Is it the blues or undiagnosed ADHD?

Ever felt the blues creeping up on you out of the blue? Do you often feel restless and bored for no apparent reason? Have you ever thought that your ‘depro’ mood was something more?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect your emotions, behaviour and ways of learning. It has three core symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity – that present in different ways and vary in intensity from one person to the next.

ADHD also has many co-existing conditions, such as depression. Common symptoms of depression are persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, anxiety, restlessness, irritability and an overall loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.

Diagnosed depression with undiagnosed ADHD?
You may be wondering if ADHD symptoms result in depression or if depression means that you could have ADHD. It is possible to be diagnosed with depression and have undiagnosed ADHD. The condition is often under-diagnosed in girls who are more likely to present the inattentive type, which is more difficult to identify than the hyperactive-impulsive type in boys.

Untreated ADHD – a cause of depression
Everyday life with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can be extremely frustrating and disheartening due to impulsive actions, bewildering relationships and an inability to concentrate. These feelings of despair will no doubt take its toll on the individual’s ability to live life to the fullest.

A study reported that teenagers with ADHD are 10 times more likely to suffer from depression than those without ADHD. While you’re more likely to develop ADHD if you’re male, this study also suggests that women with ADHD as well as individuals with the inattentive or combined type of ADHD are more likely to experience depression.

Treating the tricky grey area
If you suspect you have one of these conditions or both, it is important to speak to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan that works for you. Fortunately there are many treatment options available to treat ADHD and depression.

This ranges from individual and interpersonal therapy, to cognitive therapy, behavioural intervention programs and medication. It is important to remember that medications should always form part of a total treatment plan.

Cognitive therapy focuses on reframing negative thoughts and thinking patterns. It results in a more positive outlook and reaction to situations. Behavioural intervention programs focus on changing current behaviours. It can improve your focus, rebuild your self-esteem and develop coping strategies to help you manage in challenging situations.

Step up to the challenge
With the right treatment plan, there is no reason why you can’t reach your full potential or why your child can’t participate in and enjoy a happy and carefree childhood.