View Full Version : Can ADHD cause depression?

11-23-15, 03:56 PM
I'm new, and I'm sure this has been asked and answered. But I can't really figure out how to figure out the answer without explaining my story.

I'm a married mom of 3 kids (6,5,2). Up until this year I have also been a full-time primary teacher in an unfunded school. We have no union representing us. There are no breaks. I get no prep, most lunches/recesses I'm outside. I've known for years that I have ADHD but always dealt with it through my own coping strategies. Struggling to organize has meant that I arrive at work roughly an hour before my colleagues and stay late most evenings. I also bring at least an hour of work home with me. With young children this amount of work became impossible. Most days I put in 10 - 12 hours, but it's hard to do when you're parenting, cleaning, etc... My DH is a lovely guy but isn't any help around our cluttered house, doesn't see the need to clean and doesn't do anything with the kids other than watch them/play with them - no appts, etc... So I had a lot on my plate.

In February 2015 I started struggling quite a bit. By June, the end of the school year, I could barely function. I was severely depressed. My mom flew 1800km to take care of me. I started seeing a therapist, weekly doc visits, psychiatric assessment, etc... I was prescribed Zoloft.

At first the side-effects were awful. I would hallucinate, had fitful sleep, headaches... However, after about 5 weeks I started feeling better - I also wasn't working (other than at home which is definitely work!)

At the start of August my doctor suggested I try Vyvanse. I had always been against drugs for ADHD - I don't know why... It changed my life. Since going on it I have been able to focus, organize, declutter, etc... I feel so much more CAPABLE! I can set my mind to things and do them.

But I also have struggled greatly with mood swings. I can go for days feeling fine followed by days of complete angers, sadness, self-hatred, etc... But I wonder if it is actually the antidepressants. Is it possible that trying to do so much while struggling with ADHD caused my depression. If so, do you think that treating the ADHD could be enough? I know having ADHD can cause anxiety (something I deal with). I don't mean to, I just am hyper-vigilant. I think so fast that I tend to over think or think of all the worst-case scenarios. I have to be prepared in order to do anything. If I don't plan out every step of each thing I will forget something and then things fall apart. With the vyvanse I don't have work nearly so hard at this... I just remember! I think I was depressed because I was exhausted from trying to keep everything together all the time.

From the beginning I did not feel like the Zoloft was doing anything. I think I was depressed because the demands of my job, plus parenting, plus having my hubby away almost every weekend were too much for any one person. My worst times of day are evening - I take the Zoloft in the evening and first thing in the morning. I get extremely stressed and anxious in the morning if there are deadlines (getting kids to bus, appts). In the evening it's more just extreme fatigue and irritability.

I know that Zoloft and Vyvanse can conflict. I never felt like Zoloft ever really worked. Today my doctor said to go off the Zoloft and instead take a low dose of Cipralex (Lexapro - US). I don't know. I don't know if I want to take the anti-depressant at all. Over the next week I'm going to wean off Zoloft (I'm only on 50mg). I was thinking of waiting a few weeks before starting the Cipralex. I want to see if I'm okay without any SSRIs. Is that completely foolish?

11-23-15, 04:09 PM
ADHD frequently causes depression; this is very common and very well known. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with seeing if you are okay without SSRI's, as long as you will remain safe (that is to say, as long as you have no risk of suicide).

You may need to find help (I don't mean counselling, I mean a person to actually lend a hand with the tasks.) I know your husband is away a lot... If you can afford to hire someone to handle some of the things you're not good at, that might be part of the solution. (In my opinion, the important tasks to get someone else to do are the ones that cause you a lot of stress and anxiety but seem to be easy for "average people".) If money isn't available to solve this problem, consider if there's a friend who you could trade tasks with - they come and do X for you, you go and do Y for them (where Y is something they need and you are good at).

11-24-15, 11:04 AM
Emotional dysregulation is one potential symptom of ADHD, and the constant organizational failure isn't good for mental health either.

11-24-15, 11:32 AM
I was going to write a long, complicated unreadable post about this but I think adenosine has summed it up pretty nicely :lol::).

The only thing I'd like to add though is that, at least for me, the feeling of understimulation or boredom in the absence of external stimulation also directly feeds into depression.

11-24-15, 02:42 PM
Money is pretty tight around here. I am currently off work because I couldn't handle the stress of keeping it all together.

Since going off work I have seen marked improvement. The Vyvanse has helped me to be able to organize and figure things out. A lot of things that I've been putting off for years have been accomplished with little stress - organizing basement, going through 10 years of paperwork to figure out what to and not to keep, creating a house-cleaning schedule, purging and decluttering. My home is in no way perfect, but it's so much more manageable now and I am happy with it.

However, if I don't keep myself busy I do tend to become depressed. @Fuzzy12 - you've hit the nail on the head. Work (while too much at this time in my life) gave me a creative outlet and I am a super hard worker. Probably a workaholic. I will go above and beyond for anyone if I am able to do the job. Being home with my toddler while I send my older two off to school has been nice... but I am getting concerned that I am becoming a bit of a hermit. I don't feel challenged (other than by my children's behaviour lol). I feel in this weird place where I can't work, but being home isn't a perfect solution.

11-24-15, 07:18 PM
I feel in this weird place where I can't work, but being home isn't a perfect solution.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Allow yourself to find a good-enough solution - that's all anyone ever really ends up with anyway.

11-24-15, 10:55 PM
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Allow yourself to find a good-enough solution - that's all anyone ever really ends up with anyway.

Yes, this. Being content with the situation as it is.

Just being.

11-25-15, 05:30 AM
stimulants and antidepressants dont always work against each other, in fact I think thats a bit of a myth. I think it may be that you are on the wrong antidepressant. There are so many that you dont have to settle on the first one you try and frankly, I think you should have given up on zoloft a while ago. I would encourage you to see your doctor again. At least to try something else, or even like you said try just the vyvanse but at least explore getting off the zoloft.

Kunga Dorji
11-25-15, 07:06 AM
Emotional dysregulation is one potential symptom of ADHD, and the constant organizational failure isn't good for mental health either.

Additionally, the two most effective interventions for depression are exercise and social engagement with people who have a positive mood.
Both interventions are recommended for management of depression and prevention of depression.

ADHD is socially isolating and most of us are so clumsy that exercise is no fun.

We need to look past the biochemistry of neurotransmitters and see the bigger picture.