Comorbidity of ADHD and Anxiety or Depression
People often picture a person with ADHD as someone who is extremely hyperactive. They rarely picture someone who is anxious or depressed. However, a person who suffers from ADHD and anxiety and/or depression is a common scenario. Anxiety and depression are often comorbid with ADHD, which means they often occur in conjunction with ADHD. Adults with ADHD are mostly the ones who suffer from anxiety and/or depression simultaneously. The symptoms of ADHD in adults include:
• Trouble listening and focusing
• Interrupting other people’s conversations or activities
• Excessive talking
• Getting easily distracted
• Forgetfulness of important information
• Losing essential items
• Has a strong disdain of work, school, driving, or other activities that require extensive focus and sitting.
Diagnosing Anxiety and/or Depression with ADHD
Diagnosing someone who has ADHD with anxiety and/or depression can be complicated because anxiety and ADHD share many symptoms. When mental health professionals are questioning whether an ADHD patient is suffering from anxiety and/or depression in conjunction with ADHD, they need to consider two factors:
• Whether or not the patient’s symptoms are severe enough to be indicative of a coexisting disorder.
• Whether or not the patient’s symptoms will improve if treated for anxiety and depression.
Why Anxiety and Depression Tend to Be Comorbid with ADHD
The distress caused by ADHD symptoms can often lead to anxiety and depression. Though hyperactivity tends to cease once an ADHD sufferer reaches adulthood, many of the symptoms such as impulsiveness and trouble focusing linger if the ADHD is untreated or improperly treated, which will cause an ADHD sufferer to struggle with everyday life. An example of ADHD symptoms causing anxiety is a college-aged ADHD sufferer being anxious about their academic performance because he or she has trouble focusing on studying and has trouble remembering important details. An example of ADHD symptoms causing depression is an ADHD sufferer being depressed because he or she does not have any friends due to struggling with interrupting others and talking a mile a minute.
People can easily be misdiagnosed with ADHD when they actually have anxiety and/or depression because ADHD, anxiety, and, depression because of the similarity of the symptoms. In addition, anxiety and/or depression can give the illusion of a more severe form of ADHD. Once it is established that a patient has anxiety and/or depression that is comorbid with ADHD, it is possible that it will be discovered that his or her case of ADHD is not as severe as previously thought.
The Best Treatment for Anxiety and/or Depression that is Comorbid with ADHD
A mental health professional will take one of two approaches to treating anxiety and/or depression that is comorbid with ADHD, depending on the patient’s unique case:
• If the anxiety and/or depression is caused by ADHD symptoms, the mental health professional will focus on managing the ADHD before addressing the anxiety and/or depression.
• If the person was misdiagnosed with ADHD or the anxiety and/or depression significantly worsens the case of ADHD, the mental health professional will focus on managing the anxiety and/or depression first. If the person still has ADHD, the mental health professional will address the ADHD after the anxiety and/or depression is under control.
ADHD and anxiety treatment or ADHD and depression treatment can consist of a medication and other methods of treatment. The best treatment for comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression is an integrative approach that combines medication and non-medication methods. Medication is helpful in the short-term while the person is learning non-medication methods to managing their ADHD, anxiety, and/or depression for the long-term. The different treatments for comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression consist of:
• Medication (benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, serotonin, beta blockers, stimulants)
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
• TMS Therapy
• Relaxation techniques (deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.)
• Identifying triggers
• Lifestyle changes (getting enough sleep, adhering to a schedule, diet, and exercise).
Proper Treatment is Key to Treating Comorbid ADHD and Anxiety and/or Depression
Mental health issues can be just as painful and serious as physical health issues. Living with ADHD by itself is a battle; therefore, living with comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression is double the battle. Approximately eight million adults are living with ADHD in the United States of America. Sixty percent of those eight million adults have a comorbid condition, so sufferers of comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression are not alone.
Proper ADHD and anxiety treatment or ADHD and depression treatment offer sufferers a chance of living a successful, fulfilling life. Effective treatment is the key to success, and effective treatment comes from an effective mental health professional. In addition, a strong support system of family and friends is helpful. Sufferers of comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression are not different, less, or mentally ill; they simply have a struggle just like everyone else in the world. Recovery is possible for those struggling with comorbid ADHD and anxiety and/or depression.
Midtown Psychiatric and TMS center is a mental health clinic that is located in Houston, Texas. Our staff is a group of knowledgeable, caring individuals who are committed to using the best treatment for ADHD and other mental health disorders. Give us a call at 712-426-3100 or visit our website at https://www.midtownpsychiatrytms.com if you think we can help you.