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ADHD Plus Depression

May 7th, 2014 05:00:00 am

ADHD Plus Depression

I recently read an article in Additude Magazine that I couldn't resist making one or two comments on, not to mention adding in a few different insights. Go figure!


Here is the article and the ten conditions:


ADHD Plus: 10 Conditions that May Show Up with Attention Deficit


1.    ADHD and Depression

2.    ADHD and Learning Disabilities

3.    ADHD and Anxiety

4.    ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder

5.    ADHD and Bipolar Disorder

6.    ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder

7.    ADHD and Autism

8.    ADHD and Substance Abuse

9.    ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome

10.  ADHD and Conduct Disorder


Let's take a different look at ADHD and Depression.


Flashback to the year 2000: my book, Managing the Gift: Alternative Approaches of Attention Deficit Disorder, talks about the love affair that happens between ADD and depression, and why that is:


            With the combination of the fear, shame, and anxiety that are commonplace among people with A.D.D., depression is not a surprising factor. Instead of becoming outwardly abusive or violent, these people can become inwardly violent and self-abusive.

            A depressed child or adult with A.D.D. Is less likely to display those behaviors that bring the focus of the system bearing down on them. This is one of the reasons why some children and adults can go undiagnosed or are diagnosed later. Depression will often make a person with A.D.D. Fit in better with their peer group, or be less obviously inattentive or distracted in a disruptive way. It will also create the same side effects of feeling shut off from one's self—like a zombie.


            That is just an excerpt from the introduction; there is a whole chapter in the book that expands on the subject. Besides this love affair between ADD/HD and depression, we also have the environmental factors that cause depression. That is, the ADD/HD person tries to fit in and oftentimes is rejected by the non-ADHD world. Now, many people may use that as one more reason to medicate, but I say “nay.”


            If fitting in is the main reason to medicate then what message are we sending to our children? Doesn't that contradict what we tell kids about loving and accepting yourself as you are? What behaviors are we condoning when we give in to peer pressure like this? We need to help children work better with who they are, and loosen up overly rigid, non-forgiving educational and societal systems. We can work with these children to bring about change, either stepping away from the old ways of being—many of which no longer work for the benefit of the individual—or preparing for a backlash toward a system that punishes people for being different. We need to take responsibility, because these individuals are only out of control because of how we feed, educate, and parent.


            The last thing to keep in mind is that depression is oftentimes a side effect of many drugs. Before you or someone you know rushes off to the doctor to get a prescription for anti-depressants on top of ADHD meds, check what the side effects of current medications are. Then, seek alternative options. Beware of rushing down the rabbit hole of prescriptions, especially when it comes to your children's health. How far will we go in medicating our youth before we say “enough is enough!” 



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