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Why Does ADHD Have a Strong Connection to Depression?

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There is a strong connection between attention deficit hyperactive disorder, better known as ADHD, and depression.

How strong? The Anxiety and Depression Association of America said about 50% of adults with ADHD also suffer from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression.

That means when you are diagnosed with one, the chances of also being diagnosed with the other are higher.

Depression and ADHD can have some common symptoms, although the reason for those symptoms may be different. It’s important to understand the two.


ADHD is a common childhood disorder that can carry over into adulthood. An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have it, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms lead to significant suffering and cause problems at home, at school or work, and in relationships.

Scientists have not yet identified the specific causes of ADHD. While there is growing evidence that genetics contribute to ADHD and several genes have been linked to the disorder, no specific gene or gene combination has been identified as the cause, according to the association.

In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication.


Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Like ADHD, the exact cause of depression is unknown. Experts believe it may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

In general‚ about 1 out of every 6 adults will have depression at some time in their life. Depression affects about 16 million American adults every year. Anyone can get depressed, and depression can happen at any age and in any type of person, the CDC reports.

Psychotherapy and medications are the most common types of treatment for depression.

The link

The link between ADHD and depression is complex, in part because experts don’t know for certain what causes either condition.

Some of the symptoms of ADHD overlap with the symptoms of depression, making it difficult to tell the two conditions apart. Restlessness and boredom, for example, can be symptomatic of both ADHD and depression. In some cases, the medications prescribed for ADHD can also produce side effects that mimic depression.

If you think you have one or both of these conditions, it’s important to make an appointment with a doctor who can develop a treatment plan for you.

Learn more about Rula Ruello, NP

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