Why So Many People With Anxiety Add/adhd Ptsd Or Tbi Also Have Depression
By Dr. David Woo – January 9, 2020
Its common for people who have an anxiety disorder, ADD/ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, or a traumatic brain injury to also be suffering from depression. Rates of depression among people with these conditions are higher than rates of depression among the general public.
When depression is diagnosed alongside another condition, its referred to as comorbid. For example, if a patient has been diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, he/she has comorbid anxiety and depression.
How often does someone with a non-depressive disorder also have depression? And why does this occur?
Relationship Between Adhd And Anxiety
The link between ADHD and anxiety
If youve been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , you may also have another mental health disorder. Sometimes symptoms of other conditions can be masked by the symptoms of ADHD. Its estimated that over 60 percent of people with ADHD have a comorbid, or coexisting, condition.
Anxiety is one condition that is often seen in people with ADHD. About 50 percent of adults and up to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between these two conditions.
Tips And Tricks For Parents: How To Help A Child With Adhd And Anxiety
Your childs difficulties can take many forms. So, to manage the situation better, it can be beneficial for you to establish a routine for your child. Routine can be reassuring for the child because it allows him/ her to know what to expect. It is essential to know that a child can easily be confused by new or unforeseen things that come into his/ her life you may have noticed this yourself a few times.
Thus, to reduce the risk of worsened symptoms, please create a routine schedule for them. Once you know your child has developed both ADHD and anxiety, conservative treatment strategies come into play, such as therapies and medications. But there is a lot you can do to aid the healing process. This portion of the guide contains a comprehensive management plan to help you and your child better handle emotional symptoms.
Talk to Your Child
You should constantly monitor your childs behaviors. If he or she has stopped interacting or is afraid of certain things such as making or meeting new friends, new places, too much involvement in video games, etc., discuss these things with him/her in detail.
Validate Their Feelings
If your child has anxiety or ADHD, do not scold them. Instead, talk to him/her and find out what they are experiencing to ease their symptoms.
Patience Is a Virtue
You may find it frustrating when your child misbehaves or is rude and abusive. Just remember that they, too, are struggling, and they need an outlet to release their pressures.
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Treating Adhd And Anxiety At The Drake Institute
For 3 decades, the Drake Institute has successfully treated patients for both ADHD and anxiety without the use of drugs or invasive protocols.
At the Drake Institute, we believe that the best strategy for helping ADHD and anxiety symptoms is to enable the patient to mobilize their brains natural ability to self-regulate optimally, which is why we utilize qEEG brain mapping to identify the areas of the brain that are under or over-activated.
Once we have a clear picture of where the dysregulation is occurring, we can then develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the patients individual needs.
Since specific regions of the brain can have multiple functions, whereby both “attention” and “emotional regulation” can come from the same region, one of the major advantages of brain map-guided neurofeedback is that treating one dysregulated region or functional network can result in simultaneous improvement of both anxiety and inattention symptoms.
Stress biofeedback can also be utilized in enabling patients to reduce debilitating psychophsiological tensions that sustain anxiety.
Again, the priority order for treatment procedures depends on whether anxiety or inattentive ADHD is determined to be the primary problem experienced by the patient. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a custom-tailored strategy based on individual needs.
Get Seven To Eight Hours Of Sleep Every Night
Being tired may trigger anxiety or increase your risk for feeling anxious. Try to sleep for seven to eight hours every night. If youre having trouble falling asleep, try meditating or taking a warm bath before bed to help quiet your mind. Also plan to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Setting a sleep schedule can be an effective way to train your body to sleep when its time for bed.
If you continue to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. If youre taking medication for your anxiety or ADHD, it could be interfering with your sleep. You may also need to temporarily take a sleep aid. Dont start taking any additional medication without first discussing it with your doctor. Some medications may make your anxiety or ADHD symptoms worse.
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Getting Help For Anxiety Or Adhd
Although anxiety and ADHD are common in our society, they are not always well understood at all. If you are struggling to determine whether you have anxiety or ADHD, its time to get professional help. There are certain types of therapy that will be helpful.
We are fortunate to live in time when there a effective non drug treatments for both ADHD and anxiety.
If you would like to know more about the difference between ADHD and anxiety, Id be happy to provide the support you need either through ADHD counseling or anxiety treatment.
Has Adhd Caused Your Depression
According to Dr Feifel, if you are experiencing depression as a result of your ADHD, you may not display all the main features of major depression. Instead, you may believe that you would not feel depressed if you had been able to accomplish certain goals that were instead made hard by ADHD. Sometimes this distinction can become apparent as your doctor asks you a range of questions.
How Is Adhd Diagnosed
There’s no single test to diagnose ADHD. Instead, doctors must assess the patients behavior, medical history, and environment before making a diagnosis of ADHD.
To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, children and adults must meet the criteria laid out in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
Children who are age 16 or younger must have six or more signs of the disorder for at least six months to a degree that’s inappropriate for their developmental level. Adolescents and adults who are 17 years of age and older must exhibit five or more symptoms to receive the diagnosis.
According to the CDC and DSM-5, the symptoms include the following:
Telling The Difference Between Anxiety And Adhd 4 Tips
Anxiety and ADHD are two common issues that many people struggle with.
Both make it difficult to navigate our modern world.
For example, with ADHD, it can be hard to sit still in class or stay in front of your desk at work. Or, when you suffer from anxiety, there are many triggers that you must face daily.
Sometimes its even possible to have both conditions at the same time.
Knowing the difference between ADHD and anxiety is important, especially if you or someone you know is experiencing behaviors you cant explain. Otherwise, you could be getting treatment for the wrong condition.
Then consider these four tips for telling the difference between anxiety and ADHD.
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Meet The Expert Speaker:
Dr. Roberto Olivardia is a clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he specializes in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders. He has spoken on numerous webinars and presents at many talks and conferences around the country. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for ADDitude, as well as the Professional Advisory Boards for Children and Adults with ADHD , the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders. He is also a member of the ADDitude ADHD Medical Review Panel and a paid consultant for Understood.org.| See experts full bio »
Is It Possible For One Mental Health Disorder To Worsen Another
The answer is YES when ADHD and anxiety occur together. People with ADHD have progressively more anxiety symptoms. Compared to those without ADHD, there are comparatively fewer possibilities of developing anxiety disorders as adults. Researchers note that people with ADHD are often anxious due to the social stigma associated with mental illnesses and their behavioral reactions. Social anxiety is by far the most common form of anxiety in ADHD.
Potential aspects of ADHD that exacerbate anxiety are:
With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder , people experience persistent inattention and overwhelming behaviors, so thinking about new tasks causes them to feel uncertain about how their minds and bodies react in different circumstances.
Pressure to Perform
Those with ADHD can recognize their tasks and deadlines but have difficulty implementing their plans to accomplish them. Being unable to meet deadlines leaves them behind their peers and classmates. People with ADHD are often unhappy that others do not fully understand their situation and the adverse impact on their performance and capability, which worsens their anxiety symptoms.
A hyperactive person often shows signs of Emotional Dysregulation. Unpredictable outbursts of emotion make it even harder to focus and complete tasks, thus breeding anxiety.
Medication For Adhd And Depression
Many people take ADHD medication and antidepressants. With the right approach, this can be done safely and effectively. But two drugs might not be needed.
Talk with your health care provider or a specialist about the best way to treat symptoms of ADHD and depression. This includes knowing how to adjust ADHD medication. Changing the dosage or the time kids and adults take ADHD medication can help them fall asleep, which can help with mood.
Be aware that some kids may try to self-medicate. Tweens or teens with ADHD who feel depressed may try to improve their mood by using alcohol or drugs. They may think marijuana helps them feel better or function better. But studies show that marijuana can worsen ADHD symptoms, including trouble with executive function
Adhd And Anxiety In Adults
In the previous chapter, we discussed ADHD and anxiety in children, but adults have similar signs and symptoms with greater severity. Adults with ADHD tend to have impulsive behavior, inattention, and anxiety attacks frequently. People who have ADHD generally live with some form of anxiety disorder.
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Initial Mental Health Assessment
A mental health professional conducts an initial assessment in your first few sessions. They may have you complete questionnaires before your appointment. These questionnaires ask you about your different symptoms and experiences.
If you have major depression or an anxiety disorder, your provider will likely recommend treating those first. This is because reducing depression or anxiety could also reduce inattention and hyperactivity.
If your depression or anxiety lowers and you still have problems with ADHD symptoms, the next step is psychological testing.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
- Feeling on edge
- Racing thoughts
In addition to these symptoms, a recent study from Harvard Medical School , found an association in adults between an over-activated amygdala and an increased risk of cardiovascular events like a heart attack or a myocardial infarction.
Studies have shown that a dysregulated amygdala can negatively impact the brains ability to moderate the fear response system, leaving the individual in an increased state of fight or flight. They can be in an abnormal state of heightened psychophysiological arousal that sustains their anxiety.
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What Are The Six Types Of Anxiety Disorders
1. Panic Disorder: During panic disorders, a patient experiences unexpected and recurrent attacks with sudden spurts of anxiety that can leave them feeling debilitated.
2. Phobias: Persons with anxiety may have different phobias linked to specific objects, feelings, activities, or situations.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder: In this form of anxiety, people fear social situations and circumstances.
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The symptoms of OCD include compulsive thoughts and behaviors with repeatability that impacts everyday life.
5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is associated with traumatic past events and experiences throughout a persons lifetime, causing them to encounter stressful signs and symptoms.
6. Illness Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety related to illness refers to troubling thoughts regarding health.
Now lets talk about ADHD.
Therapy For Adhd And Depression
With the right care and support, kids with ADHD and depression can manage these conditions and thrive. Work with your health care provider or mental health professional to decide which condition to focus on first.
Many people have the best response if they combine therapy and medication. If symptoms arent severe, your health care provider may recommend trying therapy first.
For depression, learn about cognitive behavioral therapy.
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What Is Social Anxiety Disorder
If a person has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder they may also struggle with anxiety, including social anxiety disorder. This type of anxiety involves intense fear of being judged, ridiculed, or criticized in public. Someone with social anxiety may have a certain trigger, such as fear of speaking in public or fear of competing with others. They will avoid any situation where they might be triggered.
But it is just this isolating behavior that is so harmful to someones life. The social anxiety might be so extreme that the person misses out on life events or career opportunities. Therefore, the treatment goal for someone that struggles with social anxiety is to help them overcome the irrational fear.
Symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Being afraid of social events or settings where you dont know other people.
- Thinking that people will notice your anxiety symptoms.
- Dreading events that are looming in the future.
- Intense fear of being embarrassed.
- Being worried that others will judge you.
- Muscle tension.
- Avoidance behaviors.
Depression: Coming Out Of The Darkness
About 30 percent of those with ADHD will experience a depressive episode at some time in their lives. Depression can be independent of the ADHD, or it can result from ADHD symptoms. ADHD has a significant impact on the course of depression. Studies always find more depressive symptoms in individuals with ADHD than in their counterparts without ADHD. Increased severity of ADHD symptoms is correlated with higher depressive symptoms. When you have ADHD and depression, the symptoms of both conditions are worse than if you had either disorder alone.
In making a proper diagnosis of depression, your doctor will assess the following criteria, and should make distinctions between depression and your ADHD symptoms.
-PERSISTENT SAD OR IRRITABLE MOOD When a person has ADHD alone, sadness or irritability is context- or environment-specific. Your doctor should find out if you are always feeling sad, or whether there are certain scenarios in which your ADHD symptoms always come to the fore.
-LOSS OF INTEREST IN ACTIVITIES ONCE ENJOYED With ADHD, it is common for someone to enjoy something intensely, and then grow bored with it, moving on to something new and more stimulating. With depression, a person finds no enjoyment in anything.
-PHYSICAL AGITATION OR SLOWING Your doctor will ask if you are feeling agitated or slow, even when engaged in something that interests you. She will want to know if the agitation is environmentally triggered or is something that feels internally caused.
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Why Does Depression Occur Alongside Anxiety Add/adhd Ptsd Or Tbi So Often
There is one important link that connects depression to other conditions like anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, and TBIthe frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is involved in numerous functions relating to mood, including self-awareness, personality, attention, memory, and moral and social reasoning.
In the case of depression and anxiety, researchers believe that an imbalance in activity in the left and right frontal lobes causes these two conditions to occur at the same time. When the right lobe is overactive, it can lead to symptoms associated with both depression and anxiety, like withdrawing and being defensive.
Understanding Adhd And Anxiety In Children
Children and adolescents with ADHD are much more inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive than one would expect for their age. Their behavior can lead to family conflicts and problems at school. However, there is a smooth transition between slight behavioral issues and the various forms of ADHD.
In some children, ADHD manifests itself primarily through inattentiveness. Other children are more likely to be noticed by hyperactive or impulsive behavior. The treatment options depend on whether a child is more inattentive or more hyperactive, how old they are, and whether they are more likely to have behavioral problems in the family or school.
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Traumatic Brain Injury And Depression
As much as 56% of people who suffer a traumatic brain injury show symptoms of depression just 10 weeks after their injury. Among individuals who suffer a mild-to-severe TBI, 53% will suffer depression, compared to 7% among people who have not suffered a TBI.
Scientists believe that inflammation associated with TBI may contribute to the development of depression. Inflammation can occur for years following a TBI. Chronic inflammation is thought to be caused by certain proteins, called cytokines and chemokines. Scientists have found that following a TBI, levels of cytokines and chemokines increase. These proteins have been linked to increased rates of depression.