example, a person in a severe depressive episode often has difficulty focusing or concentrating on anything. This can affect school or work performance as well as the person's ability to engage socially.
Inattention, trouble focusing, and a lack of concentration are also key signs of ADHD. In a person with both conditions, these symptoms may worsen with major depressive episodes but may continue during periods of more stability as well. The problem is because the symptoms are less prevalent in stable periods a person may assume that their "normal" is having a short attention span or difficultly with concentrating when, in fact, it is the result of untreated ADHD.
Depression and ADHD Can Be Treated Simultaneously
The good news is that the treatments for depression and ADHD can be given at the same time. If you are already being treated for your major depressive disorder, the ADHD specialist should be made aware of what medications and treatments you are receiving. They can then prescribe the stimulant and/or other medications for ADHD at the appropriate dose and interval.
Both your mental healthcare providers and your ADHD doctor should closely monitor your progress when you start taking medications for both conditions simultaneously. You may also receive behavioral therapy for your ADHD in addition to mental health therapy you already receive for depression.
Once both conditions are diagnosed and treated, a person will often see a marked improvement in their quality of life. Their depression may be lifted because of direct treatments but also because the ADHD symptoms are not as severe, causing further reduction in mood, for example. And ADHD can often be helped if a person is put on the right antidepressant and some can help with ADHD symptoms as well.
Now that you know more about ADHD and depression, you can contact an ADHD specialist like Michele Campione, M.D. as soon as possible to determine if you have ADHD in addition to major depressive disorder.