ADHD and depression (A guide)

In this brief guide, we will discuss ADHD and Depression, their symptoms, the link between ADHD and Depression and the treatment for these comorbid conditions.


Which percent of people with ADHD seek treatment for depression?

70% of people with ADHD seek treatment for depression at least once in their lives.

What is ADHD?

ADHD or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects children and adults.

ADHD develops when the brain and central nervous system develop disorders related to growth and development. 

ADHD is characterized by excessive activity, difficulty paying attention, and acting without regard to consequences, which are not appropriate for a person’s age.

A person with attention deficit disorder can also have difficulties connected to emotion regulation.

The symptoms of ADHD appear in childhood and often continue to show in adulthood.

The types of ADHD

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Inattentive type, 
  • Hyperactive-impulsive type,
  • Combined type(inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive).

Inattentive type

People who have Inattentive type of ADHD are distinguished as follows:

  • They are unable to hold attention to details, and because of that they make mistakes in school tasks, in work and other activities,
  • These individuals hardly retain focus during activities,
  • It seems like they do not listen to speech addressed to them,
  • These people often do not follow instructions and do not complete school assignments, responsibilities or routine workplace operations,
  • They often experience difficulties in organizing independent tasks and other activities,
  • They usually avoid engaging in jobs that require prolonged mental retention,
  • They often lose needed things at home, at school, or workplace,
  • They get easily distracted by external stimulants,
  • They are often forgetful in daily activities, like callbacks, bill payments, execution of assignments.

Hyperactive-impulsive type

People with ADHD hyperactive-impulsive type have the following characteristics:

  • They perform restless movements in the hands and feet, sitting on a chair, wiggling in place,
  • They often get up from their seat in the classroom during lessons or in other situations when it is needed to stay in place,
  • They often express aimless motor activity: they run, try to climb somewhere when it is inappropriate,
  • These people usually are not able to do something calmly, quietly,
  • They are often in constant motion and behave “as if a motor was attached to them,”
  • They are talkative,
  • They usually answer before the full question is asked,
  • They often express impatience in situations where they have to wait for their turn or when they have to wait for things they want,
  • These individuals also often interrupt others.

Combined type

The combined type assumes the symptoms of the two types that we presented above.


What is Depression?

Depression or major depressive disorder is a common medical illness that negatively affects the way you feel, the way you think, and the way you act. Depression is treatable.

The symptoms of depression

The symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling worthless or guilty,
  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood,
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed,
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions,
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue,
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting,
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity or slowed movements and speech, 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

Symptoms must last at least two weeks to diagnose depression.

The Connection Between ADHD and Depression

ADHD and depression are called comorbid conditions, which means you can have ADHD and depression at the same time. 

ADHD and depression have some of the same symptoms, for example, trouble with focus.

In children, irritability and hyperactivity can be symptoms of ADHD as well as depression.

People with ADHD have a higher risk of depression. The reason is the stress that ADHD causes.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, adults with ADHD are often affected by depression.

The Association also assumes that around half of all children with ADHD will continue to experience symptoms in adulthood.

ADHD and Depression: The risk factors

If a person has ADHD, some factors are increasing the chance of developing depression. Here they are:

Maternal health history

According to research, women who had depression or serotonin impairment during pregnancy were more likely to bear children with ADHD and depression. 


According to researchers from the University of Chicago, women are more likely to develop ADHD and depression than men.

The type of ADHD

A group of researchers claims that people who have inattentive type ADHD or combined type ADHD experience depression more than people with hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD.

ADHD and Depression: Treatment

Treatment for ADHD and depression usually combines medication and psychotherapy.

Doctors prescribe a combination of treatments, such as:

  • Medications – Medications, for example, antidepressants, imipramine, desipramine, bupropion, some stimulants for ADHD,
  • Behavioural therapy – Behavioral therapy helps you to learn some strategies to manage your symptoms, for example, to improve your focus and build your self-esteem,
  • Talk therapy – Talk therapy can help to relieve symptoms of depression and stress,
  • Healthy lifestyle – A healthy lifestyle is also essential for treatment. You should make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy food, and exercise regularly.
  1. ADHD in Adults
  2. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for ADHD in Adolescents and Adults: A Psychological Guide to Practice
  3. Overcoming Depression: A self- help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques
  4. Overcoming Depression – Get Happy Again: The Self-Help Workbook for Understanding Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  5. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

FAQs about ADHD and Depression

What is the best antidepressant for ADHD?

The best antidepressant for ADHD maybe Wellburtrin.
Wellbutrin is a very effective antidepressant for ADHD.

It might be prescribed with Adderall (but Adderall has been known to increase anxiety levels as a side effect), Ritalin, or another stimulant medication if the person has ADHD and depression.

Stimulant medications are known as the most effective medication to reduce ADHD symptoms.

Can ADHD medicine make you depressed?

ADHD medicine can make you depressed and can worsen the symptoms of depression.

Some ADHD medications and antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, so it is essential to inform about all side effects to your doctor.

Can ADHD be treated with antidepressants?

ADHD can be treated with some types of antidepressants.

Antidepressants improve hyperactivity, inattention, aggressiveness. An advantage of antidepressants is that they have a low potential for abuse.

Can ADHD cause mood swings?

ADHD can cause mood swings, which is connected to its features and symptoms.

People with ADHD usually have difficulty with mood regulation.

If someone with ADHD is sad, they have a hard time overcoming it, and when they are excited, they are excited.

Can antidepressants worsen ADHD?

Some types of antidepressants can worsen ADHD symptoms.

None are as effective as psychostimulants for treating the attentional and cognitive symptoms, but they can help reduce impulsive and hyperactive behavior.

Antidepressants used to reduce ADHD symptoms, need to be more adequately examined to reveal side effects.



In this brief guide, we discussed ADHD and Depression, their symptoms. ADHD and depression are comorbid conditions.

There are risk factors that increase the chance of developing depression.

As we know, there are separate treatments for these disorders, but if you have both of them, you should talk to your doctor and get a combination of treatments that can be useful for both of them: ADHD and Depression.

 Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.


  1. ADHD and Depression: What is the link?
  2. Adult ADHD and comorbid depression
  3. HFNE “How to explain Depression?”
  4. HFNE “Social anxiety.”