I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

2 Oct 2013

ADHD and Depression - Guest post by Tammy Mahan

The risk of developing depression seems to be higher in children that have been diagnosed with ADHD. In some children, there can be an incorrect diagnosis of ADHD because of depression symptoms. It is vital to ensure that depression has been ruled out as a cause of ADHD symptoms.

ADHD and depression can exist simultaneously for children meaning it is not always as simple as ruling out one to diagnose the other. There are times when it is appropriate for both diagnoses to be given and a trained mental health professional should perform a careful evaluation.

The image of children in constant motion bouncing off of the walls is not the only way that ADHD manifest. Children can be sitting quietly without moving and their attention still be diverted. Focus can be too intense on one thing; mild inattentiveness can occur, accompanied by being overly impulsive and switching tasks can be difficult.
  • The three main characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Hyperactivity and impulsiveness can be present while having the ability to pay attention
  • Inattentiveness can be present without hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • Inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity are the common with ADHD
Depression Symptoms
  • There is a loss of pleasure or interest in most activities if not all activities
  • Being in a depressed mood most of the day, almost every day of the week (this can be an irritable mood in children and teens instead of being depressed)
  • Loss or increase of appetite; loss of weight that is significant without being on a diet or gaining weight
  • Sleeping too much or not getting any sleep almost daily
  • Lethargy or extreme restlessness
  • Having a lack of energy or fatigue that occurs daily
  • Inappropriate guilt or feeling worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death
Psychological intervention can be used to effectively treat children with depression. The evidence to support psychological interventions as being effective for treating children and adolescents with depression is more compelling than the evidence to support using medication. The point that should be gotten from this is that parents should not assume that something is a result of ADHD and look closely for the symptoms of depression.

Treatments to target the symptoms of depression need to be implemented, specifically when depression develops in a child with ADHD. It should not be assumed that depression in children would be alleviated by addressing the difficulty associated with ADHD symptoms. It is recommended that you get an experienced professional in the field of child mental health if there are any concerns about your child having depression. You want someone that has extensive experience in this area because it can be difficult to correctly diagnose children.

Tammy Mahan has been a nurse for over 20 years. In her free time, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with Healthline.Com.

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