The Link between ADHD & Depression

Comorbidity or co-occurring mental disorders is when two or more disorders happen at the same time. This can be seen in someone who has a diagnosis of depression, anxiety or trauma and is also addicted to alcohol or other controlled substances. Both addiction and mood disorder are co-occurring. A link that is not often discussed is the connection between depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes called ADD. Depression has shown to be three times more likely in adults that have ADHD when compared to those that do not and ten times more likely in teens. Research also shows that 70% of people that have been diagnosed with ADHD will experience depression in their lifetime. With such a high rate of connection between ADHD and depression, this something that needs to be addressed if you have ADHD.



ADHD can cause struggle and strain in your friendships, dating relationships, jobs/employment, school performance, and daily tasks you are hoping to accomplish. This stress can lead to decreased self-esteem, low self-worth and a negative view of yourself. If not treated, this may lead to depression. Below are a few things that you can do today to help.


  • Focus on what has the greatest negative impact: Whether your depression or ADHD is the primary source of your distress, focus on which one is affecting you the most right now. Depression can be debilitating and even result in thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If this applies to you then your depression should be addressed prior to the ADHD symptoms you have. Once you begin to cope in a positive way with your depression then you can begin to learn about and cope with the ADHD.


  • Exercise helps: Most mental health symptoms have a positive response to exercise. Moving our bodies, getting outside and increase the circulation of blood throughout our brain and body helps to alleviate anxiety, decrease depression and assist in coping with ADHD.


  • Talk with a therapist/counselor/psychologist: Talking with a professional can help you learn new skills, better understand what you are going through and show you how to apply positive coping skills that will decreased your current level of distress. They can also assist in monitoring your depression and ADHD to see if the symptoms are getting better or if medication may be needed.


  • Talk with a psychiatrist: Both ADHD and depression respond well to psychotropic medications. Most antidepressants also work well with stimulants for ADHD. Meet with a psychiatrist to explore your options and see if medications may be a good fit for you.



If you are struggling with ADHD, depression or other mental health symptoms you need to reach out for help from others. You can and should receive help for what you are going through. If you are in the State of California feel free to contact us at Elevate Mental Health or look in your area for a psychologist, therapist or counselor to help you.


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