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Differentiating Between ADHD And Depression

differentiating between ADHD and depressionIntroduction

According to ADD Adults, “Depression is one of the most common disorders to occur with ADHD.  In fact, it has been determined that close to 50% of all adults with ADHD also suffer with depression (or have suffered with depression) at one time or another.” However, it is worth knowing what differentiates Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder from depression. This article will describe the differentiating factors between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression.

Depressed Moods

According to ADD Adults, “A person with ADHD may have dark moods in which he feels hopeless, frustrated, sad, angry, and unmotivated.  These dark moods are usually experienced as a consequence of an outside negative trigger or disappointing event and are relatively short lived.  In comparison, when a person is suffering from depression, they may experience these dark moods for weeks or even months and the mood cannot be linked to any precipitating event.  They may feel that a dark cloud has just come over them for no particular reason and it is just lingering there.” Therefore, to distinguish Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder from depression, individuals experiencing symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may experience depression due to an outside trigger, while individuals who are just suffering from depression may experience dark moods not necessarily due to an outside trigger.

Sleep Patterns

According to ADD Adults, “People who are depressed will usually fall asleep easily enough, but will often wake several times during the night or early morning and have difficulty falling back to sleep.  Their thoughts upon waking may be negative or sad or may create some anxiety.  People with ADHD, will have difficulty falling asleep, due to racing thoughts and/a general sense of restlessness.  Once they are asleep, however, they generally remain sleeping.” In other words, individuals experiencing symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may experience difficulty falling asleep due to restlessness but once falling asleep will usually remain asleep. However, to differentiate, individuals experiencing symptoms associated with depression will likely fall asleep easily but will wake up several times during the night and experience difficulty going back to sleep.

Conclusion

With that said, a connection does exist between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression. However, differences do exist between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression, particularly depressed moods and sleep patterns. According to ADD Adults, “Because of the pervasiveness of the co-existence of these 2 diagnoses, it is vital to understand the differences between the two and to also treat both the ADHD and the depression, when appropriate, in order to develop the most effective treatment plan and outcome.”

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Differentiating Between ADHD And Depression


Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!


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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2016). Differentiating Between ADHD And Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 15, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/living-with-adhd/2016/05/differentiating-between-adhd-and-depression/

 

Last updated: 22 May 2016
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.