How Does Depression and Anxiety Best Relate With ADHD?
Depression and Anxiety Can Often Be Linked to Those Struggling with ADHD
Depression and anxiety can deliver a 1-2-3 punch to those who also struggle with ADHD. Sometimes people are diagnosed with depression and anxiety before ADHD. Meanwhile, others can find it occurring the other way around. Regardless, one set of symptoms can exacerbate the others. However, being able to identify and learn how to cope with these symptoms and utilize methods to keep them under control can play off of one another as well. For example, proper ADHD treatment can help also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and vice versa.
ADHD minds are typically hyperactive and inattentive. This is certainly the case in m own personal experience. Being unsure of yourself even though you are passionate and driven but have tons of thoughts running through your head can result in symptoms or full-blown depression and anxiety disorders.
The Fast and Distracted ADHD Mind
People with ADHD often feel like outsiders. This may be toward family, friends, communities, social gatherings or all of the above. We often feel different and can convince ourselves that we are outcasts of society. These feelings create other emotions such as being sad, lonely, fear, nervousness, and manic at times.
The ADHD Outcast
We are usually taught shame early on in life, especially for children diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. This is justified because they don't act like the rest of their classmates. Unfortunately, the resources and support are not provided to educators to teach to ADHD children in the most productive ways that would usually involve more innovative and creative strategies.
Treating ADHD children with shame at an early age can cause the start of additional problems. They find themselves withdrawing into themselves as a result of not being able to explain how they feel or what they are thinking. This results in those children feeling more depressed about themselves and feeling like something is fundamentally wrong with them. It is a time where depression and anxiety enter into their minds. The result can be thrill-seeking, drug-use, and anger issues that were caused by things that happened to them or were said to them early on in life. Most adults with ADD or ADHD have also had it their whole lives and can probably trace back some of their behaviors to the way they were treated for acting differently as children.
Depression, anxiety, and behaviors that are detrimental toward our lives logically correlate and become a brutal cycle amongst ADHD minds. If our sense of shame, relationships, and overall self-worth are skewed, it can keep us from living happy fulfilling lives. This is especially where depression can take hold. We feel we are constantly letting ourselves and others down by repeating behavior patterns and grow tired of making mistakes and feeling like a let-down to others and ourselves.
How We Attribute the Label of ADHD
Depression and anxiety can be long-term or acute (temporary). Depending on when you were or were not officially diagnosed, people take different approaches toward neutralizing their feelings of depression and anxiety. Some find medications suit them best, others find on-going therapy to be most effective, others have made personal changes to diet and supplementation, changed routines, and/or found career paths that utilize their strengths most effectively. Different methods and strategies work best for different people depending on their personality, brain, and body chemistry.
Regardless of the type of a person's depression and anxiety or the severity of their ADHD, everyone can make changes to minimize feelings of distress and anguish in a number of ways. There really isn't a “quick-fix” method to eliminate depression or ADHD. Sure, medications can help and serve their purpose but they also can carry their own share of side effects and potentially cause changes in your personality that you don't want to lose. The key is to explore multiple options to discover the strategies and methods that work best for you and your particular brain chemistry.
Many people are embarrassed or ashamed of discussing the ADHD label openly. It is unfortunate that more people don't come forward and discuss it so we can spread more awareness and make more necessary changes to help those struggling with the disorder. However, more people are starting to come around and talk about it more frequently today than 20-30 years ago and therefore, we are making progress but still have a long way to go. The more we openly discuss our ADHD, the more likely healthcare professionals will be able to correctly identify and treat it.
Depression and Anxiety can Creep up Fast, Especially to those with ADHD
We have to be in-tune with our moods, patterns, and how we choose to see the world. Depression resulting from an anxious mind and ADHD can creep up on us very quickly. This is where being honest with yourself is extremely important. You must be open-minded to seeking help even when you feel frustrated and exhausted to no end. I became totally cut off from everyone and was a loner to an extreme level for the second time in my life. I'd ignore family and friends and not even return texts or phone calls. At times, I even contemplated suicide just to kill the terrible feelings of depression and anxiety coupled with a myriad of mixed thoughts I was always having. That was a red flag for me and my brother and other family members had to give me that extra push to seek out the help I needed.
This all resulted in seeking out therapy and took a little time to find the best therapist and psychiatrist for my needs. While they were certainly able to help and find certain medications that were effective, I eventually learned that I couldn't rest my laurels on these things alone. I would have to research and test out many different methods that included changes in my routines, meditation, the replacement of certain medications that were turning me into a zombie with various natural supplements and nootropics, exercises, changes in diet, and an overall change in my mindset to stop feeling like an outsider to the rest of the world. If you want to know more about nootropics, which made a significant change in my overall cognitive function, focus, and memory, check out the 10 best brain supplements that I have tested over the past 5+ years.
Depression and Anxiety with ADHD CAN Be Treated
There is not yet a set cure for ADHD but there are many new ways to effectively treat it. In many cases, by successfully treating your ADHD, you can also help reduce or even eliminate depression and anxiety symptoms that you may also be experiencing. The more we continue to discuss ADD and ADHD in children and adults, the closer we will get to hopefully finding a cure for it one day. Up to 11% of children (over 6 million) children ages 4-12 have been diagnosed with ADHD alone. Another 3-5% of teens ages 13-19 or over 2 million teens are diagnosed with ADHD. Another 4.4% (nearly 5 million) adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. This number does not include those from all age groups that have not been officially diagnosed. These numbers continue to rise. Not because more people are simply getting ADHD but because more people are speaking up about their problems and discovering that ADD and ADHD are the causes of those problems.
ADHD is real. It is not just a misbehaved or incorrectly parented child who can “act normal” if they were “disciplined” correctly. Discipline was never an issue in my household and unfortunately, my parents lack understanding behind the true problems of some of my behaviors as a child may have lead to other mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, they were only following the knowledge that society had about kids like me. I wasn't officially diagnosed until I was 17 years old and that was because I was seeing a doctor about my feelings of depression, something my parents had better knowledge about and thought I should see a doctor to discuss. He told me that he knew I had ADHD within the first 5 minutes of meeting me. I feel that I would have done better at K-12th grade if I had been diagnosed and started treating it at a younger age. However, I made up for it in college and highly exceeded expectations when I started to properly treat my ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
You Have to Keep Working at it!
My ADHD is always there. Even when it is under control, it still exists and it is important to continue practicing routines and also know that sometimes certain medications can either stop working or may have caused long-term side effects. For this reason, I always continue to do research