Does Your ADHD Child Also Suffer from Depression?
By: K.W. Abbott
Depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are two of the most common mental health problems that can appear in childhood and it is not uncommon for them to occur together. In fact, recent research has shown that up to 30% of people with ADHD also have depression. If you think about it, that makes sense! ADHD kids are usually unsuccessful academically or in other facets of their lives because of the ADHD. With continued failure and/or the lack of success can come depression. In children with ADHD, the risk of developing depression is as much as 3 times greater than it is for children without ADHD.
So parents . . . please do not dismiss your child’s feelings of sadness, anxiousness, helplessness, restlessness, irritability, hopelessness or feelings of self-destructiveness (i.e., suicidal) as laziness, a cop out, an excuse, lack of motivation or as something they will just get over. Depression is more than just the blues or blahs and cannot just be "snapped out of." It is a serious health problem that affects the total person. In addition to feelings, depression can change behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity, and the ability to handle everyday decisions and pressures. The good news is that in children, both depression and ADHD, are highly treatable through a combination of medications, psychotherapy and behavioral therapies.
So, watch for the symptoms of depression in your ADHD child and if you notice any, have him/her tested just to make sure. I know it is just something else we as parents have to manage, but just think about how tough it is on your kid to have to deal with ADHD and depression. Your child needs you now more than ever to help him/her manage his/her condition. The hope is that your child will learn from your actions and will become able to manage their own mental health challenges independently. Being able to do that will allow your child to go on and live long, happy and healthy lives. All of the time and sacrifice will be so worth it!