The Relationship Between Adhd And Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
ADHD and depression are separate disorders but tend to have much overlap.
If you’ve been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression, you might wonder what this means for you in terms of prognosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your situation.
Why Is My Child Depressed
Things that increase the risk of depression in children include:
- family difficulties
- physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- a family history of depression or other mental health problems
Sometimes depression is triggered by 1 difficult event, such as parents separating, a bereavement or problems with school or other children.
Often it’s caused by a mixture of things. For example, your child may have a tendency to get depression and also experienced some difficult life events.
What Are The Warning Signs For Teen Suicide
Teen suicide is a serious problem. Adolescent suicide is the second leading cause of death, following accidents, among youth and young adults in the U.S. It is estimated that 500,000 teens attempt suicide every year with 5,000 succeeding. These are epidemic numbers.
Family difficulties, the loss of a loved one, or perceived failures at school or in relationships can all lead to negative feelings and depression. And teen depression often makes problems seem overwhelming and the associated pain unbearable. Suicide is an act of desperation and teen depression is often the root cause.
Warning signs of suicide with teen depression include:
- Expressing hopelessness for the future
- Giving up on one’s self, talking as if no one else cares
- Preparing for death, giving away favorite possessions, writing goodbye letters, or making a will
- Starting to use or abuse drugs or alcohol to aid sleep or for relief from their mental anguish
- Defiant behavior
- Acting violently
- Threatening to kill one’s self
If your teenager displays any of these behaviors, you should seek help from a mental health professional immediately. Or you can call a suicide hotline for help.
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK .
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What To Do If A Young Person Is Depressed
If you do suspect a young person as having depression, it is important to find support immediately, recovery is much quicker in those who feel supported by those around them whether a family member, friend, counsellor or doctor.
In supporting a young person experiencing depression there are positive steps that you can take to help and provide support. For instance:
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings making sure that it is clear to the young person that you are willing to provide whatever support is necessary
- Take an understanding approach and listen carefully to what the young person is saying, if you criticise or pass judgement the young person will feel that you do not take their emotions seriously and will refuse to talk on the matter in the future
- Avoid comments like, snap out of it, get your act together as this can strengthen feelings of self-blame and low self-esteem
- Learn about depression, the more you know the better equipped you will be to help
- Research the sources of support that are available, offer to go with them to a doctors appointment or to speak to someone else.
- Encourage the young person t take part in physical activity, exercise such as walking the dog can help alleviate the symptoms of depression
- It is also important to look after your own mental health. Whilst it is important to be there for a young person, dont try and cope with everything on your own. Getting help and support will make things easier for both you and your young person.
What To Do If Youre Showing Signs Of Depression
If youre showing signs of depression, here are some steps you can take:
- Get support.Talk trusted friends and family members and let them know what youre going through. You need support as you go through this struggle.
- Talk to your primary care physician.Because depression can have physical causes, your doctor may be able to help by checking for physical issues connected to your depression symptoms.
- In a crisis, get immediate help.If youre considering harming yourself or taking your own life, get help immediately. Your life is worth living, and you need support to get through this. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 273-8255 immediately.
Get advice and support from the professionals at Sandstone Care.
Our team of compassionate counselors accepts you completely, just as you are. Youll feel welcome and right at home in our warm, open environment. Our staff will show you the care you need, and were at the ready seven days a week to answer questions and offer guidance as to how to best deal with your unique situation. Give us a call today at 888-850-1890.
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Depression And Transitioning Into Adulthood
Loneliness and social isolation are definitely some of the biggest challenges a depressed young adult may face. More severe challenges include self-harm, suicidal feelings and failing to take medication and/or go to therapy, says Christensen. Parents should remember there is a typical adjustment to college, even for normal kids. Theres excitement and stress, so keep that in mind. Even a child who is depressed may be just stressed by college and some of that stress is good. Parents need to tease out whats depression and whats typical stress, she says.
Types Of Depression Commonly Found In Teens
Aron Janssen, MD is board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and is the vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry Northwestern University.
Verywell / Emilie Dunphy
Depression is common during adolescence and it may look different in teens than adults. Teens often seem more irritable than sad when they’re depressed.
But, not all depression is created equal. The word depression is used to describe a variety of conditions. There are four main types of depression that commonly affect teenagers. Recognizing the signs and symptoms can be key to getting a teen treatment. And early intervention can often be key to successful treatment.
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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
Forms Of Teen & Young Adult Depression
Most instances of the term depression refer to major depressive disorder, characterized by severe and persistent low mood and a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities. There are, however, numerous types of depression which vary in their causes, severity, symptoms, and appropriate treatment approaches.
- Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, can have fewer or less severe symptoms than major depressive disorder but lasts longer. Often, dysthymia lasts for more than a year. Although it is often described as low-grade depression, dysthymia requires treatment and is not a negligible form of depression.
- Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression which tends to worsen in a particular time of year.
- Bipolar disorder is not considered a depressive disorder. It does, however, involve severe mood changes where depressive episodes alternate with manic periods of increased energy and potential risky behavior.
Different forms of depression can require different treatment interventions. Knowing how to differentiate between these types of depression can help parents understand the causes and possible interventions for their teen or young adults struggles.
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How To Deal With Depression: Signs Of Depression In Young Adults
Because signs of depression can appear differently in younger individuals than they do in adults, depression is too often overlooked or undiagnosed in young adults. The following are signs and symptoms of depression in young adults.
- Hostility, aggression, and persistent irritability
- Changes in weight, eating patterns, and appetite
- Lethargy or a significant decrease in energy
- Reduced concentration
What Are Possible Complications Of Major Depression In A Teen
Without treatment, major depression can last for weeks, months, or years. It can cause relationship and social problems. Depression is also linked to a higher risk for suicide. This risk rises when the depressed teen has other mental health problems. These include conduct disorder and substance abuse. This is especially true for teen boys.
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What Is The #1 Cause Of Depression
The number one cause of depression is the tough stuff, the major life events that go wrong, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University. Depression can occur when people experience adverse life events such as the death of someone close, the loss of a job, or some type of psychological trauma. Depression can lead to more stress and dysfunction, which can worsen the depression itself.
There also is a connection between depression and physical health. For instance, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression .4,5
Thankfully, there are effective treatments for depression. We know that depression is a very treatable condition and that over 80 percent of people who receive appropriate treatment for their depression will improve significantly, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. Unfortunately, the large majority of people with depression never get appropriate treatment.
How Can I Help My Teen Live With Major Depression
As a parent, you play a key role in your teens treatment. Here are things you can do to help:
Keep all appointments with your teens healthcare provider.
Talk with your teens healthcare provider about other providers who will be involved in your teens care. Your teen may get care from a team that may include counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your teens care team will depend on his or her needs and how serious the depression is.
Tell others about your teens depression. Work with your teens healthcare provider and schools to develop a treatment plan.
Reach out for support from local community services. Being in touch with other parents who have a teen with depression may be helpful.
Take all symptoms of depression and suicide very seriously. Seek treatment right away. Suicide is a health emergency. Talk with your teens healthcare provider for more information on suicide including whom to call and what to do . Have a written emergency plan.
For several reasons, many parents never seek the right treatment for their teen with depression. This is true even though many people with major depression who seek treatment get better. They often improve within weeks. Continued treatment may help keep symptoms from coming back.
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When To Get Medical Help
If you think your child is depressed, or you’re concerned about their general wellbeing, make an appointment with them to see a GP.
If necessary, the GP can refer your child to a local children and young people’s mental health service for specialist help.
CYPMHS is used as a term for all services that work with children and young people who have difficulties with their mental health or wellbeing.
You may also be able to refer your child without seeing a GP.
Read more about accessing mental health services.
Clinical Presentation Of Depression
Depression varies widely in its clinical presentation. This is especially true in adolescence and young adulthood, when atypical symptoms are more common and the more classic melancholic presentations are relatively rare . Younger adults with depression also tend to report more irritability and anxiety and, as detailed above, there should be a high index of suspicion for the possibility of an emerging bipolar disorder.
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A Lack Of Standardization
Quantitative scales help researchers measure and organize symptoms, as well as designate a cutoff point for whats considered severe depression for the purpose of a specific study. However, methodologies vary between studies and researchers, meaning there isnt a single definition of severe depression across the board.
A lack of standardization means that if a persons depression symptoms are assessed with different scales by different providers, the diagnosis may not be consistent. Some providers dont use them in clinical practice unless a patient is taking medications, whereas others use them regularly.
Who Is This Depression Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed to help you determine if you might be experiencing depression. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have depression. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few weeks.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Educating yourself about your child or teenagers condition is important in helping them recover from depression. At the same time, it is also important to take care of your own needs. A healthy parent who takes care of the family and themselves is essential to creating a stable environment. Maintaining a healthy eating routine, getting enough sleep and regular exercise in which the whole family can be involved, such as taking a long walk or playing some active games together sets a great example and encourages children and teenagers with depression to get involved. Finding a peer group of parents who are going through similar experiences can be helpful for all the family as they cope with supporting a child or teenager affected by depression.
See our additional resources on depression and mental health.
Effective Treatments For Teen And Young Adult Depression
Treatment for depression in teens and young adults can take a variety of forms, depending on the individuals experience of depression, its causes and severity, and their preferences. The first step of treatment, regardless of the specific path one chooses, should involve consultation with a health care provider or mental health professional. From there, parents and their teens or young adults can consider a variety of therapeutic, medication-based, and lifestyle modification options.
Many therapeutic options exist to treat depression. These usually involve talk-based sessions with a licensed therapist who specializes in one of multiple therapeutic approaches.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is one of the most common talk-therapy-based treatment modalities for depression. CBT helps individuals identify limiting thoughts and beliefs and replace them with more affirming, accurate, and helpful ones over time. CBT teaches teens and young adults to recognize the emotional causes and processes of depression, and to respond with healthier coping strategies and beliefs.
- Interpersonal Therapy is a therapeutic approach based around examining and working on relationships in ones life. Teens and young adults learn positive and healthy ways to interact with peers, family, and others, which help them identify healthy boundaries and positively cope with difficult situations, like transitions in relationships and grief.
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How Long Does It Take To Diagnose Depression
It can take weeks after depression begins before it is diagnosed. This is partly because people may be resistant to ask for help, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York.
When a primary care doctor is looking into whether a person is depressed, they may initially think the symptoms could be caused by a physical illness, Nydegger explains. Often, a primary care doctor may be looking at the persons medications or whether something is going on physiologically, he says. They are trying to rule out medical causes as the reason for the symptoms, which is appropriate, but then it can take longer to get a diagnosis.
Involve Your Child In Treatment Choices
When choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options, always get your teens input. If you want your teen to be motivated and engaged in their treatment, dont ignore their preferences or make unilateral decisions. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or is just not connecting with the psychologist or psychiatrist, seek out a better fit.
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The Symptoms Of Depression
Speak to your doctor or a trusted adult about how youre feeling.
Don’t be afraid to cry, especially if you’re male – it helps to release emotions and you’ll feel better afterwards.
Just know that sometimes we want a bad period of life to end rather than life itself.
Try to keep going outside, even if its just a short walk, it can really help your mood to lift.